“There is horror, sadness and tragedy – but there is also hope”
“I am often asked what the consequences of the Ebola crisis will be for Sierra Leone, and I compare it to our long bloody civil war in the 1990s. Ebola leaves in its wake, orphans – who have now lost their source of food, education, love and care; it has taken our farmers away from the fields – it has shut down our roads and market places – destroying future economic prosperity.”
“We cannot allow ourselves to be defeated by this invisible enemy. If we greet the sunrise tomorrow, we give thanks for another day of life.
There is horror, there is sadness and there is tragedy, but there is also hope. Hope is what we all cling to.
There are many stories of singing coming from hospital wards, of patients and staff with the spirit to keep fighting on. And we fight on in the belief that the world has finally woken up to Ebola and got serious about it.”
Combating Ebola with trust
“Our trust in each other has been dented, yet we can only combat Ebola by gaining trust, not eroding it.
That is why the support we are getting from the Caritas network through CAFOD and Trocaire – mobilising the public education awareness programme – is at the heart of building trust within our fearful communities.”
CAFOD’s partners, parish priests, catechists and church volunteers have spread out across the diocese of Kenema bringing messages of prevention, but also messages of love, care and hope, as there are many people in remote rural areas who feel forgotten.
“This is a new disease for us and every day that patients get treated, and the public get educated to understand the Ebola virus, we learn how to do things a little better for next time.”
“We must never forget our own health workers working long hours, sacrificing contact with their families, having to watch their colleagues die. They do not step away from the bedsides of the sick and the dying.”
Our partners in Sierra Leone and Liberia are training priests, parish volunteers, imams, spiritualists and traditional healers to spread the word about hand washing, good hygiene and safe burial practices, as well as distributing hygiene kits.
“elbow to elbow… foot tapping”
“You’ll find Ebola posters plastered on all available buildings, the chatter on the radio is always about Ebola and the conversation on the street is about nothing else. Our customary handshake greeting and the clasping hug of a loved one or a dear friend has been replaced by elbow to elbow and foot to foot tapping.”