The Year From Hell:II
By Priscilla Kona
His booming voice is now a whimper. ”Is Covid 19 sexually transmitted ?” he whines , face mask in hand. My answer is simple but broad, calculated to protect, warn, advice, soothe….
”That depends on the number of partners.” I lie.
What would Jesus have said?
But every time he leaves the house I cringe. Has he gone ‘fishing’ again? Will he bring back a poisoned chalice? The ax clearly hangs on the romance scene now muddled. Many are the teenagers now trapped in an unfamiliar world ; they had never seen such a situation before. But against public howls of objection over gatherings they plan their escapades, until the quarantine monster shocks them into realization
Mercifully, the stay at home order has called many families to order. How’s that possible? You ask. The child smiles; his parents are more available than ever. The wife smiles, at the lockdown ; her husband’s attention has moved to her zip code. Colors of familial hope? Only time will tell
Like our weekend shopping escapades and Sunday worship, the weekly family recreation trips are no more . In their stead is a new plague called uncontrolled screen time . We have also had to chart our own spiritual course ever since the churches closed; prayer and fasting at every turn. We are all now matching to the city of God, no?
Family weddings had become million dollar in stature. And so had the funerals. Here, all ate, drunk and danced themselves lame! School enrollment had improved and so high had the bar of human intellectual ability been raised, that in March 2018, it was possible to send a robot to Mars, eleven million kilometres away.
At the advent of the pandemic , many marriages were already on free fall, the divorce statistics mind-boggling. Many were already giving marriage a wide berth with only a paltry 10% happily married. Teenagers reveled in social media independence, chatting with abandon, drinking and dating. In government circles, impunity and technological advancement ran side by side.
In this part of the planet, churches were as many as were their doctrines, and confusion reigned among the spoilt- for- choice flock. And just as it was becoming possible for medics to clone a man, came the outrageous virus.
But back to the lockdown nest.
Food and clothes vendors knock at our gate in turns, but we leave nothing to chance; our purchase responses are as coordinated as their isolationist approach. Haven’t the prices of lemon and hand sanitizer have risen sevenfold!
Separated by social distancing, my feminine neighbors and I now greet each other over the fence. Many are brave-faced, having lost jobs and livelihoods. Some are married but it is a mountain to climb; gender-based violence statistics are telling.
And so at midnight, as many of them fight it out in the marital trenches, I ponder their plight. Are the reproductive age mothers still comfortable in their skins, what with the new normal; breastfeeding with masks, to curb spread of the pandemic? With limited access to family planning services long disrupted, will they now contend with unintended pregnancies? Which way, now for the care givers? Will the pandemic eventually turn many into monkeys?
Men also wear long faces, their fears rising with worrying frequency. Many are indisposed by job loss and consequent familial unrest. They are also trapped in an unfamiliar world. The ban on gathering has placed them squarely on social and marital tenterhooks.
For Joseph, the pandemic sounded the death knell on his troubled marriage. The three-month long city lockdown has eventually split his family down the middle and the future of his children, like many others, is in limbo.
In a spin of six months the wheels of destiny are spinning; the world is on the cusp of change , sitting precariously on the threshold of a depression. It is a moment of reckoning; the Covid19 pandemic is unprecedented in enormity and pervasiveness.This calls for a coordinated global response to save mankind, and effective parental and political leadership. Parents must remain strong in the shifting world and offer mentorship and support to their families . For governments a radical, paradigm shift and method is indispensable.
With separation, divorce , joblessness , disease and death now woven into the social fabric, will a vaccine spawn a societal rebirth?
Heaven will decide.