SACRAMENTO - Mirna Jope of Carmichael has another care package ready to go for her 25-year-old son Dawson Jope in Sierra Leone. But he's returning home from the Peace Corps a lot sooner than anyone expected -- after only a month and a half into his 2-year program.
"We're relieved. We're also very sorry," Jope said. "We also know how much he's looking forward to being there and teaching."
The Peace Corps is pulling 300 of its volunteers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea due to the increasing spread of the Ebola virus, several of whom are from the Sacramento region.
Jope said she received a text message from her son Thursday. He got word during dinner, quickly returned home and had an hour to pack before leaving Sierra Leone.
Ben Crawley from Sacramento was volunteering in Sierra Leone as a Math Education Volunteer. He should be back in Sacramento Saturday night, according to a Facebook post.
Former Peace Corps volunteer Brittany Auernig of Sacramento was assigned to Sierra Leone for two years, but she left several months early. The rest of her group was set to return to the US. this week.
She said this is a very stressful time for the volunteers.
"It's already a very scary country. It's extremely poverty-ridden. There are a lot of diseases of all kinds," Auernig said. "To have an outbreak like the Ebola virus, I can't even imagine the stress I'd be in. I know my friends who are over there still and are departing in the next day or so, it's been really hard for them."
According to a Peace Corps spokeswoman, two volunteers who have been exposed to the virus are currently isolated and under observation.
Ebola is different from other viruses like the flu. It spreads only through close contact with bodily fluid. The CDC estimates it could take six months to get this outbreak under control.
Right now, it's difficult to say if and when the peace corps volunteers will be returning to their assignments.