I am no economist, politician or even prophet, I am just a simple nutritionist with a pen to write and a platform to share my thoughts. When I saw the challenge of Day 4 for the #UgBlogMonth, I had a lot of things to write about but I chose to pick out just a few. These are just my thoughts and feel free to disagree.
COVID19 took us all by surprise. First when this virus was ravaging the far West, it felt like something obscure. Tales were even told that it is a ‘white man’s’ disease and how it survives only in the cold. Little did we know that it was slowly making strides and before we knew it came to our neighbors in Kenya. Even still this did not shake us as it should have. We enjoyed some weeks without a single case testing positive; memes flew around how we are a landlocked country which was giving us pseudo protection. Finally a case arose, then 8 more and as the cases rose, the government took a decision we all feared and dreaded but deep down knew it was necessary. A LOCK DOWN.
The face of the lock down kept changing until all businesses, schools, bars, workplaces, places of worship were shut down and people asked to remain in their homes, as a way of minimising the spread of this mysterious virus that has managed to bring every country to their knees.
My country is listed among the 3rd world countries. This means a big population lives under a dollar a day. When the lock down happened, it hit hard. Many live hand to mouth and even those who receive a salary at the end of the month, it is usually over before it even hits the account. Saving is not a culture that is ingrained in children as they grow, so we gamble our way through. Now that work is almost non existent, services have been sieved out leaving only the critical ones, many employers chocking on paying employees without making money have had to painfully lay off many of them.
A friend of mine told me of a horticulturist who has had to lay off over 200 workers. Do you know what this means? These are 200 families affected in less than a month. At one point their source of income was assured and each one of them had made plans for that income. I can imagine some were using this to take their children to school,others building their family home or better yet paying off a debt with this income and now it is no more. Brings me to ask myself how we prepare for disaster. If we were to turn back the clock, can we say even before the COVID19 pandemic happened, we were prepared for something that we did not see coming? My answer is no, I do not know what your answer is.
Things are surely going to turn back to normal but whether we want it or not, it is going to be a very painful and slow comeback, not only here but world over. The economy is already limping and this means that we are going to have to make very smart financial decisions going forward. This lock down has forcefully brought back families to sitting on the same table for meals, the curfew has got parents spending more time with their children, more time during this lock down has got people trying out all kinds of things, from cooking, to singing, to hand crafts; discovering that hidden talent. Adults have had the child inside unleashed as childhood games have replaced the many hours spent in office spaces. How I wish these things are carried on even after the pandemic.
The lock down I believe has shown us the things that matter most in life which is family and love. I hope we now understand that life is not necessarily about that car, dress or coat, whisky or destination holiday. There is more to life. Most importantly the COVID19 pandemic has shown us that painful as it is, savings will take you a mile in times of crisis. Have alternative sources of income and saving will become a very enjoyable process. Join that savings group that you have been trying to put off and God forbid if a tragedy of such magnitude ever happened again, we will not be hit as hard.
I will end with this one. As we all wait for things to go back to normal, take time off and develop a post COVID strategy for yourself. No not as a family or organisation, as an individual. This is the time to draw out a plan. Let these times not go to waste.
NOW IS THE TIME TO TURN PAIN INTO PURPOSE.