Green Shoots in Sierra Leone

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Green Shoots in SL Aminata
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On behalf of The Methodist Church Sierra Leone, I would like to thank the Methodist Church of the Isle of Man for your financial contribution towards our Ebola response. Your financial support helped us to provide garden tools and assorted vegetable seeds for 35 Ebola Widows to scale up their vegetable production within the Kenema Municipality, eastern Sierra Leone.

The generous support makes it possible for our church in Sierra Leone to exist and make the community a favourable environment to live. Your contributions have touched and changed lives.

Long live our joint Methodist Partnership!

Francis K. Musa — Acting Development Secretary (MCSL)

One of the women invited to take part was Aminata. She formerly stayed with her husband and 4 children in Kenema during the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease. The husband was a mason while she was engaged in selling of foodstuffs in the local market. They were living happily with their meagre income as they were able to cater for the basic needs of their children which include feeding, accommodation, clothing, Medicare and education.

One day when Aminata's husband returned home from work, he complained of severe headache and fever. Aminata described what happened. He was advised by an elder in the compound to immediately go to the hospital for treatment. He was admitted at the Ebola Treatment Centre and three days later we were shocked to learn that he had contracted Ebola. As the news break, all members in our compound were quarantined for 21 days. Three days after the quarantine period, we were informed by the health Authorities that my husband had died at the treatment centre.

After the quarantine period, life became extremely unbearable for me and children. We were stigmatized and discriminated against by other community members in the neighbourhood. At this point, I decided to return to my parents with the children in Combema village. One day a gentleman from the Methodist Church visited our village and all widows in the village were invited to attend a meeting with him. We were interviewed and registered as Ebola widow that are interested in vegetable cultivation. Two weeks later we were invited to a meeting at the residence of the Circuit Superintendent in Kenema.

The meeting was attended by more than 30 widows and representatives from the Methodist Church Conference Office in Freetown, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security; Ministry of Health and Sanitation talked to us about the Ebola Virus Disease. At the end we were provided with assorted vegetable cultivation implements including wheelbarrow, watering can, shovel and garden line. Different vegetable seeds were also supplied. We were encouraged by the Officer from the Ministry of Agriculture to put the gifts to good use. The Circuit Superintendent informed us that they received financial support from their Methodist Church partners in the Isle of Man to assist Ebola-affected Communities in Sierra Leone.

When asked how beneficial is the garden work? Aminata responded: "I have harvested my vegetables twice now and I praise God as I have got some money to the tune of Le400,000/00(Four hundred thousand Leones, approximately £60.00). Even without a husband, I am fairly doing fine with proceeds from my garden work".

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