For the past three weeks, my children and I have had to adopt a system of self-isolation, social distancing, and extra cleanliness. I must say that I have never been so particular about washing hands and keeping surfaces cleaner than I have today. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us a number of life lessons; it has taught us to be clean, to be united, to read, to seek knowledge, to never be ignorant and to see no boundaries and divisions. I see this pandemic uniting people from different races, cultural backgrounds and social rankings because it has no exceptions. It is a different experience for everyone.
How have I managed to cope?
At the time of writing before the 21-day lockdown, there were not many cases in Zimbabwe. I would listen to the news and hear that things were getting extremely serious in most European countries. I made my own decision to minimize movements as much as possible. What it meant for me is that I would go to the shops only when I needed essentials and made sure l kept a safe distance from the next person. As I sit to write about my personal experience I am not limited to thinking about my fellow Zimbabweans who hardly have something to stock up for the next few days but I think of what lockdown or self-quarantine means to them.
Today being at home with my children means that we need to be as creative as possible in everything we do so that it’s not boring. We plan for the day as a family and come up with exciting ways of spending our time together. Schools closing earlier means more and more work is required of me; I have decided to assign daily duties to each and every one of my children and making sure that they prepare their beds before they do anything else. My children are responsible for how their rooms look and they compete against each other to have the cleanest room. This way I see them gain skills such as responsibility and individuality which I am happy about. Training and exercise has not stopped, we continue with indoor exercises. Among these exercises, I find dancing with loud music being the most enjoyable exercise for my family. We do that on a daily basis and sometimes twice a day. We also cook our meals, fortunately for us we love cooking, therefore, making meals in my home during this time is quite an enjoyable activity. I encourage every parent out there to find ways of getting their children to enjoy cooking.
What I miss most is going for coffee with my friends and chatting during school drop off and pick up. A phone call each day or a WhatsApp message is not the same. The fear of the unknown has hit me so hard, I worry about every single thing happening, I worry about my relatives, especially my mother whom I cannot visit.
We have maintained a family group chat that helps us share important information and jokes. In the last weeks, it’s all been about COVID-19. We do not listen to every story out there, we follow the guidelines and news mainly from WHO and the Ministry of Health. There is so much unnecessary information doing the rounds, therefore, I choose what l want to hear and what my children should hear, I check whether it’s true and beneficial to the family.
My only prayer at this moment is for Zimbabwe to have mild cases, we are recovering from Cyclone Idai that affected thousands of people. It will be difficult for the country to cope; our health system is really not in a good state to manage a pandemic.
May we all stay safe and God bless!
Written by : Egnes Kulilishika