Canadians from west Africa face stigma here while they fear for family back home

WINNIPEG – The Ebola virus may not have crossed Canada’s border, but the epidemic sweeping parts of west Africa is taking a toll on many Canadians.

Those with parents, brothers, sisters and cousins in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea say they are living on the edge – filled with anxiety every time the phone rings and dealing with the stigma created by the disease.

Abu Bakarr Kamara, who immigrated from Sierra Leone in 2003 and lives in Winnipeg, said he often lets his phone go to voice mail when it rings for fear of hearing his father or sister have fallen ill.

“I listen to the voice mail before I call back,” he said. “If I don’t hear any terrible news on the voice mail, I say, ‘Thank God.’ That’s our life right now.

“It’s frustrating. It’s terrible. It’s terrifying. Sometimes you go to bed thinking about what horrible news you could get from back home. You just pray. It’s really heartbreaking.”

The World Health Organization estimates the disease has killed more than 4,900 people and infected about 10,000 – virtually all in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. A lack of beds in Ebola clinics is also forcing families to care for relatives at …read more

Global News Winnipeg: Canadians from west Africa face stigma here while they fear for family back home

Canadians from west Africa face stigma here while they fear for family back home