By Michael Ireland
KAMPALA, UGANDA (November 1, 2000) -- Former Canadian grid iron and nightclub singing star Peter Simon Turko, who is now a pastor in Kampala, Uganda, ministering to homeless children and those infected with the AIDS virus, has written an update from the mission field concerning the recent outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus now claiming lives in Africa.
"I am sure that you have heard of the latest tragedy of the Ebola Virus that has hit Uganda. Currently (it is) limited to the Gulu area. Because they have not isolated the area people are traveling to, other places (which) might really turn into a problem that could dwarf the AIDS situation since its beginning. However most countries are not granting Ugandans visas. I don't blame them," said Turko.
Turko writes that: "It is now approximately two weeks since it first exposed itself in Gulu town and district. The Ebola Virus is so lethal that it has killed some of its victims within 48 hours after contracting it. Pray it doesn't spread throughout this nation," he said.
"With those who catch it, all forms of viral hemorrhagic fever begin with muscle aches. Depending on the particular virus, the disease can progress until the person becomes very ill with respiratory problems, severe bleeding, kidney problems and shock. As the disease progresses, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, sore throat and chest pain can occur. The blood fails to clot and patients bleed from injection sites as well as into the gastrointestinal tract, skin and internal organs. Basically the person just bleeds from every orifice (body outlet)," said Turko.
Turko said that 50 to 90% of those who contract Ebola die. "If this spreads, it would make AIDS look like an insignificant problem comparably. More could die here in the next three to six months than all the AIDS victims until now. As of today, 224 cases have been reported. 73 have died. They say that 96 of these have been discharged. Praise God."
Turko reported that a local Member of Parliament, Mr. Mao of Gulu district, was commented in the "New Vision" newspaper that he has asked the population to team up and prevent the disease from wiping out the whole district. Whether you are rich or poor, big or small you have to respect this Ebola.
According to Turko, another short article reported: "Doctors Flee Maindi Ebola." The report said that some doctors and nurses fled Masindi hospital for fear of contracting Ebola, when a patient thought to be suffering from Ebola was brought in on Monday. This turned out to be a false alarm. The Non-Governmental Organizations in that area have left and are now in the Kampala area. The Red Cross was one of them," said Turko.
Regarding the "God's Love" ministry Turko runs with his wife Angie, he said: "We are feeding 70 to 85 orphans. At the beginning, they were totally undisciplined, grabbing at the food we were giving them, trying to sneak back in line for more juice, water, food, etc. Now most of them are disciplined and just sit and allow us to feed them without acting up. We have clothed 36 of them.
Turko added: "Unfortunately the resources coming in do not allow us as yet to do what we would like to do. We have seen all kinds of very fertile land from 10-acre pieces to 400 acres. The cost, with the exchange (rates) works out to from $380.00 to $1086.95 an acre. We were offered a 60-acre parcel of land for $17,045.00. Unfortunately we didn't have the money and someone else bought it. Sixty acres would allow us to house the orphans and plant fruit, vegetables, etc. and raise chickens, pigs, cattle, sheep and goats to feed them and generate money with the excess to clothe them and supply their needs. We pray that people will open their hearts to these orphans who really aren't responsible for their circumstances," said Turko.
"The Holy Spirit said that He has millions who will give and I believe what He said. So I again ask that people would give that amount, $10.00 only once and once only a year, but every year, until we accomplish the worldwide task we have been given as Christians. I believe loving and benevolent hearts will join together in love with one accord and give once they receive the information and see not only the great need, but that by doing so they will truly glorify God and demonstrate their love in truth to neighbor," Turko explained.