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Meet Sierra Leone’s Essential Workers: The Video Producer

by Alhassan Lamin
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I had just come back from Kailahun and Pujehun Districts [of Sierra Leone] to scout locations for our show. I produce a travel documentary for broadcast on TV. Now that we cannot travel due to the virus, the series has. Been put on hold. The hardest part about the pandemic is the curfew, I used to stay in the office really late to edit content at night and that’s when it’s really quiet and I can get a lot of work done but now we have a 9:00 PM curfew. This has really disrupted my workflow. Sometimes, I lose track of time and I forget to leave work early enough. It is really stressful to be out in the night trying to find a bike to take me home, so I don’t miss the curfew. ⁠

The other thing that has changed is that we have all had to take a pay cut. It was either that or we shut down our office, but stories need to get told whether there is a pandemic or not. Our whole team agreed to take only half of our salaries so that our company can stay afloat. It is very difficult for all of us. I live with my siblings and parents both of whom are now retired. They all need to take care of so this is hard. However, our work as storytellers must go on! ⁠

Earlier in the pandemic, our team produced Sierra Leonean folklore children’s stories to educate children about the coronavirus. Those stories broadcast on the radio. Now I’m currently filming a new series which is all about how the pandemic is affecting business, frontline health workers, and our community. The series called “The Local Response” airs on SLBC TV, AYV TV, and on YouTube. Making the show takes me to treatment centers and I get to interact with frontline health workers. I know that it is very risky for me to be going out to work, but I take all the precautions that I can. I practice social distancing at work and on location. I wear my mask in public, and of course, hand hygiene is a must. ⁠

Credit: Essential Stories 

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