Africa

Ebola outbreak: No work, no football

Sierra Leone has recorded more deaths than any other country in the current Ebola outbreak.

Although the crisis is easing, schools remain closed, weddings are discouraged and football matches are not allowed.

Here, some Sierra Leoneans explain how the outbreak is still affecting their daily lives.

Image copyright Tommy Tanchard/ Red Cross

Alice Mansaray lost her sister to Ebola. Her father also contracted the disease but survived. Her family home has been placed under quarantine. "Everything has just stopped since Ebola. We haven't been able to go to school. And now I can't even go and see my friends".

Image copyright Tommy Tanchard/ Red Cross

Aminatta Grant lives in a quarantined compound with more than 50 people. Two have died from Ebola and a teenager is in hospital. "Lots of people used to depend on our family. Now they won't even touch food from the quarantined house. They shun us, they call us 'Ebola'. We can't even go to the mosque now".

Image copyright Tommy Tanchard/ Red Cross

Tamba Lebbie is a corporal in the Sierra Leone armed forces, monitoring homes put under quarantine. "I spend more than two weeks with each [quarantined] family, and I enjoy talking with them. I like my job. Before I just stayed in the barracks."

Image copyright Tommy Trenchard/Red Cross

Haja Kargbo was a market trader when she contracted Ebola. Now she volunteers as a contact tracer for the Red Cross, tracking down potential people infected with Ebola. "I can't pay the Red Cross for curing me. But I can at least help them."

Image copyright Tommy Trenchard/Red Cross

Chernor Kamara was a business administration student in Freetown. His university has closed and instead he now works as a community liaison officer for Red Cross teams. "There is no time for books now. But in some ways my life is better. I used to do nothing after school. Now I have experience and I'm meeting people."

Image copyright Tommy Trenchard/Red Cross

Sumaile Lamboi was a medical student before Ebola. Now he works with a burial team. "I wanted to help my country in this time of crisis. It's a risk but it's my job."

He says everything is closed now. "I used to watch football at weekends [in local video halls] - my team is Arsenal. But now we can't do that".

Image copyright Tommy Trenchard/Red Cross

Mawa Kamara sells colourful "lappa" cloth at a market in Freetown, but her sales have fallen since an evening curfew was imposed. "I'm a Muslim, and normally we all greet each other. Now that doesn't exist. No marriages, no gatherings."

Image copyright Tommy Trenchard/Red Cross

Mohamed Bangura was a commerce student in Freetown. "I'm not happy because the school is not open now. And there is no freedom to do activities like sport. I used to just hang around with my friends but now gatherings are banned. And I can't visit my girlfriend, because at night there are no motorbikes, and there is so much tension with the police".

Image copyright Tommy Trenchard/Red Cross

Zainab Bangura used to make a living selling flour in the coastal village of Hamilton, but sales have crashed since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak and she struggles to feed her three children. "It's not easy now. I have to work too hard. I'm afraid".

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