Many of you know that I spent a chunk of the summer of 2014 in Sierra Leone, just as ebola began to spread there. In fact the day we all landed was the day that the first case of ebola was confirmed in Sierra Leone. While we were all aware of what was happening, there was no way to have predicted that this virus would decimate West Africa in the way that it has.
When I first began telling people I would be going to Africa in search of chimpanzees they would ask where I was going. So many people had no idea where Sierra Leone was, if they had even heard of it, and those that had looked at me like I was insane and said, “You mean where all the blood diamonds are?” This response grated on my nerves. This was a country that had survived a brutal civil war and was finally getting back on it’s feet, but people saw it as that place Leonardo DiCaprio went where people died for diamonds. Now I say I went to Sierra Leone and everyone jumps and says “Did you get ebola?” Well, no, I didn’t get ebola, because a white girl getting ebola would have made the news faster than the thousands of people dying in countries people haven’t heard of (yes, that is anger you hear).
Except now everyone has heard of Sierra Leone. Everyone has heard of Sierra Leone and now all they can think is death, viruses, and a culture they don’t understand. Sierra Leone is so much more than that. And to hopefully highlight a little of that I made this video (before the confirmed case in Scotland).
Also since making this video I found out that the young woman who was hired as our cook, Fatmata, died of the ebola virus mid-November. Unfortunately I am away from the hard-drive that stores my footage from Sierra Leone, but once I am back across the pond, her picture will appear here.
(I also hope enjoy a sneak peak into my tiny dorm flat)
Lunchbox Gift provides hot meals to vulnerable communities in Sierra Leone
Action Aid is helping by providing medical and sanitation supplies, along with other items
UNICEF is working to help prevent the spread of ebola to children in West Africa
Red Cross is leading a dead body management team in Sierra Leone, as the deceased are still capable of spreading the virus
OR donate to help the chimpanzees of Sierra Leone by donating to the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary