James Philip Conteh

Credit: Eden Sparke / Age International

James Philip Conteh is a 71-year-old retired civil servant who suffers from diabetes. He lives in Goderich, Freetown in Sierra Leone with his wife and nephew.

“Covid-19 is real. Let no one fool you. It is an epidemic and is a very serious disease affecting the entire world.

“First it was Ebola, then the mudslide, and now Corona. When is it going to ever end? Our people are going to die, and the wicked ones are going to see this as an opportunity to make money. 

“When I heard about the first case in Sierra Leone, I knew it would have a twin effect on our country: both a health and an economic effect. And it will probably take us no less than five to seven years to recover from it. 

My wife is a decorator and the bread winner of the family. She has had to shut down her business because of the restrictions on public gatherings and events. We are using the little she has saved to live on and if things don’t get better, we don’t know how we are going to survive.   

“We are managing with the little we have and seeing if we could do some other business so that we will be able to get some income. We are thinking of investing what we have into some other business to make ends meet. 

“My eldest son in the UK was the one sending my medications for my diabetic condition but now there is no way for him to do so.  A few groups are coming around to give buckets and soap, but no one has come with money and that it what we need most badly.

“It is for the good of all to respect every restriction measure put in place; therefore, I am in compliance with them considering my condition. I am almost always at home but COVID-19 has brought about a change in our interaction with others. With no touching or shaking hands, our friendships now lie at a distance. 

“COVID-19 is my biggest fear at the moment because it has so many negative consequences. I am worried that the health services will not be able to cope if I contracted COVID-19. That is why I have decided to stay home and follow the guidelines. My major hope is on God. I trust him to protect me.”

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