My name is Raymond Herbert Johnson. I am a Bachelor of Science and also a teacher. And am 28 years old.
I choose this work because if someone from the community does not volunteer to do the work as a community mobilize to visit the ghettos, neighbouring houses then nobody else would be able to do the work required. And the people will not accept the person since he is not from their community and he cannot be a part of them or even work with them. So for this reason I decided to take up the responsibility and serve in my community as a health mobilizer. And my community was venerable to the Ebola disease.
Yes the community volunteer work was very important to me. As a mobilize we were at the forefront of the battle against the Ebola disease. And if we do not go to the battle field we won’t be able to bridge the gap between the people that are not aware of the disease and how dangerous it is to humans. So we are there to sensitize them about the disease and how we need to prevent it from spreading and killing everybody in the community. That is why I believe my job as a community volunteer was very important.
Some of the hard moment that I hard during the period was passing on the information to the people. Because when we arrived in most communities’ people demanded things not relating to the work we were supposed to do. Most people told us that they heard about the Ebola funds that have been given to the government. And I was stigmatized and harassed. So many questions which I heard no answer to because I was only involved in voluntary work. People were curious about the budget of the funds and if we were involved in spending it. And how they themselves can benefit from it. It was very difficult to speak with them since there focus was on the money and nothing was of interest to them. We had to let them know that we were doing a voluntary work and it has nothing to do with the Ebola funds coming into the country. The most important reason we took this is for our country to be safe and free from Ebola virus. Some of them didn’t believe what we told them and some did believe in us even though they thought that we are the people that are responsible for the Ebola epidemic in the country.
There are so many hard times during this period and I was motivated by my community that at all cost it has to be safe and free from this virus. Despite the odds I went to the extra mile and spoke to each and every member of my community. I knew about the disease and how deadly it can be if it comes to a community. It will be a disaster and it will affect even my family members that are in the community. So I sum up courage that whatever it takes I should inform all my community members about the disease and how they should prevent it from entering into our community. I also told them the reason why they should prevent the disease from entering into the community. Because once it has entered it will cause great damage to our lives and maybe even my family members would be affected.
I as a community volunteer or mobilize my enemy was this deadly virus called Ebola and so I was fighting against it although not physically, as I can’t see the virus itself with my physical eyes but I know it is in my country and my community is vulnerable to it. And I was able to do that by volunteering and I went to an organization that hired me as a social mobilize and a community health worker. I visited various communities and told them about the disease and how deadly it can be. The Ebola disease was not formed by human scientist for a reason that is harmful to people. Ebola is a disease that can wipe off a whole family and a whole community.
The thing that empowered me most is that I should never give up on the battle and also be in the winning side. If I lose I die and can’t sustain it. If you do not take all the preventive measures you lose and die. And so I have to stay alive, win and tell others about the disease and how it can be prevented. And in my community I interact with everybody and my life too was at risk if I fail to tell them about the disease.
My family also was my greatest motivation. Other family members were not available to do the volunteer work. They were afraid that once you are involved in fighting Ebola it will fight against you and your family members. But the very moment my family knew that I was going to do the job they gave me encouraging words that whatsoever I am going to do is for my country Sierra Leone. And that was very important that such words came from them especially my mum and my sisters. They accommodated me whenever I come home from my work, they make sure that I take my bath using detoil and soap. I was not stigmatized because of the position of my job.
My family gave me so much support and always reminded me that what I’m doing is for my country and also my community members. Despite the stigmatization from people, my family always accept me whenever I came back home from work and made sure that I was ok.
I will always remember this Ebola virus. Especially the good doctors we had in our country that had died fighting this virus. They are more knowledgeable about the disease but yet still they died and others survived. That will always be a tragedy and I pray that this will never happen again to us in Sierra Leon. One of the most memorable moments is when the virus first affected us in Freetown. I had a family doctor that was called doctor Willoughby. When I heard that he had contacted the disease I was very sad and devastated. And at that point I lost courage because even the professionals are affected by the disease then who am I to speak against it.
The main issues about this Ebola in our country are that the government was not active in putting preventions at the very beginning of it. And if in 10years this deadly virus comes back to our country which I pray it never does. I will let my colleagues know that in writing this started in Bo city we have to make sure it doesn’t set to the other villages and towns. Because in Africa our culture involves a lot of interactions and body contact. So my colleagues should sum up the courage like me and help sensitize people against the virus of Ebola in Sierra Leone.
Please I will like the government and also the country as a whole to take pre active measures and help eradicate Ebola virus in Sierra Leone and also in other countries that are affected.
My life changed greatly, ever since I took the community volunteer job most people in my community now see me as a hero. Whatever miss conception that had about the Ebola funds and me have changed since I passed on vital information on how they could prevent the Ebola virus from entering and affecting our community which helped them a lot in being safe and free from Ebola. My community members admire and respect me a lot now than before.
In this fight against Ebola in which I was involved in I was afraid me being infected with it. But in winning this fight we have to be determined inorder for us to win. And since we took the job in our community the virus was less active amongst our community members because they were aware on how to prevent it. So I see myself as a very important figure in my community because of my involvement in social mobilization.
As we all know Ebola is a struggle in our country presently if I had not been involved in voluntary mobilizes work in my community. They wouldn’t have accept the message and responded to the preventives as they did when I told them about the disease and how deadly it can be to our community. They listened to the information about Ebola and they helped stopped the spreading of it in our community and amongst family members
Well my wish and hope for my country Sierra Leone is plenty. I wish Sierra Leone will become a paradise that will flourish with so many beautiful things and good leaders. Also I wish for Sierra Leone to be blessed with good health system and educational system. Most of all a good economic system so that everyone can earn money that can sustain their families as a whole.
The best thing that I think and will like is for Ebola to be out of Sierra Leone. And we be declared an Ebola free country once again everything will get back to normal and we can all be happy. All our dreams and endeavour in the past months can be achieved. We have lost so many important people in this fight. Like the doctors, nurses, soldiers, civilians etc. Although it will not be easy to forget these people because they sacrificed a lot to this country.