INDIANAPOLIS - A 22-year-old college student was back home in Indianapolis after he became stuck in West Africa during the Ebola outbreak.
Aristotle Jones was grateful to be among friends and family Thursday evening after becoming trapped in Liberia during a humanitarian mission.
Jones said overall the trip was a wonderful experience, but he couldn’t deny it was also scary at times.
Jones' first trip to Africa started off well. The first four weeks of teaching English to young Liberians went according to plan. Then everything changed.
"We went there thinking this is going to be a great, smooth transition from America and Africa then the outbreak happens and you think, 'oh my God this is a deadly disease killing all of these Africans,'" Jones said.
Jones said he and his fellow students from Tuskegee University were able to stay in the home of a University president who kept them safe from the spreading virus.
"Luckily we weren't in contact with anybody that had Ebola, but it was always precaution, we always washed our hands, used hand sanitizer or gloves even before they shut the program down a week early," Jones said. "So we just did things like that so we wouldn't catch it or come in contact with anybody that had it."
Jones said he could remember the tense moments when he and his classmates were told British Airways had canceled all flights from Liberia.
"For that day and a half, we were kind of panicked. We were in a real panic because we didn't know," Jones said.
Jones said the poverty he witnessed was startling. He saw firsthand how the people of Liberia struggle for clean water and the tiniest amount of edible food.
The trip left a lasting impression on the 22-year-old and he hopes to one day return.
"I would go back to Liberia. They say once you leave Liberia you have a place in your heart for it always, and that place is really in my heart now, I love Liberia," Jones said.
Jones will head to Tuskegee University in a couple days to finish his senior year and then he plans to go to law school.
Follow Drew Smith on Twitter: @drewsmith1
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