The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has donated two-hundred solar powered lanterns and radios to Ebola orphans and survivors in the Borough of New Kru Town.
The radios were procured in partnership with a South Africa -based NGO, Life Line Energy, while the solar lanterns were obtained through a pro bono agreement between the UNDP and Panasonic Corporation.
Upon receiving the items, Mrs. Josephine Dolley, a 32-year-old widow, expressed appreciation to UNDP for the donations and said the items will help them monitor information about the fight against the deadly Ebola virus and light up their homes at night.
She, however, stressed the need for development partners and philanthropic organizations to empower those survivors who have the capacity to engage in business and provide employment opportunities for others who are qualified.
“Teach us how to fish instead of giving us fish always…Make us fishermen,” she stressed. Josephine explained that she worked with a local NGO in Lofa as an Accountant, prior to the Ebola outbreak, but was relieved of her post when she fell prey to the Ebola Virus disease.
Mrs. Dolley then proceeded to narrate her traumatic ordeal with the deadly virus which started on August 7, 2014, when one of her aunts, now deceased, returned from Caldwell after attending the memorial rituals of her brother who community members perceived had died from Ebola. The brother reportedly died and his corpse was not collected by the burial team after being notified by the family.
Two days after the team allegedly refused to show up, Josephine said the family, including her aunt, collected and performed all necessary rituals and buried the body.
“When she came back we asked her whether she touched the body or had any contact with the body, but she said no. That was on August 7. By the 8th and 9th of August, she came down with the illness which we thought was just malaria or fever…” Josephine said.
Her aunt kept hiding the symptoms of the virus from the other occupants and was secretly taking antibiotics, she said. “So we never knew how severe the illness was until after one week when her husband, her set of twins along with two of her grandchildren also came down with symptoms of the virus.
”Before we could realize what was happening the entire household got infected with Ebola,” said Josephine. It was at that point that the 30-member household including herself was taken to the Island Clinic Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) on Bushrod Island.
“They took us to the Island Clinic ETU and one after another, everybody died with the exception of me who came back on the 2nd of October 2014” she lamented.
The twenty-nine who died included her husband and three children, Emmanuel, 19, Augustine, 15, and Exodus, 11.
The deceased family members also included her father, mother, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters and other relatives.
They all lived in an eight (8) bedroom rented house.