We have another entry 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 more stories!

Written by Nelson Uyirwoth, UGANDA

Life in a Covid-19 world

It’s Friday 20th march 2020, time check 12:00 am. My family and I are glued to the TV eagerly waiting on the Ministry of health’s national address. We are all anxious and hoping for the best from the address. Unfortunately, the Minister, Dr. Ruth Acheng broke the bad news to us that the country has registered its first COVID 19 case. Suddenly, silence ensued our worst fears had come to our motherland and our clean sheet lost.  I had just traveled back from Nairobi, Kenya, and was still monitoring my health for any possible exposure to the dreaded coronavirus via the airport. Then, boom I switched into panic mode even though  I had not experienced any symptoms. Life was no longer going to be the same since we were asked to adopt the stay-home policy to flatten the curve.

Staying home was no problem for me as I was eager to have all the sleep I had longed for and enough time with my family. This also came along with other benefits such as no more squander expenditure on transport, night outs and the lavish restaurant meals. But, alas, it also came along with getting used to taking breakfast and lunch late, getting used to life without free Wi-Fi, doing some of the house chores, and working from home.

Talking of working from home, this is quite hard yet underestimated. My employer instructed us to start doing all operations from home with immediate effect. Lucky for us we had a business continuity plan in place which has guided us on what critical business functions need extra attention during this period. Because of COVID 19, I  no longer enjoy the cool workplace lunch and the aura of being in a work environment. My life is now stuck into weekly zoom meetings and weekly activity reports. Let’s all face it, human productivity at home is quite minimal compared to the office space and managers are now facing it hard to keep their teams motivated. The uncertainty is high and the news reports on multiplying cases just add salt to the wound. My personal advice is, do not consume multiple news reports in intervals but however watch the major bulletins at least twice a day to tame the anxiety.

Two weeks into the lockdown, sleep is no longer a dream, each day looks like a weekend. My phone is my close pal always keeping me engaged and glued to my social media platforms. The side effects of the lockdown are starting to unravel   Laziness has seized me yet I have quite a workload on my computer and various books I had prepared to read during this period. My small clothing business is no longer operational and my salary is threatened by a pay cut.

I really need all the motivation I can get during this period to keep me going  So I opt to watch various motivational videos on YouTube by Goalcast. These greatly opened my thinking and vision beyond the uncertainty that had consumed me. I have a personal vision book where I write all my plans for the New Year and the future. I often look at it and tick off whatever accomplishment I make in life.  Well, the current pandemic was unexpected but it is not going to deviate me from the big picture. I have drafted a personal daily work schedule that guides me through the lockdown.  One of the major adjustments I have made is never to wake up late anymore since most of my days were unproductive due to the vice.  Ashna Kaur Mehta once said “When you wake up late the day goes to waste so why not get up quickly and see the progress so swiftly.” I have embraced the new way of life and I hope to overcome it.

The pandemic and the lockdown is a great time to reflect on our lives, what careers we are pursuing as young people? Will you be an essential part of society in the future? Are you saving and investing in essential sectors that can withstand future global threats? Remember, time is the major asset that each one of us has and how we spend it will determine our course of life.

Stay safe, wash your hands and pray.

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