Watching the rest of the world shut down on WhatsApp videos as a result of the coronavirus scourge; reminded me of the several post-apocalyptic movies I have watched in the past.
Those were horror stories but they have, today, become our living reality. But that reality hasn’t fully hit home; not for us in Africa, especially for us in Nigeria.
We still have crowded markets where we pick up items/food; fruits that many of us will consume without washing. We still jostle to get into public transports to go see one family or another. Some even defied government ban and went to church and many still go to their local mosques for prayers.
Slowly, it is hitting home. It all began to sink in when the Federal Government ordered schools to shut down. Once schools shut, I began to read panic stricken messages from friends and family; who still have kids in primary and secondary schools, all complaining about the deluge of homework, projects and long curriculums; sent by their wards’ schools to cover for the next few weeks; since we all don’t know how long we will live quarantined.
I overheard my friend also complaining about the number of homework emails he had received from his children schools. “4 emails in one hour, haba, this is too much. I don’t even understand what they want the children to do with the questions they sent; and the emails keep coming from different teachers…”
I understood his rant, considering he has three kids at various levels, primary, secondary and A-levels.
He decided to send the principal a video of a Moroccan mum ranting. In the video, a Moroccan mum, goes off complaining madly about the number of homework she has to supervise for her four children. She ranted about the different subjects she has to assist her kids with; math, music… Asking no one in particular; she wondered how the teachers expected her to know answers to questions her kids were expected to solve.
She complained about her inability to read music, solve Quantitative Analysis…Essentially, she was voicing what many parents worldwide are having to struggle with right now; help their kids with the mountain of homework the school is sending over this period of quarantine.
I sympathized with my friend, the Moroccan mum and parents worldwide. But while I made the necessary noises, I thanked God I wasn’t faced with such a ‘problem’ right now. What I have to worry about is remind my daughter not to eat us out; before the end of the quarantine period.
Yes, we have stocked up. Yes, we just may have enough to tide us for the next two weeks. But what if, just what if we finish all we have in less than two weeks? How do we replenish? What if we cannot even replenish after two weeks?
What if there is a sudden shortage of food because, of course; the supply chain has been upended and demand has gone right through the roof!
Are we even going to be worrying about food alone?
What if our aged or kids need urgent medical attention? Would they get the quick attention required in our hospitals?
Would doctors and nurses be available to treat them; seeing as everyone is running away from getting infected with coronavirus?
This isn’t America or the UK where you expect everything to function as they should; especially with government support.
This is Nigeria, where the unusual is normal.
Weddings, churches, mosques, schools, offices are all shutting down or already shut down. This is becoming scary; previous shut-downs were during election periods and that Occupy Nigeria period where, after just four days of shut-down; we were too hungry to sit at home. So, we flooded the streets looking for food.
In looking for food, hell was let loose. There was a lot of looting, robbery, rape, chaos. Then the security of lives and properties became the issue. It was as if we were in war times.
But what will happen to a people who, even when in peace times; are constantly raided, terrorized and kidnapped at will?
Thankfully, I only have to wonder. I hope I never have to live through this though. If we run out of food and essential supplies, our priority should also be for our safety. Not against coronavirus but something more deadly and instant; a fellow human being who thinks he must take what you have.