The job market in Liberia is bad and work is difficult to find even though the civil war has been over for almost 10 years. With the emergence of Ebola, many employers packed up and left the country, leaving additional people unemployed. Even healthcare workers are struggling since the clinics and hospitals are either closed or offer very limited services.
As I mentioned in my previous post, being away for Christmas is going to be hard so I'm taking a bit of it with me.
I've packed a few extra things: Marmite, & coffee pot for espresso always come in handy. Mince pies etc to celebrate Christmas with the team far from home!
So, finally, I’m off. This time on Saturday I’ll be on a plane to Freetown in Sierra Leone, to join the more or less 3500 MSF staff, national and international, who are fighting the largest, most deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus we have ever seen.
I can’t wait. I’m leaving with the support and love of family and friends, even if they would nearly all prefer I wasn’t going. Especially my three children: all grown up, but scared for me, although they understand my motivation.
When I begin each day I feel like I know what to expect. I have been in and out of West Africa since June and watched this sad story developing both as a direct witness on the inside and as an observer from a far when back home.
In the Ebola Treatment Centre where I work I always go to look at the large board of patients’ names at the start of my day. How many have died overnight and how many will be discharged to singing and clapping as “cured”?
"I am going to try to explain part of my role as an anthropologist in an Ebola outbreak."
ELWA3, the MSF Ebola Management Center (EMC) in Monrovia, has been featured in many news stories over the past months. It’s a huge facility with lots of staff focused on triage of those with Ebola symptoms and management of the suspected and confirmed cases. The good news is that with the decreased in cases of Ebola in Monrovia, the census has been low leaving many beds empty.
Everything about this assignment was different for me; from the no-touching policy to the multitude of safety protocols to the savageness of the disease. But I adjusted as well as I could to most of it.
Yesterday was a day of three miracles – two of our sickest ever patients were discharged, and a baby girl survived against all the odds.