When the term Corona first greeted Man, we scoffed at the name. In fact, memes were made and posted on social media. No one really took caution of this deadly virus. Now, I definitely believe that this disease will change our lives forever. It is sure to leave a scar. Before Corona reached to the point where people were actually emptying supermarkets in order to stock food in their homes because of the fear of catching the virus, we had Ebola and no one really took that seriously either.
Now we walk around with masks on our faces. Those without mask dress up like Muslims tying cloth to their faces.
I first heard of Corona virus sometime around the end of January 2020. All I heard was that, there was this deadly virus in China that had started as a result of some people eating bats. They said some people were dying from it and the Chinese government was trying to isolate those infected. It all sounded so far-fetched and foreign. With China, so far away from Cameroon or Africa in general, I did not think we had to be concerned. In February, I left for school in Rwanda and I remember that at the airport in Kigali, the staff had masks on and handed hand sanitizers to the travelers which made me worry a little but since no other persons but the airport staff wore the masks, it still did not look bad.
While in school, news of the continuous spread of the virus was posted regularly on the school bulletin board, teachers warned us about it, everyday there was some kind of story pinned to the peach colored walls of the school keeping students updated about what was going on because it is very important to know what was going on with the rest of the world.
It was a boring old Sunday, same as every other and I was definitely dreading waking up that morning. So, when the warmth of a new day greeted me I was not very pleased. The idea of getting off my bed did not please my mind because despite the 4 weeks of being at this school, I was still a stranger to the cold but fresh air that covered Kigali in the mornings. I tried to tune off the sound of the matron telling us all to get up but she must have been holding up some kind of microphone or something because it was way too loud for something as typical as a Sunday morning. I guess I didn’t quite get the last part of the wakeup call because all the girls in the dorm started screaming at once. I couldn’t make sense of what they were saying. Then I heard it. “THE MATRON SAID WE’RE GOING HOME BECAUSE OF THE VIRUS”. I could not believe it. This is the second time this kind of thing has happened to me. Of all the boarding schools I’ve been to, there’s always been a situation or something that makes me have to leave the school long before time.
At my first boarding school experience, right at the beginning of the year it was announced that all students were to leave the school one month before the actual dismissal date because of a political strike. Now here I am in my next boarding school adventure and we have corona lurking around. Life is crazy. The whole dorm went mad. People jumped, rejoiced and celebrated. Heck people were singing and praising Jesus, thanking him for the miracle. We were going home two weeks before the Easter break. Now, I have no idea what made me do it but I too jumped down from my bed and joined in the screaming. Then it hit me like a tornado. I live all the way in Cameroon, half of the world has their flights booked already and my parents haven’t even checked their emails yet, so…………. I mean there is no possible way I’m going home today and as usual I was right. When I called my parents from the boarding master’s office, they told me, I was to spend another long day in the school. While everyone else left for our indefinite break, I was one of the few kids that had to stay back.
At first, the whole school still surrounded me, then about seventeen kids remained, and by evening, only five of us were left in the vast school estate. Already packed, we trotted the infinite hallways and massive dorms and trimmed lawns for hours that felt like days, with not much to do but wait for tomorrow.
We were all terrified to spend the night all by ourselves in the large now empty dorms. I mean, usually we have over 100 girls in the dorms with about 8 girls in each dorm room. You could hear animal noises of every kind in there, the hallway lights blinked several times just like in a horror movie. The icy cold wind swept the dimmed hallways back and forth, in and out of windows. I thought it couldn’t get any worse until one of my friends wanted to tell us all a horror story and I took my beddings and left for the nurse’s office. The others were right behind me.
Of course, my brother was already in the nurse’s office. He was the only boy left in school and would not want to sleep in the boy’s dorm by himself. There were enough beds for all five of us. My brother slept in the room adjacent to us. I took a nice bath before drawing my blanket over me and closing my eyes to the world. The cold air hugged me tight and helped me dream of things I could not even remember the next day. People used to ask me how is Rwanda, well I hope I just answered your question.
Morning came and we all got up to say goodbye to beautiful Kigali and I could not be happier. I longed to see my family again. We woke up at 3:00 am and left the school at about 6:00am. As we drove to the airport, I looked out the window of the tight black Toyota looking forward to all I had to do that day. I mean all kids who have ever attended boarding school would understand how it feels when you leave the school gates for the first time after several weeks of being in school. It’s like having Wi-Fi, after months of scrolling through your phone with no Wi-Fi. I felt like I had been disconnected from the world and they just put the plug back on. The endless yards of green grass and tall trees leading to the school fence was all I saw whenever I tried to look outside the school.
. On arrival at the airport, I took out my pink cotton, long sleeve turtleneck sweater and tied it to my face with the intention of keeping my nose and mouth hidden. The airport staff stopped us where we stood and gave us a little interview about the pandemic virus. We were told to take hand sanitizer and move into the Kigali international airport. It took a while before we got on the plane and during that time, I could not breathe under that pink sweater which cooked me like a baked potato. So, I took it off sometimes for a little relief and put it back anytime someone came close. If someone so much as coughed, I would start bathing my hands in sanitizers…. just in case. People secured their faces with white plastic masks and it was like the airport had become a hospital.
It felt good to travel without parents or any adult hovering over us but odd too because it was my first time.
When we finally arrived Cameroon, I was really happy to be back. I kind of missed home. We couldn’t wait to go pick up my 7yr old sister from school. I had missed her so much. She was ecstatic, I mean she cried.
The first few days in Cameroon were kind of fun, until the Corona virus pandemic got real in Cameroon too. Right after we arrived, the government announced a lockdown of flights, schools, meetings etc. We have been stuck at home ever since like the rest of the world. We don’t know when things will get back to normal, if they will get back to normal. With nowhere to go but stay home, study, eat, indoor games, watch TV and write this story, I am trying to get rid of 20% of the boredom.
All in all, what we know so far is, this virus originated from China and later spread all over the world due to people travelling. Corona virus also known as Covid-19 is an illness that started making people sick at the end of the year 2019.The virus spreads easily and has affected so many people all over the world. Symptoms are fever, cough, trouble breathing and sore throat. The virus is more serious in older people and people with other health complications. It can also lead to pneumonia.
One can get infected with corona virus from others who have the virus. If an infected person sneezes or coughs, they may send tiny droplets into the air. These droplets can land in the nose, mouth or eyes of a person nearby or they can breathe in the droplets.
One can also get infected if they touch an infected droplet on a surface and then touch their own nose, mouth or eyes.
People who are infected with Covid-19 can get treatment in the hospital.
How can we prevent Corona Virus?
- STAY HOME
- Avoid other people and busy places
- If you must go out, wear a face mask and gloves
- Stay 2meters away from other people
- Wash your hands regularly
- Try not to touch your face
- Disinfect surfaces and objects that people touch a lot.
- STAY SAFE