My name is Osman Mansaray. Before the outbreak, I was a private driver in Freetown. I became a member of the burial team in July 2014 as a driver, and I joined the very first burial team that was set up by the government known as team1. So am still attached to this team.
My very first day starting work was and is still the most memorable one. We had three corpses already in the vehicle and had gone collect the fourth which happened to be at Kissy brook. Unfortunately, this corpse had taken about three days in the house and the neighbors and family members were furious about that. As a result, when we arrived to pick up the corpse, they were so angry that they violently attacked us: they pelted us with stones and other missiles which physically wounded some of our members. We had to be rescued by some police personnel led by AIG Memuna who accompanied us to cemetery and she and her team became our official escort throughout the intervention
Another powerful moment for me was the time when my wife gave birth to our baby. Because I was a member of the burial team, nobody ever touched the baby or even go close to the lactating mother, all for fear of not contacting the virus through. This stigmatization and isolation discouraged my wife so much that she wanted to leave the compound. I had to continue talking to her to stay calm and have faith in GOD and in the fact that we are doing nothing wrong. So we had a lot of intimidation both in the field and in our respective homes.
Moreover, some of the main lessons that I learned during this work, are that the best way to serve humanity in such daring situations is by being steadfast and resilient
Finally, my own hope for the future is that of prayer: am praying that the government does something for us after such a risky service to our country so that it would not be a shame on us in our communities