Ten days ago, the teen, a local bishop's son named Boimah, shared a room with a community healer who died from Ebola last Tuesday, he says. Now, Boimah appears to have the deadly virus, too.
After the headache, there were body aches, Boimah says, then fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Now, he has sores and it hurts to swallow. When he opens his mouth, we can see blood on his teeth coming from his gums.
It's impossible to travel anywhere quickly. We start the day weaving our way down the road out of Monrovia using both lanes, trying to avoid oncoming cars, trucks and the teeth-jarring potholes caused by the long rainy season. We are in two large white SUV's and ahead of us, the International Medical Corps are driving two makeshift ambulances -- pickup trucks outfitted with metal frames and covered with bright orange tarps.
Outside the town of Kakata, we are stopped at a checkpoint. “Everyone out,” one of the guards tells us. No one passes without having his or her temperature checked.
Our first pickup of the day is in a village called Mahwa, a small cluster of wood and mud houses. Garmai, a young mother, sits on a stool in her outdoor kitchen, holding her listless baby son, Freeman, on her lap. He's not quite a year old and he's breathing rapidly. I can see his belly pulling in with each breath, while his arms just hang at his sides.
Freeman's father and grandmother have Ebola and are in the Ebola treatment unit in Bong County, where we will be heading for the night. While the woman feels fine, it’s clear her baby does not. He's hot to the touch and has not been eating. No diarrhea or vomiting, but he's had a cough.
Freeman sleeps with his parents on a common sleeping mat in the cramped quarters behind them, she says. The opportunity for exposure was there.
As they climbed into the back of the ambulance, a crowd of villagers looked on approvingly. Mahwa is unique among rural Liberian villages because it welcomes health workers and believes that taking patients to treatment centers is the best approach for everyone. They even told me about how they are washing their hands to prevent the disease from spreading.
With Garmai and Freeman in the ambulance, we moved on to pick up Boimah in a village two hours away.
"He's a good boy. Very hardworking. The doctors will help him," his father said.
The look on his face was one of hope mixed with despair. He told me of the beloved healer who had likely infected his son.
"He was a great man. A beloved man. He took care of me." He pulled up his pants leg to show me where the healer had stitched up an old leg wound. "If he hadn't had Ebola, everyone would have come to his funeral. Now, we couldn't even say goodbye."
Then, as Boimah climbed into the orange ambulance for the four-hour ride to the Ebola treatment unit, a rainbow arced across the sky. On a day full of trepidation and disease, a much needed sign of hope.