Day: 11 Something/ Things I miss in the Lockdown
I know myself too well to know that I thrive best when I am surrounded by people especially loved ones.
I believe that we are given to each other to be there for each other. We give to one another and enrich each other’s life. I am of the conservative type who still believe that physical interaction with people requires me to move where the people are or they move to where I am. In this lockdown I cannot do what I want when I want it. It has robbed me of some control over my own life.
I understand very well that the lockdown is for my own health and safety as well as the health and safety of others. It is also temporary but as a human being, at times I find myself thinking that this lockdown at home-cum-cage is now running my life. Yes, I can easily communicate with my loved ones and friends by calling them or talk to them on WhatsApp or Skype but these have their limitations too.
The psychologists tell us that Communication is the bedrock of all human relationships. Effective, open communication is about 30- 40% verbal and 60-70% non-verbal. I can easily get to know what is going on with any of my children by just a simple handshake- of course now thrown out by the COVID-19 pandemic safety regulations, by hands being rubbed over the chin or hands raised in the air in resignation and a simple shrug of the shoulders. Eyes can widen in fear or joy or be closed in confusion, a genuine smile with the eyes and a spring in the gait conveys their confidence to me.
The “Hullo. I’m fine,” that I hear on the phone, reveals very little about the speaker.
I spent the fourteen years of my formal education in one boarding school near Kampala. I never felt that I was caged in because the school is built on a large area that includes a big library, a farm, several sports fields, tennis courts, a chapel, a tuck shop, a sick bay and an amphitheatre. We were encouraged to know each other well , forge friendships and to engage fully in the school activities which even included a Visiting club to help out the elderly in the surrounding village. There was never a dull moment from the time I woke up at 6 am to the time I slept at 10 pm. I knew exactly when the new term would end before it even started.
This unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic lockdown just happened; at the rate the virus was spreading and killing people all over the world , no country had time to prepare for the lockdown. Most people just stayed where they were. I am lucky that I am not alone at home; at least I have my mother and young helper with me. We try to turn each day into a game by entertaining ourselves and keeping ourselves busy. We exercise, spend some time in our small garden, cook meals together, listen to the Ministry of Health Safety Guidelines and updates and the President’s speeches. We pray together and listen to great music on the radio, TV and Internet.
However, the uncertainty still hangs over us because neither the Scientists and doctors nor the government know when the lockdown will end.
Life still goes on. Sometimes, wearing a mask, I walk down to the supermarkets to buy a few groceries but a number of items may not be in stock. This is when I miss doing what I want when I want plus the freedom of movement. I would just get into a car and buy them elsewhere. I have lost some relatives and friends during this lockdown and I feel sorry that I cannot be physically with the bereaved families to support them.
The COVID-19 pandemic lockdown has shrunk my world and limited the physical interactions with loved ones but it has helped me to build a stronger relationship with my mother having missed her for the twenty two years I was in economic exile, and my new helper. Using the fresh harvest of sweet bananas from our garden , the young lady has taught me how to make pancakes- kabalagala. I am becoming better at it each time we prepare some. My regular supplier in Wandegeya will not like to hear this at all.
I am grateful that I am not alone in the house, that I have a small garden where I can spend time connecting with nature and the best part: I can escape from it all by immersing myself in Creative writing and reading with less distractions and interruptions.
I never forget to thank God Almighty for the outcome so far. As of the 28/04/2020,Uganda had tested a total of 20329 suspects of which 79 were confirmed , 52 of these are Recoveries and no deaths among them or the attending health care workers. I thank, cheer and commend our health care workers for their dedication and hard work at the front line while at the same time carrying their own fears and worries about the hidden enemy.
I remain hopeful that the highly infectious COVID-19 will not spread into the community to overwhelm our fragile health care system and warrant the extension of the Lockdown beyond 5th May 2020.
These two quotes should uplift and encourage us to keep walking and learning as we go.
“Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step.”– Unknown
“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.” – Zig Zigla
In this unprecedented lockdown, which big obstacle have you been able to turn into an advantage or game? What motivated you to do it ?