Adaptation.

Adaptation is essential to our existence as living things, and not only physiologically or physically but behaviourally too. The COVID- 19 pandemic has really uprooted us from our normal way of life. No warning, nothing to fall back on; we are having to adapt to this situation as it progresses.

Lives are being lost, health systems compromised, sources of income and economies have been affected negatively, education stalled and many other services disrupted too. How then do we adapt to this?

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We’ve been told: Wash hands, wear masks, sanitise, limit social interactions, enforce social distancing, all these are important but the disease is still spreading. With no vaccine and cure in sight for now; is this the new way to live for us?

Coronavirus has led to many working from home; how effective is this in the long term? How feasible is it to still meet targets as you run your household or rather your household runs around you? What about working hours? Is it still regular 8-5 when working from home? Already people are complaining about too many webinars and zoom meetings now that we can’t confer face to face. A new kind of fatigue is emerging.

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Food supply has been affected, there was a video of Idaho potatoes going to waste in mid west America some months ago. All that food rotting due to the break in supply chains. Borders are closed in some countries but even when open to cargo, there are long lines and delays due to testing of the drivers taking place at the borders. Imagine the trickle down effect of how long its taking some landlocked countries to get fuel, food, medicine and other supplies that get to them by road.

People are wary of going to the hospital for perceived ‘minor’ ailments and hospital staff are stretched to cope with the demand of Covid positive patients needing intensive care. Hospital workers are at risk and getting infected, even losing their lives as they care for coronavirus patients. The PPEs are either not enough or have disappeared mysteriously (read stolen) but you will see guys fleeing the country in full PPE gear; where did they get it from? I will not even mention the country this happened; we all know it.

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The pandemic has truly exposed once again the vast gap between the poor and the rich. Even though Covid- 19 is no respecter of economic class, some rich people have already built and installed ICU units in their homes; just in case they fall sick, no need to go to hospital as flying out for treatment is no longer an option. It’s ok to roll your eyes at this, I did too.

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Not all children have the luxury of attending school virtually aka Zoom classes. For the kids in public schools, it seems the year is going to be a lost one. There seems no indication of public schools opening too because how will they work around controlling the spread of Coronavirus among students and staff? How do you enforce social distance and wearing masks in those in lower grades for whom play is a language? How long do you think a pre schooler can keep a mask on before it becomes a plaything? And let’s not even get started on enforcing the washing hands/ sanitising rule in kids in Early Years who play and poke and touch and lick whatever is in sight.

We already know we need to adapt. The challenge is HOW?

On top of this, we still have other challenges to grapple with. Increased sexual violence, increased rates of domestic violence and underage pregnancies, increasing rates of insecurity. Globally, the Beirut Blast has brought an already crippled economy to its knees. The Black Lives Matter movement in the US, and some parts of the world is enlightening a lot of us to the ills in the perceived land of the free. In some African countries, talking (not even criticising, talking) about the government’s handling of the pandemic will earn you some nights in the cells. Yemen is on its deathbed as the world watches, the Uyghur Muslims are being exterminated for lack of a better word as we watch. So much is happening around watching news is so triggering!

What is the way forward for the world?

We are a resilient race however. And we should not forget that. One of the immense strengths humans have is the ability to adapt to circumstances as they arise. In the face of all these challenges, a lot more is happening. There are many efforts to seek a cure and vaccine for Coronavirus. Also many inventions coming up that are making life easier and more manageable. As parents we have become teachers for our kids which has brought us closer to them. Our schools and teachers have also had to adapt and come up with new ways of imparting knowledge to our children. The increased time at home with loved ones has immense psychological benefits for the young ones. Have fun with them, drawing family trees, cloudspotting, walks and games with them are more relaxed now and create unforgettable memories with them.

The internet is become more accessible to many, which heralds another information age. Though we still have a long way to go to connect the world. This may also be the biggest space exploration year yet, with the number of space missions happening this year.

Are these trying times? Yes. Is it all gloom and darkness though? I Don’t think so. I still and will always believe in our nature to adapt and emerge stronger in adversity. No matter how dire it gets, We will survive this. We just need to know HOW to adapt.

PS: This was inspired by an article a friend shared this morning, read and get inspired too as we learn how to adapt.

Quick Grocery Shopping Tips.

Has the way you shop changed in recent times? While some have moved to ordering online or via phone for groceries and having them delivered. For many others, you still have to go out to shop. So, how do we plan around it? How do we keep safe?

Have you noticed your food budget going up? We are all home right now, so we are eating more; you just can’t skip lunch with the kids home. We have to be keen on our shopping lists too to save more as we do not know what the future holds.

Most supermarkets here have sanitizers at the entrance and you cannot get in the store without a mask, which is commendable in reducing the spread of Coronavirus, and the shelves are still well stocked despite slowdown in supply delivery. So what more can we do to keep safe as we shop?

Obviously, make your list in advance. You want to spend as less time as possible in the store. It works even better if you meal plan ahead so you know exactly what to get for the next two weeks or so. Have your budget and try as much as you can to stick to it. Remember we have to save at this time too.

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For fresh produce, plan your meals and shop for what is in season in terms of fruits and vegetables. It is cheaper and you get great value too. Also check for what is on offer and discounts offered. If those ‘buy 3 for 1’ cereals are on offer, buy but check the expiry date too. Only pick what you are sure you will be done with before it gets spoilt in your cupboards.

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If you have to go out, shop in a familiar supermarket. Why? You already know the layout so you will be able to pick things faster. Remember the less time you spend there the better. Also shop in less busier times, either early morning or mid afternoon, there will be less people in the store; so easier to maintain social distance and physical interaction. Remember to keep 6 feet away when queuing too and do not remove your mask at any one time when in there. Also avoid touching what you’re not picking. Except the eggs. My motto when buying eggs is always ‘lift and check’ not just for spoilt or cracked ones, but in case you come across such unpleasant surprises:-

Yes, these are egg trays in one of the supermarkets here with some missing eggs. Lift and check people, lift and check!

Before you stock up on the snacks, check on what you can make at home. There is no point in buying popcorn when you can make it yourself. Crisps, bake them instead for the kids. It wouldn’t hurt to practice heathier snacking habits at this time. So kids craving something sweet, apple slices spread with peanut butter will sort that. Salty craving, sweet potato crisps and plantain chips and homemade popcorn will sort that. Let’s get creative guys!

I know some have tried gardening during this time, which is pretty cool if you have the space. You not only save some money but you are sure of your food source; not worrying bout pesticides and handling. Try planting spring onions, herbs, tomatoes, greens that don’t need a lot of space. So maybe those ‘blossom’ and ‘5 minute gardening hacks’ videos on how to grow from your vegetable waste are onto something after all. It doesn’t hurt to try.

Bulk shopping if you can is the way to go. No, I do not mean picking all the toilet paper rolls, yeast and bleach in the supermarket. Just don’t. Please. Don’t. Pick what you need.

You can stock up on tomato paste, canned tuna, baked beans, long life milk, you know, dry foods that will help you rustle up something in a flash. And of course soap and the usual stuff we buy. Also ask yourself what you really need, canned soups or broths are not hard to make when you have the time, and you can control the salt you put in. Healthy choices people, healthy choices.

By stocking up, you limit going out a lot. Remember limited contact and movement is key in defeating the spread of this deadly virus. If possible have only one person go out instead of going out with the kids to the store.

If you have nobody to leave the kids with, or can’t have deliveries brought to you. You can liaise with your groceries guy to have your stuff ready and all you can do is pick from him or her. You do not have to leave the car. Much safer then entering the store with your little one, right?

Let us do our best to keep ourselves and others safe. Wear a mask properly when out, limit going out, maintain social distance, wash hands, sanitise, keep safe. All this virus needs is one person to be the spark and it spreads like a bushfire.

How have your grocery shopping habits changed in this pandemic?