Hear Me

Monsoons are not a good season anyway

Mariatu Sesay, on life after the Susan's Bay fire
By Suphian Bangura‍
9 July 2021
Mariatu Sesay, Susan's Bay

I used to sell fry fry for a living.

That day I was making my sales near my house, when I heard people shouting ‘fire’ and running. Abandoning my stall, I ran with them. Unfortunately, it was my sister’s place that was blazing. The fire was spreading and the whole area was in commotion.

I rushed into my house and tried to save what I could. My daughter and me began pulling our things out from the zinc structure. No one around came for help as everyone around was doing the same. When it became too dangerous, I left everything and ran to safety with my daughter. That night we slept outside.

We now live in a tent, which we received from aid agencies. They helped us a lot in the days after the fire. But thieves stole some of the donation items they gave us––tents have no security, anyone can rob us anytime.

The fire has left me with sadness. Everything we had, including a fridge and all our clothes, got burnt. The fry fry food that I had already prepared to sell got stolen because I had abandoned it to run home.

I fell ill with malaria and typhoid some days back. But with Allah’s intervention, my neighbours found a health practitioner to treat me for free.

I survive with the Le. 10,000 the father of my daughter gives us each day. The aid agencies also help us, but the supplies are not regular. The government has promised to relocate us to better structures. But they are yet to fulfil that promise.

When it rains, the camp floods. I have to hang my clothes and bedding to keep them dry. Monsoons are not a good season in Susan’s Bay anyway. There is more malaria, pneumonia, and typhoid. This year I am more fearful.

Photograph:  Suphian Bangura