13 Rumors About Ebola You Don’t Want to Hear

My friend, Moses Saa tells me 13 rumors about Ebola in Sierra Leone. A brutal digital divide separates us he can email me only twice a week from an Internet café.

As we celebrate 25 years of the Internet of the Rich, Saa finally succeeds in sending me an email describing rumors about Ebola in his country.

  1. Ebola is caused by witchcraft.
  2. Ebola is caused by a snake that bites people as revenge.
  3. Ebola was brought by international Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), because they want to extend their contracts.
  4. The disease is premeditated and volunteers bring Ebola and body bags at the same time.
  5. Ebola was introduced to harm the opposition and for other political reasons .
  6. Ebola was introduced into homes as a result of spraying, causing people to flee or refuse disinfection.
  7. Ambulances take away people and they never return because they are killed.
  8. Foreigners are scheming to get money from institutions.
  9. Foreigners are collecting organs for science.
  10. Humanitarian organizations inject the disease to kill people and make money.
  11. Volunteers are paid to distribute drugs.
  12. The dead are beheaded before being placed in plastic bags, which is why relatives are not allowed to see the body.
  13. Body bags are full of rags and not corpses.

Besides these rumors, some people in Sierra Leone believe that washing the dead body of people infected with Ebola is sacred. And, they often contract the disease doing just that.

I worry about Saa, his family and the people of Sierra Leone. I am praying that this disease gets controlled fast.

The 21 Scary Days of Ebola: Saa’s Narrow Escape

Saa wants to change the lives of children through sports.

As I finish writing this email, I will rush to attend the funeral of the most senior health worker in the district I leave. He got infected with Ebola and did not survive. This morning and as I write now, there were 16 dead bodies abandoned on the streets of Freetown. – Moses Saa, Director, Score Sierra Leone. Thursday, October 17.

My friend, Saa wrote this email to me last week. He did this from an Internet café where his connection got disrupted multiple times.

Saa, like so many others in Sierra Leone is just surviving- trying hard to stay away from Ebola.

Just recently, he and his wife had the scariest 21 days of their lives. His wife,  a trained nurse with about 15 years experience did a blood test on a pregnant woman for malaria on September 8. Four days later, the woman died of Ebola.

“My wife became very worried she was not eating properly and not sleeping well because of the fear that she might have been infected and would have possibly passed it on to me.”

She was traumatized.

“On the 15th we isolated ourselves from our children. We tried to do some tests but there were no Ebola signs and symptoms but we were both still scared.”

What was their biggest scare? Not just death. “But who will take care of our children? Those nights I looked at my youngest son- aged 11 in his eyes and imagined he will be an orphan at any moment. It was stressful but thank God the 21 days have passed and both of us did not develop any signs. We are okay.”

Saa is a social worker who wants to redefine the way his people live and work in Sierra Leone. A committed nonprofit advocate, Saa’s organization, Score Sierra Leone  is  using the power of sports to bring discipline among young people. He wants  youngsters to break the barriers of tribalism, ethnicity and regional divide.

The easiest thing I can do for Saa is to build a website for his organization, Score Sierra Leone. Once we launch it, I’d strongly urge you to take a look at the amazing things he is doing for children, despite the odds.