Our team from Guinea arrived in Sierra Leone earlier this week. Here is a glimpse of their first impressions upon arrival.
We left Conakry Gbessia on September 29th. Twenty-five minutes later we landed at the Lungui International Airport.
The airport was deserted. There were no passengers. We were the only three people at the border control checkpoint. The only animation in the airport came from a group of employees from a company waiting in line to pick up their paycheck.
Seeing one of WAHA’s motorcycle ambulances parked in the airport parking lot was a nice surprise.
We caught a ride in a WHO vehicle, which had come to pick up one of its employees. Then we drove to an Ebola Check Point at the entrance of a confinement zone. We were greeted by a “Stop Police” checkpoint and military officers armed to the teeth. All cars must stop here and all passengers are required to wash their hands and have their temperature checked.
Freetown doesn’t mess around with Ebola.
After a 25 minute flight and four hour drive, we arrived at Port Loko, a town which has been placed under quarantine. It was a grueling journey. People in the town were just going about their day-to-day lives, as if nothing were wrong. No hand-washing devices were to be seen.
What’s really terrible with Ebola is that it creates doubt and mistrust in everyone. The tension can be felt everywhere. No one feels safe, or completely at ease. Every headache, every ache or pain, or case of diarrhea becomes suspicious and leads to a deep sense of instability. Ebola is scary.
As the macabre consequences increase day by day, in the face of the more than alarming projections from international organizations fear has installed itself in towns, in homes, and in the minds…