POPLARVILLE, MS (WLOX) - After a week long trip to Ghana, two Poplarville residents have returned to their homes. With the deadly Ebola virus most prominent in West Africa, word of their trip spread throughout Poplarville, raising concerns from some residents.
WLOX spoke to one of those travelers, over the phone. She asked not to be identified to avoid harassment when she returns to Mississippi. She told us they understand the concern, but are hoping they can come home peacefully.
It was meant to be the trip of a lifetime. A wedding officiated by her beloved pastor, some sightseeing, but most importantly, spreading the gospel to all who would listen.
"We came to enjoy ourselves. It was a lifetime opportunity and we took it. I got married, evangelizing, witnessing, Pastor visited a few churches, vacation time," said the resident.
What was supposed to be a wonderful experience, turned sour, when they began to receive phone calls that people back in their hometown of Poplarville were worried about their return. "Tuesday evening going into Wednesday, the school board was concerned. They had received a concerned parent complaint of the pastor driving the bus with their kids," said the resident.
On Thursday, the Poplarville school district said the bus driver and pastor would have to be cleared by the state department of health before he would be allowed to return to work.
According to the Centers for Disease Control website, the Ebola virus started in Liberia, and has since spread to Sierra Leone, Senegal, Guinea, and Nigeria. There have even been three reported cases here in the U.S., but not one confirmed case of Ebola has been reported in Ghana. It's the only country in Africa the two visited.
"We did our research. This trip has been planned since March. We've kept up with what's going on within the regions of Africa and the United States concerning Ebola. We knew it had not reached the borders of Ghana so it wasn't really a high risk issue," said the resident.
Still, they have been told Poplarville residents are on high alert about their return.
"It's understandable that they have concerns and fears, but they need to go by facts and not just hearsay. There are a lot of rumors and a lot of misconceptions that are going around. People have this concept in their mind that we have Ebola already, and that is definitely not the case," said the resident.
While we know the bus driver will not return to work immediately, the female traveler tells us she has spoken to her employer and will not return to work right away either.