Times were not so easy, however, in the midst of the recent Ebola crisis. The disease hit Sao’s village hard, with 33 people infected and only 11 of who survived. A befriended couple who took care of part of Sao’s farm both got infected very quickly and died soon after.
“It has been a very difficult time for everybody here. As well as fearing the disease, we have hardly had any income as it was so difficult to sell our cocoa.”
With Sierra Leone finally declared Ebola free, the cocoa trade has rejuvenated and people can start thinking about the future. Sao’s younger brother, Hansana Briama, is currently taking care of his sister’s farm and it continues to be a steady source of income for the family. Sao smiles when I ask her about her future prospects.
“As long as we can sell our cocoa and we get good prices, I think the future will be fruitful and we will be able to improve our lives and send our children to school.”