No matter, I was glad to get it.
After their 30-hour flight from Boston Claire and her Partners In Health medical team arrived in Sierra Leone at the Freetown-Lungi airport located across the bay from Freetown in the coastal city of Lungi.
The airport was patrolled by soldiers armed with hand sanitizer and thermometers and each passenger was given a health screening upon their arrival at the airport.
From the airport Claire's team took a bus down a dirt road to the bay then took the 20-minute ferry ride across the bay to Freetown.
When Claire's team arrived in Freetown on Sunday evening there were few people on the road and they were stopped by the police, who wished to know their business. There were Ebola information signs everywhere, mostly in picture form.
On Monday morning the team began training with the World Health Organization in an abandoned sports stadium. Their trainers are a crew of Ugandan doctors well- experienced in fighting previous Ebola outbreaks.
During the morning tea break Claire took a walk outside with some of her co-workers around the soccer field.
In fact the descriptions Claire gave of the routine of life in Freetown did sound to me like a description of life in a war zone: the few people out and about, the warning signs everywhere, the prohibitions on public gatherings, the transformation of a sports stadium into a medical training facility, the police and military stopping people not to ask for their identification but to take their temperatures. Claire said that on Monday she had her temperature taken 5 times: Upon entering and leaving the Partners In Health Office, upon entering and leaving the WHO soccer-field training area, and by a soldier before she was allowed to enter a market.
But then this is an enemy fought not with guns or bombs but with thermometers.