Kaymah, 24, lost several of her relatives to the deadly Ebola virus and has been courageously taking care of children who are also fighting to overcome the disease. At the center where the infected children are being isolated, Kaymah shared with us a very touching but bold story about losing her son in her arms to Ebola.
It all began on July 16, 2014, when Kaymah’s father fell ill in the Caldwell community.
“I was selling in Duport Road market. I had just brought goods worth over L$20,000. I received a call from my sister telling me that our dad was seriously sick. I didn’t have money to go right away due to the fact that I had spent all my money. So, I went there few days later to take care of my dad,” she struggled to explain.
Unfortunately, Kaymah’s father passed away a day after her arrival; there were no hospitals available at the time to save his life. According to Kaymah, her family did what tradition has always identified when a loved one passes.
“The men in my family bathed the body and we buried him,” she revealed.
On the 30th of the same month, Kaymah’s niece passed away as well, the daughter of her brother who helped in bathing her father’s corpse.
“What happened was, I carried my niece to a clinic called Mother and Child, which is located in Caldwell. When we got there, the owners of the place said they weren’t taking any patients. While standing in front of the clinic’s gate, the child died right in my hand. I carried the body back home, and we buried her,” Kaymah whispered sadly.
What happened next in Kaymah’s life after her niece’s death she says will never be a blur in her memory for years to come. As the day passed on, Kaymah said she began to lose one relative after another; never once thinking their deaths were linked to the Ebola virus.
“On August 7, Thursday morning under the pour of rain, my brother and my son died; and then my two sisters. All these people were at the burial of my relatives that had previously passed,” she agonized’
“Though I fed my dad until he died I don’t think I contracted the virus from him. My son Foday Kadia, who was 10 died right on my lap. I’m sure I contracted Ebola from my son because I was his caretaker,” she tearfully remembered.
Meanwhile, Kaymah says she never once thought Ebola was killing her family, her mother had finally fallen sick as well.
“My son’s death really hurt me because he was my only child. I thought his death caused my mother and me to become ill from sadness. We were taking treatment at the house until I went into coma; my mother and I were rushed to Redemption and later taken to JFK,” she recalled.
What happened next is an ordeal only the strongest can survive physically, mentally and emotionally. Kaymah feels it was only by the grace of God that she is alive to tell this story.
“My mother and I spent almost one month in JFK. A test was done on us that showed we were positive with Ebola. I was in a coma still and was considered dead. According to the hospital, I was placed in a body bag, sprayed and taken away. Something happened with my reflexes that caused the hospital to place me back in the ward. I know it is GOD.”
Kaymah survived Ebola, and since her release she has been stigmatized to no end. Those who once sold alongside her in the market now refuse to sit near her. In fact when she got back, all her goods had been stolen and was driven away by her peers.
“As you can see now, I don’t have anything! Everything was burned. Now I volunteer in an isolation center for kids in hopes of coming across people who will help me,” she says.
According to SOS International, the World Health Organization said that someone who recovers from Ebola is “in all likelihood” immune to the strain that they had once contracted.
With Kaymah, she has been doing all she can to make sure that children suspected of having Ebola are taken care of: Even if it means coming back in contact with the Ebola virus.
“I know I can’t catch Ebola again as I was told, and I trust that information. The children that I work with, I imagine them to be my own. I protect them with all of my heart. God gave me life, and I want to give life back to these children. If I can save someone’s life, I will do it.”
She disclosed: “Recently, I was with one of the children that came down with Ebola and was taken to the ETU. Though I’m not supposed to do it, I searched for her until I found her inside. I took care of her as I did my son, catered to her, bathed her and spent over five hours with her. In fact, I didn’t leave her until she fell asleep. I hope for donations, money, clothes and something that will help me feel normal again, that’s all I hope for now.”