At a special candle light event organized by Action Aid Liberia, Ebola survivors and members of the general public converged on Myrtle Beach to commemorate the declaration of Liberia being Ebola free. Action Aid used the event as an opportunity for people to hear the stories of Ebola survivors and learn about the organization’s own impactful activities during the Ebola crisis.
As survivors explained their stories of trial and triumph, some members of the audience were moved to tears while others were thanking God in happy mood for the country and their lives.
Telling her story, Shirley Tarawally said: “My older daughter was a nurse and she came in contact with the deadly Ebola virus disease when she treated a patient, she was later taken to the Ebola Treatment Units and finally died.
“Following her death, we were taking to the ETU and I was the only one taking care of the three children at the center but they died from the deadly virus and I was the only one who survived the EVD.”
Madam Trawally lost all four of her children to the killer Ebola virus and noted that her story would never be forgotten and it’s an everlasting pain in her heart.
“With all of the struggles I went through, thank God I made it to the end of which I now have a story to tell since we have been declared free of Ebola,” Shirley said in tears.
Another survivor, Sabah Massally explained her story, “My husband got seriously sick and was taken to the MSF Ebola treatment Unit because it was confirmed that he had Ebola and he died few days after.
“I and my son were quarantined, and as a result we suffer greatly from stigmatization; we were abandoned by friends and family but I thank God that today we are free from this terrible virus,” she said.
Massally thanked Action Aid Liberia for its support which included clothes, Anti Ebola materials and education.
“What more can I say to God? All I have to say tonight is to thank God for my life and country to be free at last,” Shirley intoned.
It was a very sad moment for survivors thinking about their loved ones who felled prey to the virus, Evelyn Paye told journalists in an interview that her husband died of Ebola at the Redemption Hospital ETU when he contacted the virus from a lady who he was trying to help.
She called on the government to involve all Ebola survivors into its post Ebola recovery plan to empower them as the heroes in the fight and thanked Action Aid for its good work.
Action Aid-Liberia Country Director Madam Korto Williams urged Liberians to continue the fight by following preventive measures from the Ministry of Health.
She said despite the progress made, the celebration should not be something of the past but of the future.
“I am proud of everyone who fought in ending Ebola especially young Liberians who willingly volunteered without requesting for salary, and LATA's artistes who sang the “Hope” song, and all other persons who worked in making this day a success,” she noted.
Action Aid boss also lauded the incredible work carried out by her organization through its support to the fight against the virus by reaching to over 400,000 people in six counties, 23 communities and ETUs by providing Anti Ebola materials which included, sanitary materials, food, clothing as well as fliers.
“I witnessed so many incidents where people were seen lying on the ground of the various Ebola Treatment Units and at times in the streets, and thank God they are now things of the past,” she said with great joy.
She described Liberians in the fight against EVD as people who were resilient in the fight against the deadly disease, which when later they understood the enemy, they reacted quickly together to achieve success.