Ebola outbreak – interview with Jeneba Kamara, Ebola survivor and mother of Kadiatu Bangura, 13, also an Ebola survivor, Waterloo, Sierra Leone
Two years following the declaration of an Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa, communities and governments in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone are moving into the recovery phase, determined to make their countries stronger before Ebola decimated families, economies and health care systems.
Through its five pillared response, the IFRC, in support of the three affected National Societies, played a key role in helping to bring the outbreak to an end. Thousands of volunteers were involved in contact tracing, case management, beneficiary communications and social mobilization, psychosocial support, and safe and dignified burials (SDB).
While it was the largest and deadliest Ebola outbreak the world had ever witnessed, there were also survivors.
Jeneba Kamara is an Ebola survivor. When her entire family became sick early on in the outbreak, they were separated and all taken to different treatment centres. She did not know if she would ever see her children again. Everyone in the family survived, except her husband, whom they assume has passed away, because he has not returned home. However, they do not have any official records of his death.
Jeneba talks of the challenges of having sole responsibility for raising a family after Ebola.
JENEBA KAMARA, EBOLA SURVIVOR AND MOTHER OF KADIATU BANGURA, 13, ALSO AN EBOLA SURVIVOR, WATERLOO, SIERRA LEONE
What was life like for you before Ebola?
00:00 – 00:21 Before Ebola, my husband was alive and would feed us. But since he died, things are not normal like before. Mother is not there. Father is not there. Brother is not there. I am not working. I don’t feel fine.
How are you coping?
00:21 – 00:30 I buy a bag of coal and make it into small pieces and then sell it to get some money.
How much money can you earn every day, selling coal?
00:30 – 00:44 I buy the coal by the bag but sometimes they are not too full, so I won’t get any profit from it. When I do make a profit, it is small, 3,000 SLL per bag. For one week, I can make maybe 20,000.
How much do you spend to feed your family?
00:44 – 00:59 It costs me 15,000 SLL a day to feed my family. But I don’t always have the money, so sometimes I have to barter and promise to bring the money after I sell the charcoal.
What kind of support do you need to recover?
00:59 – 01:06 I need to help at market, to start a business. (She says they only eat once per day)
What do you eat?
01:06 – 01:13 Sometimes rice, sometimes a dish from cassava. It depends if I have money. started feeling better. I was playing. They brought me balloons and some paper and crayons and some peanuts because I really like them.
01:13 – 01:42 I’m glad that Ebola is done. But my husband is dead and he used to take care of us. Now, I have to do everything. There is no one here to help me, no father, no mother, no sister.
What difference do you see in Kadiatu between when she was sick and now that she is healthy?
01:42 – 02:12 During Ebola, I was very confused because we were separated and I didn’t know where they had taken Kadiatu. I didn’t know if I would see her again. But now Ebola is done, and I am very glad. I want to thank the people who helped Kadiatu get better.
02:12 - ENDS