Remembering Shacki: Liberia’s Accidental Ebola Victim
Sixteen-year-old Shacki Kamara was an accidental victim of Ebola. He didn’t die of the virus, but if the virus hadn’t struck Liberia, he might still be alive.
Kamara lived in West Point, a shantytown on a peninsula jutting out from the capital city of Monrovia. An Ebola holding center there was attacked on Aug. 16 and patients fled; on Aug. 20, the government imposed a lockdown.
Residents protested the next day, and clashed with security forces. During the unrest, Kamara was shot — apparently a single bullet wounded both legs. He lay in the street bleeding for at least 20 minutes. He was taken to Monrovia’s main medical teaching facility, JFK Hospital, but its emergency room had lost two doctors to Ebola and wasn’t able to care for him. So he was shuttled to Redemption Hospital, where he died on Aug. 22 from loss of blood and hypothermic shock.
Eva Nah raised Shacki from the age of 2. That’s when he lost his mother (her sister) and father.
His aunt, who’s 63, still asks: “Why?”
Nah had sent her nephew to buy tea for her breakfast on the morning of the protest. She says it was quiet when he went out on the errand. As she puts it, “He got caught up in the mix.”
"They shoot him; [they] shoot him foot," she says. The soldier’s bullet went through both legs and came out the front. "It bust the entire leg," Nah says.
Neighborhood children told her what had happened: “They shot Shacki. They shot Shacki.” Her oldest son confirmed the news. He had tried to run up to Shacki, telling the soldiers, “It’s my brother. I want to get my brother.”
The soldiers, he said, told him they’d shoot him if he came any closer.
Photo: Eva Nah raised her nephew Shacki from the age of 2, when he lost his parents. “Every day [when] I wake up I cry because I feel bad that Shacki has left me,” she says. (Tommy Trenchard for NPR)