Two boys venture into a nearby forest, to hunt for bats and cook their prey over an open fire. Within a month, they are dead, bodies ravaged by an insidious disease. Compounding the family’s grief, experts warn against touching the sick. But this caution comes too late: the virus spreads rapidly.
In a series of moving snapshots, Véronique Tadjo illustrates the terrible extent of the West African Ebola epidemic of 2014, through the eyes of those affected in myriad ways: the doctor who tirelessly treats patients day after day in a sweltering tent; the student who volunteers to work as a gravedigger while universities are closed; the grandmother who agrees to take in an orphaned boy cast out of his village. And watching over them all is the ancient and wise Baobab tree, mourning the dire state of the earth yet providing a sense of hope for the future.
Acutely relevant to our times in light of the coronavirus pandemic, In the Company of Men explores critical questions about how we cope with a global crisis and how we can combat fear and prejudice.