ebola

My Christmas wish: part II

When I was about ten years old, I got a black Schwinn 3 speed “English racing bike” for Christmas. At the time, it was the best present ever, and in spite of some pretty nice gifts in the 50 years since, I think it may have stayed my favourite. Until now.

But today leaves me speechless with gratitude. What was certainly my most ambitious and unlikely Christmas wish ever has come true. I had hoped to have this news on Christmas day, and we knew the outcome for one of the girls on Christmas, but two days later for the rest isn’t so bad.

The frustration tent

On Sunday I meet Margareta, a journalist who works for a Swedish public radio, who asked to visit our Ebola treatment centre. She had arrived on Friday and the following day, looking as if she had not had much sleep, and fearful like everyone else who arrives in Monrovia, she passes by our office to meet us.

Washington washes his hands

“Nearly all of my friends thought it was a figment of someone’s imagination, but it was clear to me from the very beginning; I always thought it was real. I told them to search for information on the internet. And like many others, they refused to believe it.” recalls Washington, Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) driver.

The pending embrace

Pre-Ebola, Douglas Lyon had been in Sierra Leone twice before: the first time during the 1991-2002 civil war, and the second time just after the conflict ended, in both cases working for MSF. It has been 12 years since he last worked with the organisation, “because sometimes one wants to have a normal life”. But whilst reading the newspaper in his house in Oregon one day, and “seeing the magnitude of the growing epidemic”, he felt the time had come to return.

Rested and ready to return

I’m sat writing from the capital Bangui waiting for my internal flight back to Zemio. I’ve been a bit silent in the old blogosphere these last three months – a period bookended by two much needed holidays from CAR back to the UK to reconnect with family and friends.

Preventive isolation

I should be on my way to Monrovia at this very moment. Instead I´m still here in Brussels. I don't feel too ill, but I have a bad cold and my head hurts slightly. It's possible I may have a temperature. Such common symptoms are to blame for the fact that I remain here, forced to rest.

Ebola: highs and lows

It is moments like this that I fear most. A woman with Ebola is wandering around naked and screaming. A confused and potentially aggressive patient with a highly infectious and deadly disease – and all that separates us is my yellow protective bodysuit. I heard the commotion while I was working my way through the patients in the High Risk zone – the area of the centre reserved for the confirmed cases of Ebola. The screaming woman had left High Risk area and was heading for the Low Risk zone where MSF staff do our paper work.