World Bulletin / News Desk
The Ebola virus, which has claimed thousands of Liberian lives in recent months, has also cast its shadow over the Christmas holiday in the West African country.
"The country is facing tough conditions. My husband has not worked since this Ebola outbreak began, so I just pray to have food to eat," Sarah Brown, a mother of five, told The Anadolu Agency.
The Ebola outbreak has been a major setback for the country's economy, almost bringing everyday life to a standstill.
Most parents will not be able to buying new clothes, toys or gifts for their children, as is customary this time of year.
"My children will understand that I don't have money to buy them clothes this year," said Brown.
"All my children – including the smallest one, who is just four years old – know something about Ebola," she added.
In recent months, Ebola – a contagious disease for which there is no known treatment or cure – has killed 7,588 people, mostly in West Africa, according to the World Health Organization.
The deadly virus has claimed 3,384 lives in Liberia alone.
"There is no Christmas to celebrate," Pasca Ikechuku, a local businessman, told AA.
"Many families are in mourning; for me, we aren't in normal times," he said.
The Christmas season used to be a time for brisk business in Liberia. This, however, no longer appears to be the case.
"By this time [in previous years] we would import new goods from other countries," Ikechuku said.
"But because of Ebola, we can't. And the few goods in the stores are very expensive and people aren't buying," he lamented.
"So where do I get money to do things for my family this year?" Ikechuku asked.
"The only thing I will do on Christmas Day will be to find food for my family and watch some movies," he said.
Winifred Harmon, a mother of two, says Ebola has killed the Christmas joy this year.
"Ebola has made things very hard this year," she told AA. "It does not even seem like Christmas."
Many Liberians have decided to spend the holidays indoors.
But 26-year-old Samuel Johnson, who usually hits the beach every Christmas with his friends, says he can't this year.
"Because of Ebola, the government has said we should not go to the beach," he told AA. "So for me, I have no Christmas."
Beaches used to teem with people on Christmas Day.
The government recently banned Liberians from going to the beach on November 29, a national holiday widely celebrated in Liberia. It marks the birthday of the country's 18th president, Williams V.S. Tubman.
The warnings against going to the beach are aimed at containing the spread of Ebola, according to the Liberian Information Ministry.
But Roland Davis, a clergyman, sees some good in the limitations imposed by Ebola.
"On Christmas Day, young people are all seen naked on the beaches, while teenage boys and girls are seen very drunk in the streets, which sometimes lead to girls being raped, people dying in accidents, and fights that lead to deaths," he told AA.
"So this year's Christmas, some of these things will be avoided," said Pastor Davis.
"We all regret this Ebola situation, but I think this year's Christmas will be observed with some level of sanity," he added.