Your home is your prison

People within households with a confirmed Ebola case must not leave their house for 21 days. That is the Ebola incubation period. Only if no other household member becomes ill within 21 days, all will be able to breathe a sigh of relief.

I want you to imagine that. 21 days inside the house. Day and night. Together with the whole family, mostly confined space. The house is marked with a ribbon, this line must not passed by anyone, neither from inside, nor from outside.

  • What do you eat?
  • What do you drink?
  • How do you buy coffee, cigarettes, mobile top-up?
  • How do you get water to wash clothes?
  • Where do you get charcoal for cooking?
  • And most importantly – How can you earn your living?

photo by User:JuliaBroska [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Local resident in quarantine.
By User:JuliaBroska [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
At the beginning of the Ebola epidemic it was the government’s strategy, to put entire villages under quarantine. The villages were completely sealed off from outside, but the villagers were able to move freely within the village. The result: An extremely high rate of infection within entire communities. A single case of Ebola could lead to the death of two-digit numbers of villagers. The Welthungerhilfe objected to it in the first place and campaigned for household quarantine. The advantage is that a small group of actual contact persons cannot infect a whole village. The disadvantage is that it is much more costly to identify and seal off individuals. Nevertheless, otherwise it will not work.

We bring a package of food, drinking water and hygiene products to each family in quarantine every week. Neighbours have an integral part in the success of the quarantine period as they have to care for everything else. Money and goods are put on the red line. Three meters back from the line is the safety gap for every interchange. Sometimes I wonder how that would work actually in Germany. Amazon would probably would make the deal of the millennium…

But people need more than just food and water. Humans are social beings. People need tasks and employment. People need solace after the loss of relatives. A perspective. Hope.

This article is a direct translation of the source article by Julia:


Philippe translates Julias articles to English language so that more people can have access to her reports and information.

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