Watch: Liberian Ebola Survivors Help Others Battling the Virus
Decontee Davies sits in the cramped classroom of Monrovia’s Kelekula (‘willing heart’) interim care centre, rocking a young boy on her knee. The compound is where children who have lost relations to Ebola and are suspected of having the virus themselves are held for the three-week incubation period it can take to produce symptoms. Many here are orphans; even if they make it through quarantine, they have no homes to go back to.
Davies is cradling the newest arrival among the 22 children here, six- year-old Morris Kpan, whose parents have just died from the disease. Next to the blackboard the children’s wishes are pinned up on the walls. Each bears the same hope: that one day their country will be free from Ebola.
The day after our visit Morris begins to display symptoms and is rushed to an emergency treatment unit. One week later he is dead. Davies, 23, has become steeled to such heartbreak. She has worked at the centre since it opened in October, and it has become her life: feeding the children meagre meals of cassava leaves and potato greens; playing with them in the compound’s sandy forecourt, where an iron swing decorated with peeling red paint hangs in the shadow of barbed-wire-topped walls.