Aid worker Ishmeal Alfred Charles has said that being abducted as a child soldier during Sierra Leone's bloody civil war was less scary than living there now under the Ebola threat.
"You knew the rebels were coming," he said. "They'd attack a town, and so you made a move. You knew to hide." Now, he can't flee. It's too expensive to fly elsewhere. Asylum in other countries isn't an option. And the enemy could be lurking anywhere.
In a new Vox video (above) Charles describes the realities of life in Freetown, Sierra Leone, a city currently losing its battle against Ebola.
Working with the Healey International Relief Foundation and Caritas Freetown, Charles is one of hundreds of aid workers trying to beat back the deadly virus in what is the biggest-ever Ebola outbreak and the first to hit West Africa.
In Sierra Leone, the epidemic is simply out of control. According to the World Health Organization, "The situation (there) continues to deteriorate, with an increase in the number of new confirmed cases reported over each of the past five weeks." In other words, the virus is moving from person to person at an exponential rate.
The government of Sierra Leone recently implemented a three-day lockdown in an effort to identify and isolate those infected with Ebola. The measure succeeded in uncovering 130 new cases, but with the epidemic already damaging the nation's economy, the move comes at a cost.