As I write this post, we are in the fourth week of a shelter-in-place directive from our Governor here in California. It’s been an unusual situation for everyone. None of us, including septuagenarians have experienced anything like this before. Just last week, my father-in-law, who was a child during the 2nd World War said something profound about the newness of this situation. He said that back then, they heard news about happenings in the war a week to two weeks after it had already happened but, with this coronavirus, the latest information is on our fingertips 24/7. Another amazing fact is the global scale of this coronavirus. There is not a human being on the planet right now who is not touched by this.
As a Zambian, I have lived through some pandemics in my lifetime, for example, the HIV pandemic hit us really hard in the 1990s. We lost a lot of people. The Ebola virus affected our friends and neighbors to the north, Congo DRC and we lived in fear it would cross the border into Zambia although it did not. I also lived through the 9/11 terror attacks in the USA that brought us together as a country here and as a resident of California, I was deeply affected. But this coronavirus is affecting us all. And that is just incredible.
People have many ways of dealing with difficult times and in no way am I minimizing the devastation this is causing. However, I’d like to say that I have been stunned by the goodness-ness I feel circulating all around me. Lots of people have responded with such kindness and generosity that I hope will carry on after this is over.
I’m right now, staying connected to my disparate community groups through social media. I have the sickle cell disease community, the artists’ community, the fashion and style community, the Zambian community and several others who are providing a support system and an outlet to discharge anxiety, get some humor and forget the bad situation for a while.
My yoga studio is giving discounts and promotions on their virtual classes; my sickle community reached out with resources ready to help financially around nutrition, mental health and medications; my work is providing free groceries for staff members who need them. In addition to this, there have been some awesome happy hours online, phone calls, face-time and texts from long-lost friends and just time to sit back in gratitude. I feel blessed, not just for myself but for my loved ones as well. I’m so glad to see so much goodness from people in my communities and I’m super grateful for it. Stay safe out there, stay healthy and hugs to you!