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Life in the time of COVID-19

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On my birthday, 31 March 2020, Sierra Leone recorded its first case of COVID-19.

In his maiden statement to the nation on 18 March 2020, President Bio said “it is no longer a question of whether the Coronavirus (COVID-19) will come to Sierra Leone, it is a question of when”. For various reasons I had a hunch it was already upon us, so I wasn’t scared. It made me wonder though whether enough was being done to contain it. Since then, flights to Sierra Leone have been banned, our borders are locked, a curfew has been imposed in Kambia District, and we started our first national lockdown this morning, which will end on Tuesday 7th April.

On 1st April, we agreed to shut down the office and my staff, family and I started self-isolating, due to the reality of the presence of COVID-19 in our immediate circle. I don't know when we'll be back out. We continue to wash our hands and pray fervently.

COVID-19 is difficult to diagnose without a test because its symptoms are very similar to a common cold or influenza. However, it is serious because it could become severe depending on an individual’s existing health condition. It is also highly contagious, even when carriers are asymptomatic. For someone like me who already suffers from sinusitis and has the symptoms quite regularly, COVID-19 may come and go without notice, so it is extremely important to self-isolate. There is a possibility that it may also become quite severe, so we continue to pray. Whatever the case, I have ginger, garlic, lime, vitamin C, water, cough syrup, paracetamol, Vicks and Strepsils to make life slightly easier.

COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, following an outbreak in Wuhan, China in early December 2019. The World Health Organisation referred to it as a pandemic on 11 March 2020. To date, at least 64,000 people have died (5.4%), out of over 1,190,000 who have been infected across 210 countries and territories. 74.5% of positive cases are pending. Sierra Leone has reported six cases. I suspect there will be a significant rise after the lockdown, due to increased testing.

I love being indoors, but I’m not too comfortable with being restricted from leaving when I want to. However, I recognise it’s for the greater good and a luxury to have the ability to stay indoors for a great length of time. For that I am grateful, and I will try to focus on doing the following instead of thinking about what I could be doing elsewhere:

Pray – I spend more time talking about God and praising Him for his good works through song than with Him quietly. Recently, I haven’t spent enough time seeking His word. I know there are verses for all the emotions we are going through right now, so it would be very helpful to find and reflect on them through this trying time.

Meditate – A few months ago, I started meditating using the Abide app. It makes me sleep more soundly and longer, and I get to hear a bit of God’s word before I drift off. From time to time I also use YouTube videos to do deep breathing meditation.

Reflect – I’m going to spend some time reflecting on the choices I have made for myself and figure out what life should look like after COVID-19 – should I continue down the same path or re-prioritise? This would include the way I work, health, caring for LM, community involvement, family, how I spend my money etc. So much to think about, I’m already dizzy. LOL. Anyway, I've searched and Life Cycle, Reflectly and 10Q are good self-reflection apps I should check out.

Work – Lord knows I am grateful for all the work we have right now. We have so many deadlines that keep pushing us to continue working. I also have several projects that I need to strategise for. Lord also knows I’m struggling to get it done, as the mind keeps drifting off to other things. Some days all I want to do is play games on my phone and pretend everything is OK in the world. Still, I have to get it done and I will. When I need to feel like I'm doing something useful, instead of just playing games, I use Elevate to train my brain.

You can contribute towards making my work easier by completing one of these quick surveys:

Exercise – I wish I loved exercising like some people. It bores me so much, but I understand how necessary it is. Being locked away for a while means indulging – chocolate, alcohol, carbs – to keep sane. It also means weight gain. I started working on the cross trainer on Thursday morning and pray that I can continue throughout this period and beyond. Edrina (my sis) also says I should follow Joe Wicks The Body Coach TV. I see he has a 10 minute home workout for seniors, so I'll probably start with that.

More social media - I'm always selective about what I read or watch on WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, and that will continue, but I'll make it a point to laugh at silly videos and posts for the sake of my sanity. I'll watch just the right amount of COVID-19 news and catch up with friends and fam globally.

Spend more time with LM – We’ve gone from doing homework to doing home study, which means more interaction in that regard. It's hard! People have been so kind and shared a lot of links for free education with us. LM has been enjoying using the computer and watching movies with Tia. She had fun exercising with Uncle Philip on Friday and we’ll add exercise videos to the schedule starting next week. Hopefully we'll get to play a few board games and outside at some point too. Some of my favourite moments though are during mealtimes when I can say “no talking at the table” and there’s silence for a few minutes.

Links for home study (don't kill yourself, just click on a few for variety): is best for SS1-SS3

Learn – Over the past few months, I have saved links of courses and articles to catch up on. There are also some Tech things for work that I need to learn how to do. If I waste this time and don’t get it done, I will be very mad at myself.

Declutter – Those who know me know I’m a hoarder. A few weeks ago I managed to clear my 17-year old souvenir shelf. There are still some files that need to be tidied up for the office, some books that need to leave the bedroom bookshelf for the study bookshelf, some clothes and shoes that should either be thrown out or donated. As for my phone galleries and e-mail inboxes, I need to delete in bulk. I'm exhausted already.

Relax - I've been 'too busy' to relax properly for a while now and it's good to know that I can sit still because I have nowhere to go. I will watch more movies and TV shows, read, fantasise about life after COVID-19 and sleep.

Stay safe and God bless.

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