Even for someone like me who loves to stay indoors, listen to good music, eat, sleep, wake and sleep again, the Covid-19 (Corona-Virus) pandemic has been one hell of an experience for me. When I was growing up, my friends always invited me to birthday parties, picnics, book club meetings and other outings, but most of the time I turned down those offers because, guess what? I always enjoyed my company in my home. The scare of the Covid-19 pandemic started in March 2020 here in Nigeria. I had heard stories of how the virus appeared in China and "travelling" across borders and spreading like wild fire: from China to America; to Europe and to all corners of the world; they didn't see it coming! The world was caught napping! Although I knew that the sickness existed, I didn't pay any mind to it. China seemed very far away to me, and I dare say, to the Nigerian government also. The pandemic 'arrived' Nigeria and in no time dominated the major cities especially Lagos and Abuja. I was in Abuja at the time the pandemic came to the city, but I needed to go and see my family. So I made a trip to another state and then another, planning to spend a few weeks and return to my base but Covid said "No!". It was like a black out, everything was shut down, roads were closed, trips were banned, stores and markets shut down and I was in total shock! I didn't know that a country such as Nigeria that bubbled with activities twenty-four (24) hours in the day could be so disabled. Living with my elder sister was always an experience I looked forward to because of my beautiful niece and nephew, I told myself that I was going to enjoy my stay indoors since I am used to it already and it was with my dearest family. Days turned into weeks and weeks to months and I began to get tired of staying indoors, and having the same routine each and everyday was mentally exhausting. I read novels, wrote essays, participated in online lectures, did home exercises and tried to learn new skills, assuring myself that the stay-at-home order and curfew would soon be lifted, I told the spirit in me fighting to get out of the house that the pandemic would soon be over, but nothing changed. Everyday watching the news, I saw frightening statistics, people confirmed dead in various countries as headlines or "no cure has been found for Covid-19" and other disturbing information. I heard several people also questioning whether the Covid-19 was real or not. While some individuals were contributing billions of naira to help Nigeria combat the pandemic others were making funny videos and skits as to how individuals will survive the Virus, the whole situation got me quite depressed. I had started to think the wildest thoughts, " is this the end of the world?", "will I ever become anything?", "is Covid a death sentence?", "if I took the risk, will I survive it?". I wanted to do something with my life, but Covid was probably standing at the front door. Finally, the ban was lifted on movement and we were free to move about as much as we wanted, but it was as if all hell was let loose. People threw caution out of the window; most people disregarded the safety protocols and the government was helpless. People had to look for their daily bread, Covid or no Covid!
I have moved back to my base. Everything is falling back in place but very slowly, the traffic on the roads is still light, many people have lost their jobs and they are living in fear of death from hunger or from the Virus.
The pandemic has changed the world to what is now called the " new normal", nothing is as it used to be. These days, I utter a prayer every night, a prayer borne out of need and desperation for myself and all those who are finding it difficult to adjust to the change in the world. I pray and long for the world I used to know. Now I can appreciate the little things in life that I used to overlook, like hugging and shaking hands with friends and relatives. Now I see reason to always thank God for every new morning that I wake up, seeing that something as minute as a virus could wreak this much havoc on the world.
Based on a personal experience
Onyemachi Uloma Treasure.