We’re excited to host young guest bloggers on the Young People Today site for the “Lockdown Diaries” blog series! The world has been hard hit by the Corona virus (COVID 19) in an unprecedented way so there is no better time to launch these guest bloggers to get an in-depth look at how young people from various corners of the East and Southern African region are handling quarantine, self isolation, social distancing and other preventative measures. You will follow their experiences through their eyes as young people – their thoughts, feelings, highs and lows, and reflections.

Stay tuned for their stories!

Written by Kariuki Mbuthia NAKURU, KENYA

Life has taken rather an unusual turn by the expectations of most people world over since the invasion of this formidable enemy that has rubbished most of the security global security measures. An enemy that is no respecter of national boundaries, international waters nor airspaces.It has ravaged through the globe and gluttonously claimed life indiscriminately and now normal is what we are craving for. But we can say that this has not completely taken us by surprise especially for the lovers of fiction movies like myself. I have watched quite a number of movies with apocalyptic themes. Top on my list is The last ship – a series that almost  depicts our current situation ,where the world ills from a pandemic that kills more than half the world’s population and the remnant remain in conflict between those who survived the disease due to natural immunity and those that never contracted the disease for they never got exposed. This clearly shows film makers had seen such a thing coming. It has also been said that the only revolution that was yet to happen was a biological revolution and here we are.

Talking of craving for the normal may seem like an understatement actually considering what it means. We all agree that we want to go back to our lives, to our routine. Having a well laid out plan for the whole day, whole week and consequently the whole year. The uncertainty that has befallen humanity is just too much a change. Ghost towns is the new normal that we have refused to come to terms with. The villages are no better!

In most African countries the villages are home to the elderly who can’t stomach the hustle and bustle of the urban settings and Kenya is no different. Just like many other students around the world I can’t be at school due to the obvious reasons –physical distancing which so far remains among the few weapons in our arsenal that are working against COVID-19. Furthermore schools must be available for the makeshift hospitals in case the worst comes to the worst and hospitals are overrun. Now I am in the village. In the first few days all I did all day long was following up the news in both local and international media .It was doing more harm than good! Within the first week of staying at home I had done some panic shopping because it seemed like lockdown was imminent  ironically it’s been more than a month now, all I had bought is spent and yet we haven’t gotten to that point. You see, that is what over consuming news can do! Making rush decisions and adding to the mental torture that most of us are already going through. Myself I have resulted to watching the prime time news only and keeping myself busy throughout the day. The onset of the long rains comes with a whole bee hive of activities in my place for it means the planting season. The past two weeks have been extremely busy for my mother, brother and I. We now have to do all the work by ourselves because farm hands are not very available. Most of them are not willing to move around working for the fear of contracting this virus.

It goes without saying that mistrust is all over especially in the villages where the old folk dwell. It is in the public domain that the virus is harsh to the elderly and they have all the reasons to be afraid considering what is happening in Europe with the aging population. To me this a blessing in disguise for it would be extremely difficult to deny my neighbours work and it would be even more difficult to exercise social distancing with workers around. With all this work I can now put my mind to rest and my muscles to work.

Yeah that is how it works here, with manual work the brain does so little! I don’t realize the passing of time either and without realizing it evening comes I eat, feed my dogs, watch some news that I seldom follow to the end before drifting off to slumber.

I never thought I would be able to appreciate this kind of life but you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only option you have, furthermore every cloud has a silver lining and it is not very wise to punish myself over things I have no control over. I have always wanted to plant trees in the farm and around the compound I realized this might just be the right time. With the rains here with us in plenty and lots of time to myself .I have just finished planting over a hundred trees .A hundred and five to be exact and another lot of a hundred and ten are waiting for more land to be prepared.

I have also had something for apiculture (Bee farming) for quite some time but I have been preoccupied and distracted by lots of other activities. I now have a single bee hive .I guess this project among other activities around here will keep me sane until the end of this pandemic. It is import for all the young people around the globe to use this time to execute those ideas they have been shelfing each other time for lack of time and avoid too much news. We should just do as we are instructed and all will be well. For some it might feel like house arrest but for others they see it as ample time to release pressure. Let us try be the latter. It is also very important to note that our mental health will be put to test during this trying time and if we do not be careful enough we might breakdown. “We might be apart but not alone” I know it’s almost a cliché now but doesn’t make it any less true. I believe this is the time to fortify oneself with tones of positive vibes. We have social media, let’s use it to remain connected share our greatest worries and hopes and we shall surely sail through and tell the story together post CORONA.

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