Bornemann Training Transcript


Bornemann Training Transcript


Q: So you go to Anniston with all of these strangers.

BORNEMANN: All these strangers. All these strangers. It's almost surreal as I look back. We recently had our two-year anniversary of returning home earlier this month, and in looking at the pictures and the reminders, in some ways it seems like a million years ago and in some ways it seems like yesterday. Anniston is such a blur in so many ways. I feel like I was a child then. The highlight for me of Anniston was because of my dad's familiarity with the country of Liberia, his passion for the country and its people, his knowledge of the current state there and, of course, his service as a corps officer himself, I asked for him to come and give sort of the cultural awareness piece. He drove down to Anniston and gave us a brief on Liberia, and he got to meet some of my brand-new friends. I felt very lucky to have had that opportunity. I wish other teams were able to hear him, because again, his passion and his knowledge around the country. But for me, I got that extra squeeze before I left.

Q: Were there some important messages of cultural sensitivity and understanding what it's like to live in Liberia that you felt were especially important that you brought with you?

BORNEMANN: Yes, very important, and ones that I was aware of, but I was worried about others. Not necessarily our group but just in general. I worry that a lot of people tend to think of Africa as a "land of savages," and I think in very narrow viewpoints it's "why do we care about a bunch of savages," if you will. That saddens me to my core because they are human beings just like each and every one of us and they happen to not have the resources that we have, and people were getting very, very sick. What my dad brought to it was certainly the sense of humanity. Even besides the savagery reputation, misinformation, that I think some people have, it also should be noted that Liberia had recently in the past thirty years been through two civil wars. That's pretty scary stuff. There's a lot of security concerns there. Based on those headline-type areas, people could assume one way about Liberia and its people. But the reality is they're actually very warm, they're very loving. For a culture that is like that, and they have a special handshake when they greet each other, to not be able to touch was huge and certainly worth noting, so that when we did enter, we had that awareness of the importance of physical human interaction to the people of Liberia. Of course, that's a generalization, but that's just in terms of the cultural piece. That was something, again, that humanity piece that I'm so grateful my dad certainly brought to me but also to our entire team before we left.

Q: Were there other parts of Anniston that you found particularly helpful for preparation? Going in?

BORNEMANN: Sure. I think we had the look of having a tremendous training cadre of I think primarily CDC folks. The woman who sticks out the most for me is Captain Holly Williams, who is here at CDC.


“Bornemann Training Transcript,” CDC Museum Digital Exhibits, accessed June 14, 2024,