It was a Tuesday afternoon when the manager at the student residence ordered me to isolate for two weeks quarantine after my friend had tested positive for Covid19. For the first time in my life I was scared and unashamed about the tears running down my face. I felt my mortality staring back at me, the possibility of death sweeping in with the final blow.
Little did we know the invisible enemy lurked nearby until one of us caught the flu
I had been carrying on as though life was normal, visiting shops, gyms and restaurants without a face mask. I believed the virus was a distant occurrence to warrant such stringent precautions even as information on social media platforms warned of dire consequences. For me and my friends, we believed our youth and strength would protect us. We continued playing football, eating together and physically meeting one another with no regard for social distancing. Little did we know the invisible enemy lurked nearby until one of us caught the flu, or so we thought, until the clinic confirmed he was positive for Covid19.
Realising the gravity of the pandemic, with tens of thousands dying daily, I was scared and regretted my foolishness.
The residence manager was informed and my friends and I were all quarantined. Suddenly alone in my room, I began questioning the misconceptions I had about coronavirus and took the time to read news about the pandemic, which made the scales fall from my eyes. Realising the gravity of the pandemic, with tens of thousands dying daily, I was scared and regretted my foolishness. With my newfound wisdom, I took to social media to encourage users, particularly those I recently met, to maintain social distancing and obey health protocols. “The reward of doing it right is the lack of regret,” I reminded myself, while urging others to do the right thing.
Thanks to quarantine, I have become a proactive voice in the fight against the pandemic
After two weeks of no symptoms, I was allowed to mix with the general student population. I also got around to informing my parents three months after the incident as I did not want them to worry.
Upon returning from South Africa to my remote village in Lesotho, Maphut’saneng Mohale’s hoek, I began an educational campaign on covid. Enlightenment is a challenge in this area as many still regard covid as a myth and are reluctant to adopt preventive health measures. But I believe I am making some headway with residents as some have begun wearing face masks and limiting gatherings. Also, I met with the village chief, who convened a meeting with villagers, urging them to follow the government-mandated health protocols and enforced a limit to the number of people at cultural events, like the initiation of school boys. At first, villagers reluctantly adopted the practices, but as more news of increasing covid cases spread, they had a change of heart. With their support, I raised money through community contributions to buy face masks for herders deep in the mountains, who otherwise would not have to access them.
It is undeniable that covid has upended life as we know it. But collectively, we have power to change the course of the pandemic by adjusting attitudes and suppressing fleeting, personal desires for the sake of the community’s well being. Thanks to quarantine, I have become a proactive voice in the fight against the pandemic and confident my campaign will help flatten the curve in my little corner of the world.