Julia Jalloh has done all she can during the coronavirus pandemic to keep herself, her co-workers and her family healthy after working in residences of sick people in Gahanna.
The 44-year-old licensed nurse practitioner, who works at a hospice facility, spent a week and a half in a hotel, slept on the couch, crashed on the floor and camped in a tent in the yard outside her two-bedroom apartment in northeast Columbus in an effort to limit the chance of infecting those closest to her with coronavirus.
Jalloh said she likely would have checked into a hotel this weekend, too. Then she met Alice Foeller.
Foeller's friend had sent her a link to the Facebook group RVs 4 MDs To Fight the Corona Virus, where people were offering their motor homes to health-care workers as a place to live after potentially being exposed to the virus in their workplace.
Foeller, from Westerville, posted a photo of her 22-year-old Shasta Cheyenne Class C motor home, named Barry, on April 5. Jalloh, who initially thought the post was a joke, messaged Foeller to secure the vehicle.
Jalloh had been looking for a temporary place of residence that would allow her to be within reach of her own residence near Morse and Westerville roads for three weeks. Sitting down on a couch April 7 inside the '90s-era vehicle with its worn furniture and carpet, Jalloh was overcome with emotion.
"She is an angel sent," Jalloh said of Foeller. "She is a blessing."
Aside from working in nursing homes around the populations most susceptible to severe symptoms from the virus, the impact of the virus has hit close to home for Jalloh. She said she knows people near relatives in Lorain County who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and have been hospitalized.
To protect her 15-year-old daughter, 22-year-old and 20-year-old sons, and her 7-year-old grandson in the house, she decided she needed a safe place to stay close by.
"I never thought in the 44 years of my life I would see something like this," she said. "Never in my life."
When Jalloh saw the motor home cruising down her street, even with a white surgical mask covering her face, her joy was obvious. Jalloh's sister-in-law works as a hospice chaplain and will be using the RV, as well. The loan was the least Foeller felt like she could do.
"She's just a super amazing woman," Foeller said of Jalloh. "If not for social distancing, we would've been hugging after five minutes, for sure."
Jalloh said she's always the one taking care of people, not the one receiving charity.
The two resorted to air hugs four or five times in the 20 minutes Foeller spent giving a tour of the vehicle and setting up Jalloh's temporary living space. They hadn't spent even an hour together before Jalloh told Foeller a saying commonly used in her family: I love you and there's nothing you can do about it.
Before she left for Jalloh's home, Foeller said her 13-year-old son, Michael, was confused why Barry the motor home was being moved.
"Barry's going to be a hero," she said.