These past few weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster. I own and operate a small tour operator that focuses on safaris and expeditions in South, Central and East Africa. Coronavirus reached South Africa at the beginning of the month and the infection rate of the virus acted as the catalyst of a drastic series of events for the country, including a travel ban, follows by a total lockdown as of today. The uniqueness about this situation however, has been the overall reaction in which these measures have been met: acceptance. Acceptance that this must be done to protect those most vulnerable; lives must be saved. Acceptance that it is our duty to help and share the burden.
I have despaired, thought about learning how to crawl along the walls, been laughed at endlessly for not knowing how to color within the lines but I in all this, I have also deeply come to understand that controlling how we feel, especially when we’re about to despair, can benefit us and those around us. Panic will only spread more panic (and apparently a worldwide need to hoard toilet paper). We are a global community and now more than ever, it has become apparent that we are all interconnected in this wide web of global events. If we chose so, we can bring support and solidarity around us during these trying times instead of only panic and fake news.
I have witnessed many cases of people offering to help those who need it in exchange of nothing; I have seen people go out of their way to be there for someone else, perhaps even a stranger. I have seen people around me (and far away from me), help and support others in the small ways they can. This has made all the difference in keeping me sane, in keeping me believing in the goodness of people shining through hardships.
“Doing a transfer tomorrow, if you can contribute to fuel that would be great. Otherwise don’t worry we got you”
“Just sending you love today Ale Cat! (and always) If you need company/sounding board/a rant/anything at all, please know that you can call me! x x”
“I am a teacher, if you need help in explaining how the e-learning platform will work for your kids, please feel free to contact me on…”
“We ran out of powder, our company is using our 3D printers to print face masks for health workers. Our new batch of powder will arrive only on Friday, if you have any to spare, contact us”
“We joined an initiative to create a bot to help via whatsapp people that might be affected by the virus. That way everyone has access to the correct information and procedure”
….the list goes on.
I find it has been the little random acts of good that has had the most impact. In this modern world we have families and friends scattered across lands, and we are all relying on strangers to do the right thing, to keep us going when it has become a bit more difficult.
It’s not the time for parties, gatherings, meetings and ignoring sound advice. It’s the time to face this together and understand now that what you chose to do today can and will, impact
a life many lives.
My brothers live in northern Italy where the virus has brought a colossal death toll and were hospital beds are short. Even though they are about to go crazy because they’ve been locked down at home for 3 weeks, they are rising to the task and doing their part and helping those in their community. Not a day goes by where don’t worry about them in the midst of this crisis.
My grandparents are older, and I would hate for them to get infected because of someone not seeing the value in their lives and claim that “Darwin” had a point.
I’ve had an immunosuppressed niece. Her well-being and life which is so dearly precious to me and everyone around her, is dependent on the society in which she lives.
If the virus hasn’t hit close to home, it might. A stranger down the road is someone dear to someone else. We are all relying on the kindness of strangers for the lives that matter to us. If you can, rise to the occasion and be kind to a stranger. Stay in, don’t spread panic, control how you feel, support those in need.
This might just be the biggest test to our humanity.