Jackline Okello WOSWA COVID19 Story
Here is what keeps me going when I look at the situation around me, I think of life as an adventure, like a roller coaster because it brings you ups and downs. This is because things have really taken a different direction in a span of months. Being a student and a self-employed personality, I have not had an easy time since I came to terms with the reality of the effects of
Covid-19 pandemic. Personally I was caught between what to do to heal and stay safe or what to do to make life better and uphold normalcy.

Initially, as schools were ordered to close, I thought my institution has only been closed for two weeks. I failed to take much with me. I didn’t take my books and belongings as I thought this will end so soon. I only had an option of adapting to the condition at the moment though I feel this is the most difficult times I am facing. As a student, I am coping the online way as
recommended by my institution that provided a suitable platform for online learning.

Consequently, this has kept me busy and I am able to uphold continued learning amidst the daily challenges. The truth remains that learning at home is not easy but life has to go on as change is the only way to do things differently.

As an individual the pandemic has rendered me jobless, because all potential customers are broke. They no longer even buy the sanitizers that I had started selling. Movement restriction in my country has not been easy because I do deliveries to customers up to late and this has now become impossible. I had to reduce my expenses and adapt to new survival techniques. I have to stay at home most of the times, no business, almost exhausting savings and it has not been the same again. My fellow students and friends that I have personally interacted with are swimming in the same river and are sending the impression that there is nothing to smile at. In my own perception, I have to face every challenge with a positive spirit. I have never stopped telling myself every time I feel low in the midst of this pandemic that I am stronger than I seem, braver than I believe and smarter than I think.

I have to strain and ensure my general mental health is okay because I am sure I had started failing to feel and be at peace within. I have to admit to have been served with a good portion of loneliness by this pandemic as most friends have vanished even online and the guidelines of staying at home are being practiced as much as possible. Personally I do visit my parents everyweekend or at least twice a month but since Nairobi was locked its several weeks now and it is not easy for both of us. The pandemic has forced me to stay away from beloved family members and both of us have to cope with the situation. I had to find support from mental health support groups online and practiced personal wellness of both the mind and the body. This keeps me going even though it is still not easy. It is unfortunate to have witnessed several young people just withdrawing and going into isolation because most feel everything is not working out as
planned .You call someone you know and they confidently confirm to you that they are not okay.

It is okay because you also feel you are not alone in this. I have found myself repeating Joseph Campbell’s words ‘‘we must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us’’.
I have offered myself severally to volunteer as a counselor and work with the groups that help and attend to the vulnerable and victims of mental health in my community. I have seen mostly women and children suffering mostly because most of their sources of income have been cut off and for some depleted as a result of business not being the same again. I therefore urge the government to focus on its mission to fix broken systems by empowering citizens to eradicate poverty; reducing inequalities and establishing equity when it comes to distribution of essential resources such as ensuring people have reliable water systems and health facilities
across the whole country and supporting the vulnerable. It should continue to intervene and strengthen development activities that will place measures that that can prepare the country for future crises. It is unfortunate that a pandemic is able to render a million Kenyans jobless just in few months and is therefore not only a public health issue but also a development
issue already affecting the entire socioeconomic scale of the country.


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