Three days to go to the end of the toughest and an unprecedented year in our lives!
Normally, a new year is celebrated with enthusiasm, hope and optimism. It give us the opportunity to reflect, look back, take stock, asses how we fared and resolve to do better. 2021 comes at a time when we are going through the second wave of the spread of the COVID-19 disease in our communities worldwide.
From what we know about such pandemics, the second wave tends to cause more deaths the first one.
Of the 50 million people estimated to have died during the 1918-1919 Spanish Flue pandemic the majority died during the period of the second wave. As I write this, Britain and South Africa and Nigeria have reported a new strain of the virus which tends to spread faster than the original one. By the 29th December , UK had reported 53,135 new coronavirus cases in one day!
The health care workers and the health care system is overwhelmed by the number of patients.
From the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre, the total cases reported from 191 countries were 82,051,958 and total deaths of 1,792,251
As by 29th December, Uganda had reported 34,281 confirmed cases and 250 deaths.
Yesterday, two senior consultant doctors died of COVID-19 disease and many are reported to battling it in hospitals. In the last three weeks, I have lost relatives and friends to the disease and I know many who are down with it. One young medical doctor lost a mother, a paternal aunt and a father to COVID-19 in the space of two weeks! These happen to be the few known to me or who make it to the Media. Thankfully, a number of health workers and individuals who have recovered from the disease have come out to share their experiences- to alert us that COVID-19 is real and is a physiological and psychological torment.
Our weak health care system is already weighed down by the big number of patients and it is no longer possible to trace contacts. Due to the cost of COVID-19 diagnostic tests, my country cannot afford Mass testing. A relative who had symptoms similar to those of COVID-19 disease, had to pay an equivalent of almost 100 USD to have the test done at a private hospital. She is among the privileged few who can afford it. She could not hide her relief and triumph when the test turned out to be negative.
As if that is not enough, a general election is due in 16 days time and what are labelled as “scientific” campaigns are in full swing. The election-related violence going in our midst alongside the second wave of the pandemic can only be compared to the lethal mix of the hot volcanic ash from a volcanic
eruption and the heavy rains that usually follow it and cause floods and landslides!
All in all, the major priority for each individual is to stay alive by staying home.
This will not go well for the 70% of our people in the informal sector who depend on a daily income – trading and providing services like welding, car repair.
It is a precarious balance of lives against livelihood but then one has to be first healthy to go out and work to support himself and her/his family.
The Baganda have a proverb that says: Bwekataligyirya eribika amaggi.
Loosely translated it means that: If the black-winged kite
does not prey on the chick, the chick will grow into a hen and lay eggs.
Desperate times like these, demand that each one stops and recognises the significance of the moment.
Anything else can wait. I have decided to put myself into strict lockdown for the next three weeks and I am busy recruiting many others to this approach.
As Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director –General of World Health Organisation,
Twitted from his UN Geneva office last November : “ We’re asking everyone to treat the decisions about where they go, what they do, who they meet, as life-and –death decisions – because they are.’’
These days I find myself sleeping curled up in bed and it just reminded me of the patients I used to see in the mental hospital. Feeling overwhelmed and powerless, they would lie in the foetal position in bed- just like a growing baby lies all curled up in its mother’s womb. This position minimizes injury to the neck and chest of the baby. The uncertainty and the whirlwind change caused by the COVID-19 disease in all areas of my life, is forcing me to assume this position during sleep and I guess that I am not the only one doing this. It is a natural response to a hostile environment.
We are all in this together and have to work together to go right through it. I have collected some quotes and proverbs to encourage you, support you and inspire you as we enter a new year.
By the look of things, it is going to be a long wait for things to return to a new normal.
- “In times of pain, when the future is too terrifying to contemplate and the past too painful remember, I have learned to pay attention to the present.”- Julia Cameron
- “Sadness flies away on the wings of time.” Jena de la Fontaine.
- “Tough times never last, but tough people do.”- Robert.H. Schuller
- “You are unique and amazing having been shaped by what life has thrown at you.”- Jane Nannono
- “In all things it is better to hope than to despair.”- Johann Wolfgang Goethe
- “Hope is the last thing ever lost. – Italian Proverb
- “ Hope is the anchor of the soul, the stimulus to action and the incentive to achievement.”– Author Unknown
- “He who loses hope may part with anything.”- William Congrene
- “When there is no hope, there can be no endeavour.”- Samuel Johasen
- “To live without hope is to cease to live.” – Fyodor Dostoevsky
- “Hope never abandons you; you abandon it.”- Gieng Weinberg
- “When our hopes break, let our patience hold.” – Thomas Fuller
- Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.- George Iles
Some African Proverbs:
Hope does not disappear.
Rain does not fall on one roof alone.
When I think of other’s misfortune, I forget mine.
Lack of knowledge is darker than the night.
One must talk little and listen much.
Every misfortune has a hidden gem inside it.
If it were not for hope, the heart would break. – Greek Proverb
While there is life, there is hope. – Traditional Proverb
Only death itself can end our hope. – Arabian Proverb
Hope is the physician of each misery. – Irish Proverb
As long as you are alive, life never stops. You have to surrender your life to a higher power and learn to dance comfortably with death every day as you go about your day-to-day activities. It is born out of a place of inner harmony.
Struggles and challenges in life make life interesting and worthwhile and help us to build the resilience and wisdom we need to handle similar challenges and bigger challenges in future. It is never lost on me that life will continue beyond me. Beyond all of us.
Have the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and restrictions in movement and association left you feeling lonely and abandoned?
What efforts have you made to adapt to the forced changes and to stay fully engaged with life, with your loved ones and members of your community?
May 2021 be a year of Restoration to you all.