I was extremely concerned about contracting the virus and getting sick in Liberia, where there are few health care options. I took my temperature multiple times a day. I confined myself to the guest room in my apartment for days for fear of infecting my family and loved ones.
I knew it was dangerous, but going to Liberia answered something far more personal. The people of the Ebola-ravaged country have been living a hell for months. Only recently has the world started to pay attention. I felt it was my responsibility to document it.
In Liberia today, it’s the things you can’t see that are most lethal. One twist of an infected door knob or an accidental brush past a stranger can be your death sentence.
I spent my first day in the city of Monrovia documenting West Point, one of the largest slums in Liberia. It was under a government quarantine when I was there. I remember not knowing what I needed to wear as I slipped under the thin, yellow rope that divided the slum from the rest of the city.
By the time I arrived at a school that had been turned into an Ebola care center—Liberia shut down all schools when the outbreak spread, and many of the institutions have become stifling holding rooms where Ebola patients go to die—I was suited from head to toe in full protective gear.
A woman visits her local health clinic to check the status of her pregnancy. In the next room sit two people visibly sick with Ebola-like symptoms.
A member of the burial team removes a woman who had died the night before in an Ebola clinic in West Point, Monrovia, Liberia.
After the first day I began to adapt quickly, creating systems and routines to disinfect myself and my gear. There were chlorine buckets at the entrances of buildings to keep people from tracking the virus in and out. Read more…