My name is Daniel Conteh, I am a burial team driver.
I was a commercial driver. But when Ebola came and they had no way out, we were called upon to help fight for our country. That’s what gave me the zeal to come on board.
When Ebola started last September, we used to pick up corpses that were left up to ten to twelve days and were smelling badly. Even I, as the driver, had to put on protection for my nose so the odour would not affect me. I drive until we are at the cemetery and then we offload them. At times when we go to Freetown to collect corpses residing in mountainous areas, we risk taking the vehicles to these places. If you make a little mistake, you could be involved in an accident and die. We were employed to fight for our country to drive away this Ebola.
I was isolated by my friends. In fact they used to call me late Daniel Conteh. They believed I was going to die at any time. They even provoked me, asking if I have bought my coffin. When some of my colleague drivers were called upon to help fight the Ebola they refused saying they do not want to die. So just because I agreed to join I was tagged as late Mr. Conteh. Even my landlord was afraid, and he asked me to find another place if this was the work I was going to do. I told him I was fighting for this country, but I had to find another place very quickly in this time. This is the experience I have had.
I hope for the future that the epidemic we will be recognised by the government. I have four kids and am an older man. I don’t think I will be able to go to college again, but let them help our kids. If they can also find a place for us to build our houses it would be even better.
I will feel proud as a Sierra Leonean, and we have been regarded as heroes by the government. I will feel safe to move around any corner of the country.