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The Coronavirus Diaries: 'A Crisis That Will Not Go Away'

The Coronavirus Diaries: 'A Crisis That Will Not Go Away'

Wednesday August 11

 

Shupo Kumwenda, Co-ordinator of the Youth Resource Centre, Ekwendeni, Synod of Livingstonia, Malawi reports on the deep personal and social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

THE coming of Covid-19 in Malawi has greatly affected the normal livelihood of people.

Covid-19 measures, for instance have made socialisation difficult as the number of people allowed  to be gathered in public places has been limited. Taking into consideration that this is a highly contagious virus, it has also perpetuated some form of discrimination within Malawian communities, more especially those in rural areas such as Ekwendeni.

It has been observed that personal life activities were not functioning well due to this pandemic. For example over and above my job, I was once a proud owner of a tuck shop which was selling groceries, and it was a great source of income for my basic needs. The coming of Covid-19 also meant restrictions on such businesses as many of them thought everyone who is working near the hospital would have Covid-19.

I started to notice a dip in the number of customers and sales every day. After investigation, I came to know that the customers were not coming, not necessarily because of the restrictions but because of the rumours that my uncle had been diagnosed with Covid-19. I had to give up because running the business was becoming a waste of time.

My family on the other hand was also greatly affected by this segregation. Even though my uncle was not living within the community that we are living, there were still sentiments towards us that we brought Coronavirus to the community. My family as a result has not been partaking in any community activities which has led to depression in some members of the family.

The community as a whole has had its bad times as well. Socialisation within the community has not been the same since the coming of the pandemic. No social activities like sports and cultural gatherings have been happening since the government imposed Covid-19 restrictions. School attendance and enrollment more especially in junior classes has also been reducing drastically. This is because the school feeding programme that was in place at the school is no longer operational due to Covid restrictions. This makes some students in these junior classes, more especially from poverty-stricken families, not able to attend school anymore as the feeding that gave them momentum to go to school is no longer in place.

And again another impact was that in the past we had times of having our friends from different countries including friends from Church of Scotland who were also supporting us a lot spiritually and  socially – they are not coming just now and this is something that affects our daily life. Let me thank the Church of Scotland and others who have sent us items such as masks and soap which we have used to educate and motivate our youth, encouraging them to be an example, and have distributed to our elderly people.  

Covid-19 is a crisis that will not go away easily as it requires combined efforts to combat that which seems to be lacking in my community. There is a need to provide civic education for people on how best to address the situation at hand.

There have been diseases that were deadly and were conquered, it is therefore my belief that this pandemic can also be defeated as long as we co-operate in adhering to the preventive and control measures of Covid-19.

The communities on their own cannot manage to deal with this, the government therefore ought to render more support towards the control and preventive measures of the pandemic.

 

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