Rosarr, Sierra Leone — In her small, rural village, 18-year-old Isatu Sesay has fought through tragedy to support herself and her two younger brothers.
Struck down with fever, aches and the cruel advance of Ebola, her father fell first, as the epidemic peaked in December 2014.
“My mother took care of him. Then she died too, leaving the three of us, me and my brothers, Salifu Conteh and Mohamed Conteh,” she said. Immediately after her father’s death, a suited fumigation team sterilized her home. “They pulled out the bed and burned it,” she said. “They sprayed chlorine, took out my father’s clothes and burned them too.” “Everything he ever used or touched, they burned.”
Hundreds of mud houses across Sierra Leone were razed after victims perished in them, in an attempt to stamp out the disease. But with brick walls and a corrugated iron roof, luckily, Isatu’s house still stands, although most rooms were emptied in the decontamination process. Her uncle helped at first, giving what little money he could. Isatu spent some on ingredients for doughnuts, which she sold to the community