The New Normal

May 4, 2020

The ‘Ministry of Coronavirus’ is the new term that several Kenyans have labelled the Ministry of Health because of the daily updates on COVID-19.  This is an indication of how Coronavirus has been headlining the news outlets locally.  The number of positive cases, deaths and recoveries has become our cup of tea.

The hornbill’s problem is truly everyone’s problem.  Majority if asked, would not have imagined this zoonotic disease that broke out in a live animal market in Wuhan, China being a global issue.  A disease whose first case was recorded on 31st December 2019 in Wuhan, China and later confirmed on 12th January 2020 by WHO (World Health Organization).  While everything was business as usual here in Kenya, we were hit with the news of the first case on Friday the 13th March 2020 (superstitious fellows would term this as unlucky) and since then life has changed.

At each phase of this disease that has been growing exponentially, new preventive and control measures have been implemented. These measures have negatively affected us emotionally, physically, financially, socially, and mentally.  Closure of schools, churches, entertainment joints, and businesses that rely on the importation of raw materials.  This has resulted in unpaid leave and job loss which has dwindled the household economy as well as the country. The reduction of family members at funerals and weddings which is unheard of in our African culture has now become the norm. Besides that, the 5 am-7 pm curfew has resulted in increased gender-based violence and sexual assault cases.

Every dark cloud has a silver lining and so does this one.  Working from home as well as the curfew has presented some with time to reconnect with their families as well as talent development.  The Kenyan compassionate spirit has been felt as organizations have contributed towards helping those desperately in need.  Additionally, advocacy on handwashing and sanitization has brought a great improvement in personal hygiene.

As we strictly adhere to the new measures in place that are our new normal, we choose to be hopeful.  Hopeful that tomorrow the sun will rise bringing forth good news.  News that our children will go back to school and mingle with other kids, that businesses will re-open and the economy will pick up, we will breathe in the fresh air with no mask and social events will go back to how we knew them.

All in all, what this season has taught us is to be grateful for the minutest of things and that seasons do not last.  For now, let us embrace the new normal as we hope for better and brighter days ahead.