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WATCH: The Boy Who Danced In The Face Of Ebola

This week has been tough. Maybe the toughest in the long, drawn-out battle against Ebola in West Africa.

Cases are rising at an exponential rate. Families don’t have any place to take sick loved ones. And researchers now say the epidemic could last for a 1 1/2 years.

But then at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, a little nugget of joy and hope came through my email: a 55-second video of Mamadee dancing (and dancing quite well).

According to Doctors Without Border, Mamadee was diagnosed with Ebola at a treatment center in Foya, Liberia, where only about a third of people have survived.

The 11-year-old boy had to stay in isolation for more than two weeks. And he lost his sister to Ebola during that time.

But he never stopped dancing.

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Video Credit: Doctors Without Borders/MSF-USA/YouTube

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Liberia - People are dying in the thousands from Ebola in this very religious Christian country. Christians are basically exterminated in Iraq & Syria including getting their heads cut off. No help from God in both cases. But this lady got some more spaghetti . Comments please !!


Liberia Battles Spreading Ebola Epidemic 

The World Health Organization reported on August 19 that more than 1,200 people have died in the massive Ebola outbreak across West Africa, with Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone at the epicenter. The situation, officials say, is considered “out of control.”

John Moore, a photojournalist with Getty Images based in New York, is in Monrovia to document what has quickly become the deadliest Ebola outbreak on record. (via TIME

Photos by John Moore/Getty Images (August 13-15, 2014) | See the whole set here.

Reporting On Ebola: An Abandoned 10-Year-Old, A Nervous Neighborhood

Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, is under nighttime curfew as that country struggles to contain the Ebola epidemic. On Wednesday, an entire neighborhood in Monrovia was quarantined, sealed off from the rest of the city by the government. The neighborhood is called West Point and it’s where a holding center for patients suspected of having Ebola was attacked over the weekend. Patients fled, and looters carried off bloody mattresses and other possibly infected supplies. The NPR team in Liberia visited West Point on Tuesday. We spoke to correspondent Nurith Aizenman about the experience.

What is West Point like?

It is a sort of finger of land, a little sandy peninsula that juts out from a nicer area of Monrovia, abutting a river on one side and the ocean on the other. It’s about 800 meters long and 550 meters wide. There are only two roads in that are paved. The rest is a thicket of shacks and houses and huts, pretty much all one story and built of plywood or cement blocks, with corrugated metal on the rooftops. Between them are sandy pathways. It’s so closely packed that in some cases if you’re trying to get to your house you have to walk through someone else’s house.

Both sides of the paved roads are packed with shops selling all manners of goods, vegetables, fish. There are throngs of people, carrying big buckets on their heads with all sorts of goods. If you drive in, you gently nudge your way forward, parting this sea of people.

And that’s where NPR’s photographer David Gilkey encountered the 10-year-old in the picture above?

Residents had originally found this boy naked on the beach. They dragged him up to a sort of alleyway and put a shirt and pants on him. But beyond that no one wanted to touch him, no one wanted to give him shelter, because it seems he was a child who had been at that holding center for Ebola patients.

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Photo: A 10-year-old boy suspected of being sick with Ebola was found naked on the beach by residents of West Point. They dressed him but couldn’t find a clinic to take him in at first. Eventually he was was taken to JFK Hospital in Monrovia. (David Gilkey/NPR)

Related: Out, Out, Damned Ebola: Liberia Is Obsessed With Hand Washing

Ebola Took Her Daughters And Made Her An Outcast

"When you say Ebola," says Amanda Ellis, "everybody will run."

Ellis is 79. She’s sitting in a blue plastic chair in the dirt yard in front of her house, in a rural area outside Liberia’s capital city of Monrovia. She looks worn out. She has lost five members of her family to the virus that has claimed over 1,400lives in her homeland and in neighboring countries.

Ellis’ daughter Thelmorine was the first to go. She was 58. She contracted Ebola after taking care of a friend who was infected at a hospital where both of them worked as nurses.

When Thelmorine got sick, her sister Rose came over to her house to tend to her. That’s how Rose got infected.

Ellis says she was there when her daughter Rose showed the first symptoms. She points to a small, white-washed house a few yards from her own. Rose lived there with her husband.

Rose told her mother she had stomachache. Ellis gave her warm water to drink and took her to a clinic several times.

But Rose’s decline was swift. “She come into the bathroom to take a bath and just dropped,” Ellis recalls.

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Photo: Amanda Ellis, 79, lost five members of her family to Ebola. Now, nobody will buy the mangoes that used provide her income. She must rely instead on handouts.

Related: Aid Workers In Short Supply As Ebola Grips Liberia


Powerful coverage coming from Photographer John Moore covering the Ebola epidemic in Liberia which has killed more than 1,000 people in four West African countries and has overwhelmed the Liberian health system.

Top: MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 14: A burial team from the Liberian health department sprays disinfectant over the body of a woman suspected of dying of the Ebola virus on August 14, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. Teams are picking up bodies from all over the capital of Monrovia, where the spread of the Ebola virus has been called catastrophic.

Middle:MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 14: A man lies in a newly-opened Ebola isolation center set up by the Liberian health ministry in a closed school on August 14, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. People suspected of contracting the Ebola virus are being sent to such centers in the capital Monrovia where the spread of the highly contagious and deadly Ebola virus has been called catastrophic.

Bottom:MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 14: A relative weeps as a health department burial team prepares to enter the home of a woman suspected of dying of the Ebola virus on August 14, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has hurt Liberia more than any other country. And within Liberia, no town has been hit harder than the primarily Muslim farming town of Barkedu, in Lofa County in the far north. Despite a population of just 8,000, the small, dusty town accounts for a large percentage of the country’s more than 1,000 Ebola deaths to date. The virus has swept away entire families — children, women and men.

In Liberia’s Hard-Hit Lofa County, Ebola Continues To Take A Toll

Photo credit: Tommy Trenchard for NPR

(Above) In Barkedu, the rooms of those who succumbed to Ebola often remain untouched after their death.

Liberia’s Ebola Routine: Wear Your Temperature On Your Lapel

After 10 days in Liberia, NPR producer Nicole Beemsterboer has just landed in London. “You don’t realize how much has been hanging over your head until you’re out,” she says.

She’s talking about Ebola, the virus raging in Liberia as well as Sierra Leone and Guinea. “It was silent and invisible,” she says. “So you’re always on edge, always careful.”

How did you protect yourself?

I got used to not touching anyone, no handshakes. And there are buckets of chlorine solution everywhere — outside every office building, police station, government office, hotel, store. Everywhere. I washed my hands dozens of times a day, and was careful never to touch my face.

At government buildings, officials watch you wash your hands and then take your temperature with an ear-gun thermometer. They write your temperature on a piece of paper and actually staple it to your lapel so it’s visible to everyone inside. You can’t get in the building if you have a temperature, and it sends a message: We’re being vigilant; you need to be vigilant, too. Hold yourself and others accountable.

And you were careful right down to the soles of your boots?

We were concerned that if anything was contaminated, it was the bottom of our boots, so we were constantly rinsing them in the chlorine solution.

I don’t know that we started a trend, but on the last day we were there, our hotel added a shoe wash — a box with a big foam pad inside, soaked in chlorine so you didn’t have to soak your shoes but were getting enough chlorine on [the soles] to decontaminate them. We started seeing this more and more, at Redemption Hospital and other places around the city.

Does the chlorine cause any problems?

Only minor ones, and under the threat of Ebola, they didn’t bother me at all. All my clothes are spattered with bleach. I would dry my hands on my pants; my pants have bleach stains all over them. And it did smell like a pool everywhere you went.

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Photo: Body collectors come to the home of four children in Monrovia who lost both parents to Ebola. (Tommy Trenchard for NPR)

Photographing Ebola in Liberia

John Moore, a senior staff photographer from Getty Images, is covering the Ebola outbreak in Liberia.

In the New York Times, he writes:

I have worked in high-risk environments with some frequency in my career, but instead of a flak jacket and helmet, this time I brought anticontamination suits, including coveralls, masks, goggles, rubber gloves and boot covers, all of which are disposable after a single use in places like Ebola isolation wards. I stocked up on antiseptic gel, wipes and sprays. I also brought rubber boots, which were lent to me by my father-in-law, a retired journalist who is now a fisherman. He said I could keep them.

Here in Liberia, I wash my hands in chlorinated water at the entrance to most buildings, dozens of times a day, whether I have gloves on or not. Because Ebola is not airborne but is rather transmitted through bodily fluids, it’s important not to touch your face after being in contaminated areas. We tend to touch our faces many times per day without realizing it. I’m trying hard to stay safe.

The Times has a gallery of Moore’s images here.

Bonus: Yesterday, NPR interviewed Moore about an incident in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, where protestors attacked a quarantine center and forced its patients to leave the facility. Moore tells NPR that “a fair number of people… believe that the Ebola virus and the epidemic is a hoax, that it’s not real after all, and it’s a way for the Liberian government to bring in foreign money.”

Image: John Moore wears his “personal protective equipment” before joining a Liberian burial team that was removing the body of an Ebola victim from her home, via the Daily Mail. The Mail also has a gallery of Moore’s work. Select to embiggen.