Find out more about Nalloh
“It was a difficult time for me. The worst time. Life was not easy in any way when Ebola came to my home”
In 2015, nearly a year after the deadly Ebola Virus (EVD) devastated the town of Kailahun in Sierra Leone, Nalloh Moriba was still coming to terms with the impact of the events on his life. Sat outside his home cradling his young son his eyes filled with tears just thinking about what had occurred months before. Now a father himself, he was still missing his own dad who had died after contracting EVD. This is Nalloh’s story.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014 quickly became the deadliest occurrence of the disease since its discovery in 1976. Over 28,000 people contracted the virus and 11,000 died. All We Can responded to the catastrophic epidemic together with our local partners in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
“My father was the first to die. He had been taken into hospital and they did not know it was Ebola. I returned to visit him. Out of the rest of us seven of us were taken by ambulance to the Kailahun Ebola Treatment Centre. Five of us survived and two of us, including my sister, did not.”
Kailahun was one of the first regions affected by Ebola and now hosts over 180 Ebola survivors. Life after Ebola has been tough. Survivors like Nalloh lived with not only the loss of loved ones and ongoing health problems, but also the stigma and fear that surrounds the disease. Working together, All We Can, the World Church Relationships team of the Methodist Church in Britain and the Methodist Church of Sierra Leone (MCSL) helped to support Ebola survivors like Nalloh as they began to rebuild their lives. We provided a psychosocial care and resettlement package, and also ran activities to sensitise the communities in Kaliahun on the risks of Ebola so that the ongoing threat of the disease was kept at bay.
Even though the circumstances Nalloh found himself in were terrible, throughout his ordeal he still believed God was with him. When he was able to leave the Ebola treatment centre after 22 days he said he found himself praising God, “When I was released I was happy, happy, happy! I felt I was in the presence of our Creator! I was so happy to live”. However, for Nalloh and many others the trauma of Ebola was not over at the hospital doors. He found that at first people were afraid of him – afraid that he would pass on the disease to them. Many of his friends stopped coming to visit him and people in the community would keep their distance. He said, “There was stigma, some were saying they should not come close to us. Ebola did not kill us, but still we suffered.”
After receiving further support and training, Nalloh decided he wanted to work as a volunteer trainer in his community. He said, “Each and every one of us who is a survivor should avoid being isolated. We need to build confidence in the community. When we are from the community, when people know us, then they also trust us more. I love my life and I love the lives of my community people. We can encourage others and we can disseminate good information that will prevent Ebola in the future.”
Nalloh and his fellow volunteers created posters and banners and channelled their energy into talking to others in their community to encourage them to remain vigilant against the spread of disease. Even though he was still grieving, Nalloh said he felt good to be able to contribute something positive to prevent others going through the same experience he had. The town of Kaliahun remained Ebola free for the rest of the crisis and survivors like Nalloh were eventually recognised as local heroes, not only because they survived EVD but because in their moment of pain they reached out to protect others.
In spite of his own suffering & circumstances, Nalloh is doing all he can for his community.
Together, we can continue to support local people all around the world who, in spite of their own circumstances are doing all they can to respond to the urgent and long-term needs of their communities.
Find out more about how All We Can responds when disaster strikes and how you can help.