Ebola Crusader Katie Meyler Shows Life Inside Hot Zone

More Than Me founder Katie Meyler takes Instagram followers inside the heart of Monrovia where she tries to combat Ebola, poverty, and hopelessness.

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Last year, Katie Meyler opened the More Than Me Academy for girls in the heart of West Point, the poorest neighborhood in Liberia’s capital. It was the first tuition-free school in the area with a clear mission: get girls off the streets and provide them with the necessary education and services to ensure long-term success. That mission changed dramatically when Ebola forced the government to close all schools as a way to stop the epidemic. Now she uses her building and resources to help her community and the children orphaned by the disease.

Her life in the West African capitol is documented daily in her Instagram feed. Meyler tells intimate stories of individuals fighting, winning and losing the battle against Ebola one post at a time. See a sample of her images here, and follow her at @KatieMeyler to get a glimpse of the lives inside the Ebola Hot Zone.

Editors Note: Meyler will take over the NBC News Instagram feed on Nov. 10 as a part of a cross-platform initiative with Facebook called "Spread the Story #FightEbola" to help put a face to the human tragedy.

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Rachel with her "pre-teen tude," Jacob and his "dimples," Ruth and her "smirk" and Mercy with the "eyes" are being cared for by adult Ebola survivors in a home run by Child Fund. More Than Me helps with clothes, toys, vitamins, and transportation, Meyler posted.

"Kids in West Point are very vulnerable. Our students are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and many work selling food or other items on the streets, especially right now while there's no school," Meyler said in an email.

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More Than Me’s latest project, HOPE 21, is an observation and care center for children under 18 who have been exposed to and orphaned, abandoned, or neglected as a result of Ebola. Children are taken in under observation for a 21-day quarantine. After 21 days, they are reintegrated into their community with the help of social workers.

In the photo above, a recent group of children goof around after 21 days of being Ebola free, but not all of them have a place to go. Meyler posts that the Ministry of Health is trying to place them.

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Meyler takes her Instagram followers into Monrovia's city streets and markets where she show glimpses of day-to-day life.

"West Point is one of the most notorious slums in North Africa. It's one of those places that every single one of your senses is attacked. In a good and bad way."

On a recent run through town, she shared an image of men moving water and another post shows followers how she buys clotheslines and pins.

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The children of West Point are used to seeing people in "moon suits," Meyler explains in her post about a More Than Me ambulance attendant waiting to be shown the house of a reported sick person.

Even though it's a common scene, the woman in the right photograph is in denial that her mother possibly died from Ebola. Meyler said, "The death she described sounds like Ebola but without a test we will never know unless another family member starts showing symptoms."

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Meyler chronicles the life of Esther, an 11-year-old girl she met at a ceremony for Ebola survivors at a nearby treatment unit.

Esther was the only one not celebrating. She lost both of her parents and had nowhere to go.

More Than Me took care of Esther until the Ministry of Health found her a home. Outside More Than Me, Meyler posted, "She loves me too. It's special and today she didn't cry and she's stronger. "

At first she was placed in an orphanage. Meyler can be seen breaking down when she received the news that Esther was being removed from her care. "Esther had to leave, that was really hard for all of us," she posted.

Meyler has since worked with officials to find Esther's aunt and extended family, where she still visits her.

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There is always concern about infection and she and her staff take every precaution, like plenty of bleach for boots.

Meyler told NBC News, “Like any time you don’t feel good, just assume it’s Ebola, which is really scary.”

The World Health Organization, UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders and other agencies have shown them how to put on, wear and most importantly take off personal protective equipment without getting infected.

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To encourage children to stay positive while they wait through 21 days of quarantine before being declared Ebola free, the children at HOPE 21 are often promised gifts.

"James beat Ebola and he wanted his cycle and he got it!" Meyler posted.

Editors Note: Meyler will take over the NBC News Instagram feed on Nov. 10 as a part of a cross-platform initiative with Facebook called "Spread the Story #FightEbola" to help put a face to the human tragedy.

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