31 December 2014: As 2015 draws near, the children of Bomi County, Liberia, have expressed hope for the future but with a call to the world to remember that Ebola is still in West Africa.
Seven-year-old Mariama says that since the outbreak of the virus, she has been affected by the death of two of her friends and her education has been greatly disrupted by the closure of schools across the country.
Mariama is hoping schools in will re-open in 2015 to give her and many friends the opportunity to continue their education. She said, “I missed normal academic activities in school and all the good times we had together before the Ebola outbreak”.
Eleven-year old Hawa remembered the good times she had two Christmas’ ago with friends and families. However, she had not expected anything good from this year’s seasonal celebrations because Ebola had taken away all her joy. “I have absolutely nothing to celebrate, Ebola has taken away all my happiness, I am discouraged.
Hawa said that because of Ebola she and many other children in Bomi County have been abandoned by their parents and some are left with only their mother to care for them.
“Our father has turned his back on us, he does not care for us and our mother, infact, we don’t know his whereabouts and we are abandoned; we feel ostracized by the society, this is a worse thing for any child,’’ she added.
Hawa does have one wish, however.
Re-opening of school
Speaking in a soft tone Hawa said that every child in Liberia has been affected by the Ebola virus through the closure of schools.
“My only wish for 2015 is the re-opening of schools. I am hoping the Government of Liberia will see fit to re-open them or else we will be left behind with our education,” Hawa said.
Bendu fears that Liberia will lose future leaders to Ebola but hopes for a brighter 2015.
Another child, Bendu, 12, said the 2014 seasonal celebrations were marked by fear. However, Bendu has called on other children to observe all preventive measures to avoid contracting the Ebola virus.
She described this year’s seasonal celebrations as “one of the poorest” in Bomi county due to the Ebola virus.
"Since the outbreak of Ebola in Liberia, we have lost the lives of most of our friends who could be future leaders of this country." She said.
Meanwhile, another child also called Bendu, 7, said 2015 would be a year of hope and a new beginning for Liberia as the Ebola virus crisis may come to an end.