Ebola Hero: Bockarie Iloroma

July 22nd, 2015 Posted by Heroes No Comment yet

I was a mechanic training at the central medical store but I later focus on driving and then somebody from the ministry took me and employ me as a private driver when there was vacancy at the ministry for driver he helped me secure a driving job at the ministry.

I like everything about my community except for the water crisis and rugged roads. Taxi and bikes don’t reach where I live they stop half way and I walk home.

Ever since I start this job I have not been infected by Ebola or any sick similar to Ebola

When Ebola entered Sierra Leone we were asked to go for training by then we were hearing about how doctors and nurses were dying so I decided to go for the training because this is my country if I refuse to go nobody will come and do it for us and the ministry in charge of this ebola crisis is the ministry that I am working for. If I leave the job after ebola where will I find another job so I said to myself that my life is in Gods hand. I am taking the risk and do this job if I die doing it my only prayer is for God to guide my family

My family, my wife and kids don’t have any problem with my job but my friends stigmatize me even in my office they stigmatize me my fellow drivers were afraid of the job. After training their was only one ambulance in the whole Freetown to carry dead bodies and the ambulance has no partition and also the chlorine that we use to spray the vehicle is very strong and sometimes suffocate me when I was driving. When I smoke I inhale the chlorine because it is everywhere in the vehicle and when I cough, I cough out chlorine

When Ebola entered Sierra Leone we went for training and we were told the dos and donts of this job but I like to drive a clean vehicle but at that time their no measures put in place for cleaning the vehicle so I raise the point in my office so that they will hire people to clean the vehicle because the odor was coming out of the ambulance was not good and it was affecting me. The chlorine sprayed in the ambulance mixed with the blood from the Ebola victims makes me feel sick so I ask my boss to hire and train people to wash the ambulance and also the ambulance I was driving has no partition I made a report about this and they gave me money to pay a local carpenter to fix a home made partition but yet it was very risky.

When Ebola hit the capital I was the only driver available for the job. Per day I will pick up to 15 or more bodies rounding the whole city. I will work from morning to late evening until the burial team strike for the ministry to increase the team it was very hectic I had no time for myself in some communities where we go to pick up corps was very difficult to reach, there are times when I will be at the eastern part and get a call from the office to go to the western part to collect corps it was very difficult for me sometimes we climb more than five hills per day dressed in full PPE. I have no time to rest we work tediously all day.

I lost my father at a very tender age I drop out and the people who took me in use to buy cars, I saw the problems they usually have with mechanics and I was at home doing nothing serious just to run errands, there was no mobile phones at that time I was used as an errand boy and a medium of sending messages. I walk miles to deliver messages. I got tired of this situation so I told my sister that I want to learn mechanic job so this is why I choose this job but at one time I was driven out of the house because I had a fight with my guidance son who throw away my tools because I put them on so ended up in a fight and I was driven out so there was no support for me to continue with my mechanic training I switch to driving but mechanic is my profession even at the ministry where I work my boss are aware of it and I help in fixing their cars and sometimes supervised they are being fixed or service.

Why my job is important to me first to start with the government job that I have plays a great role In my life, it change my life all what I earn I earn am able to put them into use and also keep to keep my family together if I was under rent I would have been kicked out because the area that I live people stigmatize me and try to ask indirect question when ebola will end. I was very careful not to touch my wife and kids or enter my house without taking a good bath, when I reach home my wife will bring water and soap I will undress and bath before touching my kids and entering my house and I requested for my ambulance to be washed everyday but they thought I was just being difficult yet I persist so they eventually listen to me and gave me money to pay people to do it so I mobilize some boys and teach them how to do it so they will not get infected and I gave them plastic boot to wear but prior to this time they use to pay people to wash the ambulance outside not inside when we want to clean the ambulance people don’t allow me to use their place even at the office they refuse they said the government has not given them protection to wash the vehicle but I was I took it upon myself wash the ambulance.

I live in a very community people abuse me saying I don’t want ebola to end because I am eating ebola money.my wife want to react but I stop her and told her that we are not the ones who brought ebola in Sierra Leone I am just doing my job so let them say what they want to say if they want to insult let them insult the nurses and doctors because they are the ones dealing with the ebola patients I am dealing with the dead bodies so I advice my wife not to listen to people as long as they are just talking behind my back let it go even my colleagues at work at work stigmatize me even to the ambulance they gave me keys permanently it was under my care. After we lost four drivers to ebola everybody was afraid and warned me stop working but I refuse and told them if I die then so be it but I am not quitting

I was quiet, even before the ebola am not use to having many friends or visiting friends so ebola policies just meet my own policies in the morning I went to work and after work I went straight home and find something to do if am home early so I am always occupied with work sometimes I will help in cleaning the house. When people try to insult me because of the kind of job I do I give them deaf ears. At times people stone us when we went to collect dead bodies and abuse us but I still work we were never given police to guide us but they gave the other team which is team one who is now covering the eastern part of freetown and we are team two covering western area we were the first team and was suppose to be team one but because the office is at the eastern part where the second team is so they give them team one and gave us team two

I was fighting against ebola, I said to myself that I will help fight ebola to the end to the end and hence I am still alive I will help fight ebola in my neighbouring countries if they still have ebola so that it will not come back to my country and up till now I still have that determination because I know the measures that I will take so that I will not get infected I always guide my friends also to be careful for them not to be infected because if they do get infected I am also in danger

My number one power is courage because without courage you will not have faith in God to do the work and I use God every morning before I go to work I pray to God I am a muslim and I have the faith that hence I am not going out to kill or do bad God will protect me and I always use my sanitizer and chlorine

Growing up I have faced a lot of hard times and difficulties in my life when difficult time arise I just find ways to find solved them so I just have faith in God and self determination no matter what we do God is our savior so I keep my faith in God and I told myself even if I ran away from this job I might get infected but doing this job I will know more how to protect myself.

Iam so happy I have my family with me, my wife and kids gives me courage and joy also GOD even if I went to work and came back with nothing as long as my family are in good shape and still have the courage that God will guide us and do more for us

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