COVID-19: A Reflection From An African Student.
by Divine Akhigbe
Towards the end of the year 2019, I made plans together with my parents for the forthcoming year. We were all delighted to be in the new year as celebrations and new year festivals began in my family and the community. On the 5th of January, the WHO made their first media publication about the Coronavirus disease in Wuhan, China, and everyone I knew was overwhelmed by the outbreak.
Africa in the sequence of events appeared to be the last continent hit by the pandemic. As the reports of new cases increased in all parts of the world, it resulted in agitation and fear in the minds of people and made them very cautious about their food supply and interactions with others. The citizens in my community were also sensitized about the virus, symptoms, and preventive measures through social media and various public enlightenment platforms.
This also affected me personally in the social and educational aspects, as well as my family and friends. In February, the first case of the coronavirus disease was recorded which sent a shock through my mind and made it obvious that I could be a victim of the virus if I didn't yield to the preventive measures of maintaining social distancing which made me disconnected from my friends. Everyone is made to be out and about and socialize with beings on Earth. This made me very lonely and restricted my movements within the walls of my house. I could only communicate with my peers and learn virtually, and it wasn't regular due to the crooked internet connection in my home.
On a general basis, there was a rapid decline in the accessibility of food and a price increment. People tried to stock up food supplies that will last them about a month. The starvation started increasing and the Government did little or nothing to curtail this menace. Most families couldn't even afford a three-square meal anymore. Palliatives that were assigned to be distributed to the poor and needy were hoarded by Government officials for personal reasons. Non-Governmental Organizations participated in the administration of palliatives in rural areas under strict COVID-19 guidelines and this relieved the poor from the burden of hunger. Face masks and sanitizers were also issued to the people and made their usage compulsory.
During the period of the pandemic, I had the chance to learn a develop a new skill online: Graphics design. I also used the opportunity to reflect more on my personal life and form stronger bonds with my family. This phase of my life was indeed an era of cleansing in all aspects. We participated in activities at home that were lucrative and self-enlightening. Generally, the virtue of self-discipline and control was indoctrinated into the masses by strict adherence to staying at home. It was a trying moment for a lot of people psychologically, but we hope that things get back to normal again.
Credits: Divine Akhigbe was one of the participants in the maiden edition of Dream Rite’s Annual Essay Competition in December 2020. This blog post is the top submission in the competition. Photo: Center for Global Development..