Ten months ago, the deadly Ebola virus invaded Sierra Leone. What sounded like a fairy tale metamorphosed into another nightmare stirring up painful memories of the years of Rebel war. Knowing no kith or kin, showing no mercy to its victims, the virus snatched everything that seemed ordinary to us. It made people weary of each other thus keeping them miles apart. It robbed people of fraternal love and care for family members and thrust us into the healing hands of God and the Medics. It denied people the right and privilege of giving befitting burials to the dead thus employment of ‘Safe Burial Teams’. Life came to a standstill: schools were shut down indefinitely; businesses became slow, social activities were curtailed, movements prohibited and prices of goods and services hiked.
These developments amidst others have had adverse effects on people. Many families were quarantined, households deprived of breadwinners, several families wiped out while others had their belongings burnt to prevent re-infection. Flowing from this, we see a people traumatised, stigmatised, orphaned, widowed, unemployed, dependent, vulnerable, and needy. Most survivors are afflicted with painful side effects from the medication administered to them and the after effects of the virus. A state of emergency demanding urgent attention arose. Like a beacon, the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary (MSHR) opted to bring hope, and consolation to those afflicted by the deadly virus. We did this relying on the grace of God, and the support of our benefactors and our various donors.
With the help of Misean Cara, we have been able to do relief work with the people providing them food supplies and hygiene items like chlorine buckets; basins; cups; hand sanitizers, soap, disinfectants, towels, detergents, chlorine containers, drinking water, assorted clothing and beddings. These supplies were distributed to affected families under quarantine and communities in Bo, Freetown and Kenema from October 2014 to January 2015. It is worth mentioning, that Misean Cara was among the first donors to send MSHR emergency funding for Ebola relief in Sierra Leone.
As part of the ongoing interest and support in our mission especially during these Ebola times, Misean Cara acceded to some of our recent proposals, funding some projects that will enhance an Ebola free community through the institutions managed by MSHR – Queen of the Rosary School (QRS) in Bo, and the Holy Rosary Secondary School (HRSS) in Kenema.
To further fight the spread of the deadly virus, Misean Cara funded Ebola Sensitization workshops for academic and non-academic staff of HRSS Kenema and St. Paul’s Primary School; Psychosocial Support training for all the teaching staff. Food supplies for them and other survivors in Kenema immediately followed this. The training equipped teachers with skills in handling the psychosocial effects of Ebola on students/pupils, and parents of the institutions. Security issues for the school were equally addressed as Ebola had rendered many youths idle resulting in constant theft. Funds from Misean Cara have helped to employ adequate security personnel to safeguard school property.
In the same vein, for an Ebola free QRS in anticipation of the re-opening of schools, the administration is constructing two incinerators, a school canteen and drainage system to fight against health hazards within the school. These structures, as hoped, will help maintain good hygienic and sanitary conditions that will further check the spread of the virus upon resumption of schools.
Misean Cara continues to support our work, thus helping us put smiles on the faces of many. The people are deeply touched and are grateful for the goodness they have received and continue to receive. The women’s agricultural project in Bo and Sex Education Programme in Freetown are recent testimonies in point.
Special Report from Sr. Linda Ugwu from the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary in Sierra Leone.