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The Coronavirus Diaries: 'Covid is real'

The Coronavirus Diaries: 'Covid is real'

Wednesday August 4

 

David Ndumo, an elder at PCEA (Presbyterian Church of East Africa) Mathare North, Kenya, describes how he deployed Church counselling skills after contracting Covid-19.

AT the start of 2020, the news was all over the world that a virus in China was killing indiscriminately.

The first case of Covid-19 in Kenya was declared in February/March 2020 but the sick person was not informed of her illness despite it being announced on the national news.

Soon several other cases were confirmed but all were mild in nature and not taken seriously. The increased cases led the government to lock down the country from April 2020, affecting ordinary life, requiring working from home other than those offering essential services. Churches were deeply affected by the lockdown and the ban on in-person worship.

Fast forward, Covid-19 hit close to home when a number of high-ranking public leaders suffered with some succumbing to the pandemic. The closest was the long hospitalisation and ultimate death of the PCEA Secretary General the Rev Peter Kania in July 2020. The daily Ministry of Health updates on Covid-19 became the order of the day as the country watched the rising numbers, the overrun hospital facilities, the increased number of deaths, the economic loss and ultimately the desperation in the country and the world at large.

The Nyeri county where I work appeared a safe zone for the better part of the pandemic until late October when a number of prominent and community leaders were hospitalised with Covid-19. Days later, three of them succumbed including my boss.  Soon thereafter, as a control measure, we undertook voluntary testing, having come in contact with our departed leader. The results were devastating as several of us tested positive and started the long journey in the world of the pandemic.

Being a Church Elder with basic counselling skills, I took up the role of in-house counsellor, was tasked with communicating the test results of my colleagues and making follow up arrangements, which was no mean task. I was phone counselling and guiding over 50 staff members who were fighting the pandemic at different times. Thankfully, after observing a certain lifestyle, diet and medication, they all tested negative though some took more than two months, including myself.

I shared my status with the Church and those close to me in an effort to alert the general public that Covid is REAL! The Church was deserted, online services were poorly attended which continues to be the case one year later.

Fast forward, I continue using my work experience with Covid-19 in counselling the many church members, elders and pastors who have contracted the disease, noting that God allows us to suffer so that we can encourage our brothers and sisters.