MATT HONGOLTZ-HETLING AND MICHAEL G. SEAMANS
KONO, Sierra Leone — A recent two-week visit to Kono, a remote and rural district in Sierra Leone, showed that trust is at the heart of a nonprofit’s effort to combat not only the spread of Ebola but the world’s worst infant mortality rate.
There, a small nonprofit called the Wellbody Alliance is grappling with the loss of trust caused by the Ebola epidemic, and working to rebuild that trust with a bold new program.
Zaidoon's 17-year-old cousin, Jamal, darts between the refinery's enormous storage drums. He is trying to fill a jerry can with gasoline for one of the truck drivers which has pulled up with an empty tanker. Jamal runs over to the huge drum that holds the gasoline and throws open the spigot at the bottom. A jet of black liquid shoots out which then turns clear. Jamal cups his hand and catches some of it, bringing it up to his face as if he's about to take a sip.
Joshua Bukenya was barely a week old when he started having convulsions in March, 2014. His worried parents took him to be prayed over at a church near their home in eastern Uganda's Buyende district. At first, it seemed to work, said his mother, Mera. But, with time, it became clear that the child's head was growing abnormally large. In November, his mother brought him to the CURE Children's Hospital in the city of Mbale for treatment.
DORMA, Sierra Leone — Inside his mud-walled house, the witch doctor cast his curse. Here, in the remote Dorma Village of Sierra Leone, where some of the poorest people in the world spend most of their day struggling to feed their families, the witch doctor’s power over life and death was well known.