Bev Kauffeldt gets instruction from Dr. Nathalie MacDermott before entering a Liberian isolation unit in the summer of 2014.-Image credit: File photo

Shedding light on the darkness of Ebola

Former Salmon Arm resident puts her own life at risk to help others

Leah Blain

Observer contributor

The documentary, Facing Darkness, tells the story of the dedicated, international medical team and volunteers who helped the Liberians throughout the outbreak of the Ebola crisis.

It is an incredible true story of faith, determination, prayer, and miracles and two members of the team, Bev and Kendell Kauffeld, have a connection to Salmon Arm.

The Broadview Church is having a free showing of the documentary this Sunday, Nov. 12 at the Salmar Classic theatre.

“I was in Liberia in February of this year,” says Broadview youth pastor Kenny Toews. “I was able to see what they had been doing. I got to go through the clinic and the hospital. We drove to the unit where there were 25-30 ambulances that they used to pick people up.”

Bev and Kendell have been in Liberia for 13 years working for Samaritan’s Purse. Bev, the daughter of Jacquie and Colin Mayes, has held many positions, mostly in the areas of water, sanitation, and hygiene and Kendell has been the Samaritan’s Purse country director in Liberia for 12 years.

The Ebola pandemic swept across West Africa in the spring of 2014. This viral disease is an hemorrhagic fever which is often fatal. As the infected person begins to bleed internally and externally, death usually comes between six to 16 days after symptoms being to appear.

The documentary focuses on Dr. Kent Brantly who would end up in the middle of the deadly outbreak, becoming its victim and hero. It would take him from the brink of death to the cover of Time Magazine as ‘Person of the Year.’

The documentary was produced by Samaritan’s Purse, the Christian relief and development organization led by president and CEO Franklin Graham and the organization that supports the Kauffeldts and their work.

“I noticed how well Samaritan’s Purse was positioned to take charge at the outbreak – the connections they had with the chiefs and leadership in the far reaches of the country. Bev and Kendell were really at the forefront,” says Toews.

He says all the people who helped through the epidemic are true heroes.

“Every day they would have to suit up, a process that would take 15 minutes. They would heat up very quickly to 100 degrees. You’re only supposed to stay in for 10 minutes but Bev is super stubborn and would keep on serving.”

He says it’s “mind-boggling” that the western nations didn’t seem concerned about the fate of the Liberian people while, in contrast, the medical personnel and volunteers were selfless in their dedication.

“They put their personal safety at risk each and every day to help the people who were affected by the tragedy. They’ve done great things. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to show this film. These people are heroes – unsung heroes, and Salmon Arm had a huge connection in helping make Liberia make it through.”

Related link: In the middle of an epidemic

Facing Darkness is being shown at the Salmar Classic Theatre, Sunday 12 at 2 p.m. There is no charge, but Broadview Church will be taking donations to help finish a chapel in Liberia that is being built right by the entrance of the hospital.

“We want to honour people like Dr. Brantly who reach out. Hopefully it makes people think, ‘What am I doing to impact my world?’ We can’t all go to Liberia, nor should we, but we all can help people around us.”

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