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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 26th August 2016 > THE GHOSTS OF EBOLA

THE GHOSTS OF EBOLA

Women on the front lines of the Ebola crisis are still being shunned

@ryanlenorabrown

ESTHER KINE’S nightmares don’t require much imagination. What she sees when she closes her eyes is what she used to see when they were open: twisted bodies, screaming families, a thousand gaping graves all waiting to be filled—by her.

PLAYING WITH DEATH: Fatmata Barrie was the first woman in Sierra Leone to join a burial team.
TOMMY E. TRENCHARD/ALAMY

From June 2014 until last November, she rose each morning to do what was perhaps the most thankless job of the Ebola outbreak in Africa: collecting and burying the bodies of its victims. And when she went home, their faces followed her. At night, she lay awake thinking of the dead mothers she found still clutching their babies, and of the children the same age as her own. In one house on the outskirts of Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capi tal, she opened the door to find 18 bodies—a family so completely obliterated that no one around could think of whom to call as the next of kin. “All of them stayed with me,” she says.

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