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.

Coming out of lockdown…

Would you believe it has been two months of living in lockdown here?

The country is opening up albeit slowly with partial allowances for movement. Personal vehicles are now allowed on the road, but no more than three people in the vehicle, and the public transport vehicles are yet to get back. Masks to be worn at all times when out. Schools are still closed too.

I took a short drive the other day just around our neighbourhood. Well, lots of people were not wearing masks and there were some motorbike taxis out too. Was I shocked? A bit. I know not all folks can access the masks or stay indoors and also the fact that there is no community transmission that we know of YET, could be why some folks seem to be taking it easy.

A lot of people from other places seem to think the approach taken here is working. Time will tell though. The thing about Corona is nobody can be fully prepared or be able to predict its actuality. To say this virus sucks is an understatement. It is taking lives, halting livelihoods, crushing economies as we watch and the health, social and economic implications will be felt for a long time.

One of my major worries is kids and school. What will happen to the kids? Teachers? other staff? Keeping in mind close physical interaction is a big nope; how will our kids play with each other? What if one kid or a teacher falls sick? What happens then?

How are our kids taking all this in? I was surprised the other day when my seven year old daughter used the word pandemic when playing with her six year old brother. We don’t watch news avidly but they are already catching up with the lingo. When they ask about visiting friends or places its always “after Covid, can we….?” My son keeps asking when Corona will end and if it will ever go away ? They also ask if they will be wearing masks forever ? Sigh, so many questions we don’t have answers to.

My kids have been making masks for their toys too- Sad.

It is not easy to talk to our children about it but we have to. And we have to do it in a way that does not scare them. Having a schedule has been working to keep their mind and bodies busy. Not too rigid but something to give this time at home some semblance of normalcy.

Now to talk to them about the changes; that yes, we can move around a bit but still cannot access some places or have people over. Still can’t give hugs and handshakes, keep masks on when out etc.

What kind of a life is this though?