But what I wasn’t expecting was to be touched by warmth, humanity and even hope.
At our Ebola centre in Bo, Sierra Leone, I met doctors and nurses giving everything they had to provide their patients with dignity and comfort as they struggled to fight off the virus.
I also met many of those who had succeeded in their struggle, like 24-year-old Lamphia, cured of Ebola and longing for the day he could finish his medical degree and qualify as a doctor.
More than 1,000 Ebola survivors have now left our treatment centres in West Africa, full of optimism for the lives given back to them.
Our medical teams couldn’t do this work without the generous support of the public – from the handful of coins from a cake sale to the extra £100,000 award received from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery to specifically tackle the problem of Ebola.
I was back in Britain in time for Halloween, but our teams in West Africa will carry on – living proof that even in a horrifying situation there is room for humanity and hope.
Natasha Lewer, Médecins Sans Frontières/ Doctors Without Borders, London