NewsWest AfricaDay in a life: An Ebola survivor's tale


Posted on Tuesday, 12 May 2015 16:25

Day in a life: An Ebola survivor's tale

By Interview by Ricci Shryock

Lafayette Vinton, 34, has been a preacher in Monrovia for more than a decade. Since surviving Ebola his sermons have taken on a new message – and importance.

Being a preacher was not part of my life plan. When I was about 18 years old, I was in a classroom and a brother came to minister to some of the students.

While running on the beach, a helicopter was in the air pursuing me

I listened to how he described heaven and hell, and I was afraid of going to hell. I never wanted to lose my soul. I started sensing the calling.

My wife's name was Rebecca. I met her in 2006 at a church gathering.

That very day I saw her, something in my spirit told me that she was my wife. I felt it. I really felt it – that genuine love.

She was a nursing student at the time. I proposed to her, but it was another month before she could respond to my proposal.

We had a little pharmacy. It's a small community, and many of the people who would come were less privileged.

When these people came, they would say "I don't have money, can you help me?" And because of her passion for humanity, she would treat them and just let it be.

During the [Ebola] outbreak she was helping, treating people, so I strongly believe that is how my wife contracted the virus.

We got to the Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) on 13 August. We went to the Eternal Love Winning Africa hospital.

When we got there, we tested positive and went through the treatment.

But while in the process of going through the treatment, I lost my wife.

When I saw my wife lying there, I got afraid and decided to escape. I took to the beach side.

While running on the beach, a helicopter was in the air pursuing me.

When day broke, I received a lot of calls from my pastor colleagues who were telling me to return to the ETU because my escape was announced on many of our national radio stations.

They pleaded with me, and I finally agreed to go back. I went through my treatment and I came out successfully on 2 September, leaving my wife behind.

When I got back home, I discovered one of my daughters died, my little sister died and a little girl who was living with my wife and I also died.

So I lost four people in the process.


I am one of the founding members of the Ebola Survivors Association of Liberia.

I see this as one of the ways I can resist my depression. I feel very happy to be among many of those who were also infected with the virus and came out alive.

When I go out to evangelise, the first thing I do before going into the message is to tell them about the reality of the virus and how we all should take precautions.

I go from place to place sharing my testimony.

Our church used to be packed. Because of what gripped the country and because of what I went through, other people are still afraid to come around with the fear that the virus is still around.

Now I have two daughters: Wonders and Glorious. We live right here at the church. They give testimonies in the morning. They quote scripture.

When I come home from the church, I spend time with them. We talk. I tell them about life – how they ought to be when they grow up, how God wants their life to be ... how to love people, how to care for people – like their mama did. ● 

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