Liberia 27 Feb 2015 00:00
Surviving Ebola is one thing, but returning to everyday life after the deadly virus brings its own new set of problems. Survivors living on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia share their experiences of illness, loss, and coping with a new reality as the disease is slowly but surely eradicated from their area.
"People were talking a lot about the disease. You shouldn't shake any hands to prevent getting the disease," Mammie Bindah, 38, said.
Still her husband who was working at a treatment clinic got the disease. Mammie took care for him for about two weeks before he died. In the process, Mammie contracted Ebola. She was throwing up blood when she got to the ETU. This is where she fought the disease for 20 days.
"After 12 days I started feeling a bit better,” she said. “When I recovered, I found out that my children ran away out of fear. It took a while before they returned back home."
After one week of throwing up, Bindu, 23, went to a hospital in her district. She couldn't eat anything for a over 10 days. All her family members around her also caught the virus. She is the only one survivor and in her community people are afraid to speak to her in fear of getting the disease.
Helena Henry (30) and her brother were the first of her household to get Ebola from a younger cousin who was staying over. He died at the age of four-years-old, and soon after, more people in her family became ill.
"After calling for an ambulance for over 12 days, they finally showed up,” she said. “But in the meantime, my younger brother already died here in house."
She went to the ETU for treatment, but some people were afraid to go there, so they remained at home. After three weeks fighting for her life, she survived Ebola. Returning home, she found out that her husband, her sister and another brother, her aunt & uncle and their daughter and sister-in-law also caught the virus.
"None of them survived,” she said. “Now I live in a empty house, taking care of my two children, four children of my mother and one of my brother." She relies on food aid from World Food Program to get by. "When this aid stops, I don't know how I can feed 7 children."
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