There is a proverb that a person suffering from diarrhoea knows the way to the toilet. In the case of Cholera, forget it; there is nothing like going to the toilet. Watery stool and vomiting humiliate you beyond belief and leave you completely dehydrated and shocked to death.
I've visited a Cholera treatment centre beyond borders before as a journalist who believes in seeing. I was not allowed in with my camera and had to be disinfected before entering and leaving the centre. The scene of naked patients in hopeless states with sunken eyes dying on specially made beds with a hole in the middle and a bucket beneath for the easy passing of stool remain unforgettable.
Exacerbated by seasonal rains, what our country is contending with is Sierra Leone's worst Cholera outbreak in 15 years. It has affected thousands of people and killed several dozens. The international community has come in to provide support.
The question is: is the country surprised at the outbreak? The answer is "no".
The warning signs were all over: poor drainage, lack of safe drinking water, indiscriminate waste disposal, including flying toilets ( toilet packaged in plastic bags) , and more.
As the country struggles to put the disease under control, what I have seen in Freetown, including the heart of the city at PZ, has been an eyesore and unthinkable to say the least. Heaps of garbage are all over. Everybody agrees that the city is more than the word filthy.
I would have imagined that after 250 reported deaths, even a heap of garbage should be the last thing to be seen on the streets of Freetown.