Volunteers return to Chicago after Ebola evacuation in Africa

Two Peace Corps volunteers serving in Africa arrived at O’Hare this afternoon.

They were evacuated from their villages because of the Ebola virus as a precaution. They are not sick.

Cullen Seaton arrived back to Chicago after spending 13 months in a small village in Africa where he taught high school-age students.

The Peace Corps evacuated its volunteers in the region after news of the Ebola virus outbreak hit.

“As a mother I’m happy he’s safe and happy coworkers are safe,” his mother Beth said.

Cullen had reassured his family that his village was Ebola free and the risk of contracting it was small.  That’s why this homecoming is a bit bitter sweet.

“He’s disappointed he’s coming home because he feels like he doing good work there and this was very sudden decision,” Beth said. “He’s hoping he get’s to go back.”

“It’s been really jarring,” Cullen said. “We got the evacuation notice a couple of days ago and I had about 18 hours in my village to pack and say goodbye to every we knew.”

He says he never really felt as if he was in any danger.

“I understand the greater part of this decision to leave there was a threat but I certainly didn’t feel a personal threat,” he said.

He’s home for at least the next 30 days while the Peace Corps reevaluates it’s decision.

As far as the other volunteer goes, she did ask us for privacy this afternoon.  Her family says however she also felt that she wasn’t in any real danger either.

As for when they may return, the Peace Corps bought them round trip tickets, but no one was sure when or what criteria was being used to determine when they could return.

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