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Life Reflections

Children of the trench, COVID-19 shall not conquer us!

By August 25, 2020June 6th, 2023No Comments

August 21, 2020

These are ugly times. With this novel coronavirus that stalks the world ready to strike anybody anywhere on this good earth, to swallow up or paralyse lives and strangle economies, these are verily harsh times.

And harsh times demand taking them on harshly.

As the police spokesman put it, this virus is “roaming”. We need to be wary of a roaming enemy; it’s like a guerrilla fighter. When today it strikes one part of Kigali, expect it to strike there again but then again, don’t.

It may strike any other part of Kigali or any other part of Rwanda. In short, expect it to strike anywhere, anytime.

But one little thing this virus knows not: today’s Rwandans all, we issued from Mother Guerrilla. We are children of a roaming life that’s totally focused on finding solutions to every single difficulty. Wherever COVID-19 strikes, it may beat us to a second but we’ll be there.

And we have been beating it to the punch; snatching fire out of its attacking, killer tongue.

Born in the trenches, we have never left them. Some citizens may once in a while sneak out, as wayward citizens are wont to, but never at one time has our top leadership’s sharp trench focus wavered.

After the armed guerrilla engagement, our pangs of birth, anyone would have heaved a sigh of relief. Never, said our leadership, the focus is on wholesome betterment.

Complacency, it insisted, is the enemy of wellbeing, of life itself!

VOVID-19 thus found us good and ready for it.

As the year unfurled, we started washing hands and sanitising with clockwork accuracy even before we could pronounce “coronavirus” correctly as propounded by our leadership.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world, especially its advanced part, was floundering in confused denial, dismissing the virus as foreign.

By mid-March when the first VOVID-19 positive case was identified, frequent hand-washing, mask-wearing and social-distancing had become our way of life. It didn’t take long before we went into total lockdown, as the virus revealed its unpredictable, inexorable, roaming nature more clearly.

Even if it meant feeding every single vulnerable family, our leadership and we didn’t hesitate.

That way, positive cases never went beyond single-digit numbers, as the daily tally showed every evening. Cases detected early enough knew they’d be out of treatment in a jiffy.

If there was a case of death, towards the end of May, it was because it came from outside where it hadn’t got the requisite care.

Alas, we began to take everything for granted; we were protected. We forgot strict discipline.

The huge costs involved in the management, prevention and treatment of the virus, the pinch wasn’t on our body. The pain of payment was on government.

So, three months on, the positive-case numbers are crawling upward, with death cases threatening to burst their single-digit number confines and climb beyond 10.

Rwandans, we’ve forgotten that we are born of the trenches and must hold fast to our trench-discipline. Without which, lest we forget, we’d have met our bitter end 26 years ago.

When our government relaxes on lockdown, we must not go haywire and throw our adopted coronavirus conduct to the wind, forgetting the likelihood of a recurrence of the above-mentioned pain. Much as our government does all to protect every single life, we must not take it as a given and expect it to take care of our indiscipline.

Complacency, bred of the feeling that our government is capable of miracles, if it comes to that, is hitting us. The feeling that even if we fall sick, government is in charge. We are starting to ignore government’s burden of its costs and the fact that its revenue sources are all but cut.

Indeed, complacency is proving to be the doom that our leadership warned against, as these ugly times are demonstrating with merciless precision.

Personally, I wish we were a dictatorship, as the West never fails to mock us at every opportunity. Because if we were, I’d propose good whipping, as I’ve seen happen elsewhere!

In my walks for exercise, I’ve seen places where no one gives a hoot about masks any longer. From not wearing any at all to having them hanging around their necks. And, to make matters worse, those hanging around necks looking like they last saw cleanliness with the onslaught of the virus. Social-distancing, what? It has vanished from some people’s lexicon.

Imagine when this happens in market places, consequences of which we are starting to see.

Some of the DASSO (the District Administration Security Support Organ) personnel seem to be as guilty as the citizens they are supposed to oversee. As are local leaders. They’ve relinquished their duty to the national police, as if there is a policeman/woman for every citizen.

Dungeons and holes for drinking binges that have sprung up everywhere, gosh! Restaurants turning into bars, bars self-baptising restaurants; they have also adopted guerrilla tactics.

Their clients are only provided with utensils to knock about so as to sound like busy eateries.

Rwandans, we must dive back to our trench discipline, by at least telling on any offenders.

No, we don’t want a single death more; another COVID-19-positive case; a return to total-lockdown. Not on our lives!

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