Field notes from Kathryn Stinson, MSF epidemiologist in Sierra Leone
After leaving Freetown, capital of Ebola-plagued Sierra Leone, for the airport by hydrofoil, I reflected on how I felt when undertaking this route at the start of my journey. It was night, and there was no electricity. We were disorientated by sensory overload: while trying to become accustomed to the darkness and warm, humid air, we were also contemplating getting used to frequent hand-washing and keeping a distance between ourselves, not touching each other or objects if at all possible.
The excitement was tangible, in the roar of the hydrofoil and the bellowing wind, but at the same time, laced with some fear – of the unknown, and of the invisible threat of Ebola.
Over the weeks in Kailahun, Ebola became visible.
Not in the ubiquitous laboratory slide photo we’ve all seen, nor in any apparent spattering on the yellow hazmat suits – which as a non-clinician, I didn’t get to wear. It might have been easier if it had presented in that way.