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Image of the Week: Thank you science!

7 Aug, 2015

Alphanso Appleton's wonderful image

You might have already seen this week’s chosen image doing the rounds on social media earlier in the week, but we thought it was important to share the story behind the photo, and the Liberian photographer who took it. Following last week’s publication of remarkably positive results from the VSV-EBOV Ebola vaccine trials we were sent this image, which the photographer Alphanso Appleton kindly allowed us to share. His story makes this wonderful photo even more powerful…

Alphanso Appleton holds up a his written permission to use the image.

Alphanso Appleton holds up his written permission to use the image.

I am Alphanso Appleton, and I live in Robertsport, Liberia. I am 23 years old, and I am the son of an Ebola survivor.

I saw on Facebook on my mobile phone that a vaccine for Ebola had been created. I called my friend Cori Stern, who works with an organisation called Strongheart, to ask if it was real and she said it was true. It was very real and been proven by science.

I started telling everyone in our area. We are all so excited about it. I was so happy, I made a sign to say thank you to science! I took the photograph of my neighbour – six year old Cecelia – in Kru Town Village, Robertsport.

Ebola has affected my country so much. I was so afraid when my mother was sick. She was lucky enough to survive though. Sadly many people weren’t. The vaccine is science – and a miracle.

Ebola has also affected many things beyond just health in Liberia. My dream is to study photography and I was accepted into a school in the US to begin my studies. But when Ebola happened, the school decided not to allow any Liberians to come. I was just accepted by a wonderful new school but am worried it will not really happen. It’s not easy for a young Liberian to receive permission to study in the US, even with a scholarship. Maybe now with the vaccine, Liberia will be seen in a stronger way and more opportunities will happen.

I am grateful that my photo has been seen around the world because I think it is important that Africans have a chance to tell our story – including through photos of important events.

…maybe my photo will help young Liberians know science helps the world and become scientists too.

Almost all photos of Liberia used in world news are taken by non-Liberians. I hope to help change that one day with my efforts – and maybe my photo will help young Liberians know science helps the world and become scientists too.

The world needs art AND science working together.

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