©InfoSierra Leone is a country where basic health facilities are lacking and many are struggling with poverty. Without the proper treatment, minor injuries or burns could lead to even more suffering and potentially loss of income.
This is 18-year-old Musa Bockarie’s story about how first aid saved his life.
“I come from Makomba village in the west of Sierra Leone,” Musa says. “When I was a young boy, I loved climbing trees. I usually climbed mango trees in our compound. But when I was 16, I fell from a tree that was about four metres high. After that, my world changed.
“My mother searched for someone to give me basic first aid, but there was no one trained to help. Although many people said the injury was minor the pain continued and started to overwhelm me. So my mother sent for my aunt who was living in a distant village. She was the only Red Cross volunteer trained in first aid in our area and she rushed to our village to treat me.
©Info“My aunt advised that I needed to go to hospital, but the treatment she provided gave my parents time to get some money together to take me there.
“I stayed in hospital for four months and I wasn’t able to go to school for a year because I couldn’t walk properly. Eventually I was able to get back to my normal life and go to school even though it was a seven-mile walk. I was also able to sit my exams and I passed.
“Now, I work as a teacher at a nursery school for children aged three to six. I have 16 pupils in my class. I love to watch them play. It gives me so much excitement and positive energy seeing a future for the pupils and for me.
Returning the favour
©Info“My aunt’s first aid treatment prevented me from being permanently deformed and I can proudly say that first aid education is very important for children.
"In our community, too many kids sustain minor injuries like cuts, burns and bruises.
“There is a huge need for education on first aid. This is why I have become a Red Cross volunteer.
"I do health promotion talks and also house-to-house visits for the malaria programme, which encourages people to make sure their children sleep under bed nets – because a lot of children get malaria here, and some of them die.
“There is a need for more training and first aid volunteers in my community so that we always have someone on hand if there is a medical emergency and also to campaign in the community so that health problems like diarrhoea and malaria are prevented.
“A volunteer of the Red Cross saved my life. Now, it is time for me to help others.”
Find out how the Red Cross is helping to build peace in Sierra Leone