When I tell people that I’m headed to Tanzania in a couple of weeks, I hear one of two things:
1). Oh my God! You’re so lucky!
2). Aren’t you worried about Ebola?
This last one comes up frustratingly often. It might actually be more common than the entirely more appropriate ‘You’re so lucky!’
Why I’m Not Worried About Ebola in Tanzania
There are a few reasons why I am not afraid of catching Ebola while I am in Tanzania. I’ve listed five of them below:
1. There is no Ebola in Tanzania.
2. There is no Ebola in Tanzania.
3. There is no Ebola in Tanzania.
4. There is no Ebola in Tanzania.
5. There is no Ebola in Tanzania.
And, for good measure, a sixth reason:
6. Tanzania isn’t anywhere near the countries that do have Ebola.
Let’s have a look at a map that illustrates this fact for us.
As you can see, Tanzania is quite a long way from the effected regions. In fact, London is closer to Guinea than Arusha is.
While I do understand that the virus has so far spread to places quite a bit farther away, in many cases, these transmissions have been the result of aid workers from wealthier countries returning home to them after serving in the effected areas.
At this stage, I’d be more likely to catch Ebola in Baltimore than in Dar Es Salam.
And I’d be more likely to catch a bullet in Baltimore than Ebola. Bitch, I’ve seen The Wire. That city is dangerous.
Fear and Travel
Look, there are always going to be reasons why you shouldn’t travel to any given place
A glimpse at the Australian government’s well-intentioned but alarmist Smart Traveller website reads like something the most over-protective grandmother would issue her most beloved grandchild.
If I were to let the reasons why a place isn’t safe to travel decide my life, I’d confine myself to a bubble and just use Google Images to give me a glimpse of the world beyond my doorstep.
That isn’t to say you should flagrantly disregard these travel warnings. They’re there for a reason.
But I’ll be damned if I let fear decide where I travel, and especially a fear that is entirely baseless. There are a good many diseases I could contract in Tanzania, and Ebola ‘ain’t one of them.
Of course, if I do contract it, you all have the right to leave a comment saying “I told you so”, provided you’re okay with taunting a dying man.
So, no; I’m not afraid of catching Ebola in Tanzania. Although if I did, it’d make for one hell of an obituary. “Contracted exotic disease while on safari” sounds a hell of a lot better than, “Died in his sleep aged 79. Leaves behind no wife or children”.
Have you ever let fear change your travel plans? Do you regret it? Or were your fears correct in this case?