MUSIMENTA CHRISPINE: Coping in the wake of COVID-19 Pandemic

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Musimenta Chrispine Rwaboona, Kabale District (Woman) MP Aspirant 2021
By :
Musimenta Chrispine Rwaboona

The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly shaken the mighty nations and has brought them down on their knees. However, not all hope is lost as measures to curb the deadly pandemic are undertaken and some successes have been registered.

The biggest challenge however is for the population to adapt to the new lifestyle subjected to them. This has affected them socially, psychologically, physically, spiritually,and economically.

6th of April happens to be my 46th birth day—it’s a unique one as it’s the period when am in a lockdown due to the pandemic. This has prompted me to write this article in remembrance.

The directive of banning social gatherings and ‘stay at home’ has affected the social wellbeing of the people inadvertently resulting in a lot of free time to some who are not in the know of how to use it profitably.

In this information age, socialisation can be made on line as in social media. In his message to all members of LIONS Club International, our International President Dr. Jung-Yul Choi emphasized the issue of “closing the distance with technology” and suggested having virtual meetings to keep the Clubs connected.

The challenge of social media is exposing the users to criminals and misinformation. There’s need for being on the alert to avoid falling prey to the cyber criminals. Those in the villages, their social life has not been affected much, since farming and other activities are going on as usual. There’s need to continue observing social distancing though.

In urban areas life is different, people are confined in their homesteads day in day out.
Misfortune and fortune are very closely related, where there’s one, the other must be around; it all depends on how you play and pray about it that matters. People affected can utilise this time profitably.

Parents, this is the time to be with our children all the time to mentor them, to discover their hidden talents and advise accordingly and to educate them on different aspects of life.
To learners at different levels, this is an opportunity to read extensively as this is not the end of your education. Join the rest of family members to do house chores and backyard farming among others. Most of the people especially public servants have been lacking time for their home libraries.

Remember, the illiterates of the 21st century are not necessarily those who cannot read and write, but it’s those who cannot learn, re-learn and unlearn…let us read extensively different books to widen our scope of knowledge and understanding.

Its the time to read biographies and autobiographies of great people and get to know how they overcame challenges in their lives. It does no harm to learn new skills and probably a new language, you never know it might be of help sometime. Those with skills in writing, this is the time to write articles, poems, and do some art. This is the time to learn new hobbies, listen to music, tell stories and share proverbs.

What we experience in these times have instilled fear, worry, and panic among the people. The sights of numerous graves and caskets of the COVID-19 victims coupled with updates of infections and deaths have left people devastated. Those who have recovered from the disease are being stigmatised by the society. And those who have lost their beloved ones are psychologically tortured and are living in fear of the possibility of having been infected.

Some have failed to cope and have resorted to suicide. The thought of the aftermath of the pandemic has caused a lot of worries. Donor countries are the worst hit so far and so the economic status of a country like Uganda whose budget is largely supplemented by development partners hangs in balance.

Dale Carnegie in his book -How To Stop Worrying and Start Living, talks of worry related illnesses. These are: nervousness, indigestion, Insomnia, some headaches and some forms of paralysis among others can result from too much worry.

In the same book, people give testimonies of how they conquered worry. I was moved by this particular one who was relieved after listening to the old hymn: “What a friend we have in Jesus”.

Nearly all our worries and unhappiness come from our own imagination and not from reality. Time solves a lot of challenges. It may also solve what you are worrying about today. The secret of being miserable is to have the leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not. Keep active, keep busy. Believers pray a lot in times of crisis–prayers give hope.

Robert H. Schuller also emphasises that God’s delays are not God’s denials. So don’t lose hope when God delays to respond. Let’s continue praying with hope and faith that God saves us of this pandemic as He has done it with the previous ones such as influenza.

In this period, needless to say a lot of attention has been put on this pandemic. There’s need to keep in mind other conditions such as HIV/AIDS, hypertension, diabetes, mental illnesses, cancer and many other ailments that need regular taking of drugs. Those on family planning methods need to continue as per schedule.

Physical fitness is very crucial in maintaining good health. Gyms have been closed but that should not be an excuse for not working out for regular gym goers. Some of what we have been practicing there with our instructors can be done at home. Thanks to our gym director ONZ gym- Kabale (South Western Uganda) who keeps reminding the clients and sends videos on their Whatsapp group. We can also use social media to pass on the message.

Walking is a good exercise as long as we adhere to the Ministry of Health (MOH) guidelines. Skipping the rope at home and engaging in other forms of exercises with family members at home can be fun.

Exercises and good nutrition are key in increasing our immunity.

Physical exercises in particular improves blood circulation, prevents, strengthens muscles and bones, improves balancing and flexibility among other benefits. Already there are deaths from blood clot .Lets give physical exercises the attention they deserve during this period.

Spirituality has been one of the aspects that had not been given much attention. Holy books had steadily gathered dust in book shelves. This is the time to read them as they are the great source of wisdom.

St. Jerome states that “Ignorance of the scripture is ignorance of Christ”. You may not read from the first page to the last as some have large volumes. Random reading can do the trick if you can’t read it all but if you can read the whole of it example the Bible or Quaran the better. Those are great books of wisdom.

Today I randomly and picked Prov.1:13 In the Holy Bible. It says: ” So then you will get what you deserve and your own actions will make you sick”. How relevant it is in this COVID-19 times ! Let’s adhere to the MOH directives, do actions that will prevent the scourge.

Let’s use this time to pray with our families. During prayer time we need to arrange our prayer room and make an Alter to put ourselves in the church congregation mood, light candles. Those who believe in Holy portraits assemble them and join the entire world in prayer till we are allowed to pray from our respective prayer centres again. Faith never fails a person; we fail when we give up on our faith. Robert H. Schuller opines that “a man who is led by the Spirit of God is never lost”. Lets pray with faith and hope.

The directives to combat the scourge have adversely affected the economy and continue do so. Most of daily sources of income are no more, yet expenditure is a must. This calls for a change in spending habits. There is need to economise utilities such as water and electricity to reduce on the bills. Children and domestic assistants need to be aware of this and educated on how to do it.

Priority should be set on items to spend on depending on their essentiality.

Stephen R. Covey in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, habit 3: “Put first things first”, asserts that things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.

Then there are those who are living in plenty, high income earners and those who have made a fortune out of this pandemic in one way or another. It’s time to be charitable. Donate to your starving neighbours. Don’t throw away leftovers, someone out there will have it as a luxury. Let the “haves give the have-nots”. “God loves cheerful givers”, “blessed is the hand that giveth than one that receiveth”–the Bible says.

There is need for making sacrifices in our expenditure for example not spending on luxuries such as expensive wines and clothes as these can be pending till the situation normalises. This is in tandem with the Law of sacrifice by John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of leadership which states that “You have to give up to go up.”

Young children in the family need to be given an explanation in an appropriate way of why there are changes in their daily living.

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” When the roads are rough, the tough rise to the occasion. They win. They survive. They come to the Top!

Prevention is always better than cure, so let’s adhere to the MOH and our President’s directives in prevention and control, by God’s grace we shall win , we shall live.

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The writer is a social worker and an upcoming politician. Kabale District (Woman) MP Aspirant 2021

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