The Village Girl

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Tucked away in Jenay Wenay, a small village on the outskirts of Grand Cape Mount County, is eight year-old Siatta Massaley, another Ebola survivor and orphan. Wearing a look of grief, loneliness and despair on her sad face, Siatta prefers sitting silently in her corner of pain rather then playing as any normal child would.

Villagers in Siatta’s town say the child has seen more than her little heart can handle and that she’s not alone in her depression.

According to Jenay Wenay’s assistant town chief Moumou S. Massaley, there are over 150 Ebola orphans nestled in the care of various people who are trying to help.

“We have many children who either lost a parent or both parents. In fact, many of our relatives from the Massaley family lost their lives to Ebola. All in all, we lost 45 people to Ebola and each left behind their child” he added.

Jenneh Massaley, one of the two wives that Siatta’s father traditionally married, says Siatta’s father went to Monrovia after the family was infected with Ebola and has yet to return back to the village.

“It was my mate, Siatta’s mother, who had Ebola and passed it on to Siatta, my grandson Fasisu Kaiwe, my husband and myself. Siatta contracted Ebola because she was the one cleaning all of our vomit when we were sick in the house,” Jenneh added.

Upon hearing her story being explained to this paper, Siatta placed her sweatshirt hood over her head as if to hide from what she was hearing and from the memories.

According to Jenneh, who says she survived Ebola as well, Siatta and her family went through days of hiding, weeks of being in the hospital and now find themselves trying to grasp what happened to them.

“Siatta is hurting. We lost Fasisu who was only six years old and Siatta’s mother. The child is seriously traumatized as you can see and I’m appealing for help in bringing her back to life,” Jenneh pleaded.

Meanwhile, Siatta, who held back tears, moved about on the porch slowly while pacing back and forth as her stepmother recalled a day in December 2014.

“After Siatta’s mother became ill, Siatta did all the cleaning up after her. Then her father fell ill and passed it on to me. My grandson Fasisu was sleeping with Siatta and myself and that’s how he became ill with the virus,” she added,

”After Siatta’s mother died and we all became ill, I ran away from our village with the two children and went into Monrovia to seek treatment. Anywhere we went, they refused us and because of that, I had to hide with the kids sometimes in dark places like garages and so on,” she said.

According to Jenneh, contact tracers from Cape Mount alerted officials that she had escaped along with two sick children, one being on the verge of death.

“We were so sick and unable to get help on our own. Luckily a contact tracer traced us in a garage after residents there told them that we were lying there for two days. We were lucky enough to get help and were taken to the ETU on December 6, 2014 and released on the 20th. Fasisu, my baby, my poor grandson didn’t make it.  He died there two days after we were admitted,” she tearfully said.

Meanwhile, Jenay Wenay has seen much devastation since Ebola hit its tightly knit village in the past three months.

Presently, Jenay Wenay has no livestock, crops or drinking water in the village. After taking a tour of three of its farms which were once run by many who have since passed from Ebola, empty rice fields now filled with grass and bushes are all that’s left.

“Our main market that generates the most money was closed down by the government months ago and should be opening by the time this story is published. We were asked to stop mining gold and other things that involved too much physical contact,” Moumou added.” Because of not being able to get money from the mining and so on, we had to abandon our farms and some of the farm owners died from Ebola,” he said.

While Jenay Wenay has been secluded from all activity, the town says there has not been a single case of Ebola since January, which doesn’t hide the fact that there is a lot of infrastructure and rehabilitation needed in its village.

And while residents wait for things to fall back into place, Siatta silently sits and waits for what more might happen.

“I’m only looking forward to school opening, that’s all,” she shrugged.

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