2020, Kefilwe Mosala saw herself graduating and getting her dream job in one of the country’s elite safari companies. Botswana has some of the world’s celebrated nature marvels and she looked forward to doing her part in marketing the country as the tourism destination of choice. Eyes on the ball, Kefilwe bagged her Diploma in Travel Management (Travel Tourism and Hospitality) but hopes of joining the workforce were slowed down by the rising spread of Covid 19. She says the pandemic swiftly swept over Botswana and before long the country was under lockdown and prohibited movement left the tourism sector with an unimaginable dry spell. “I think our sector was one of the first to experience job cuts, so I knew I stood no chance. The atmosphere was just too unwelcoming for a job seeker,” she recalls.
Accepting her fate, Kefilwe joined the country (and the world) in prayer for the health sector to quickly find a solution. “I don’t think anyone expected the virus to prevail for long. We never expected all these many waves we have since experienced,” she laments. It would seem, she would like everyone else, to stay at home and let the front liners lead the fight against the pandemic. The fragile job market had the young lady applying to any and every possible job opportunity.
Unbeknown to her, she herself would be a front liner, trading her safari coat; possibly work in the Okavango Delta, for a house keeping coat at Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital, the country’s designated national Covid centre. “I never imagined working in a hospital and dealing with patients. I’m trained to make people comfortable wherever they are, but mine was to make them comfortable during vacations not hospital stays,” she remarked.
The hospital quickly became known as a “death zone” due to the alarming deaths, Kefilwe knew she had to develop tough skin and brace herself for the worst of situations. She says the best thing about working in the hospital is working with some of the most resilient people.
“Health professionals are undoubtedly unsung heroes who truly fight for and leave no tables unturned to facilitate healing. Seeing them report for duty during such trying times, put other people’s needs first, and do everything in their power to save lives has been such an inspiration and has challenged me to challenge myself in the toughest of days.”
The experience of the pandemic up close has been scary for Kefilwe. She has witnessed relatives come to collect bodies of their loved ones for burial. She reluctantly accepts her front liner badge and says hers is just a small role of taking care of patients’ dietary needs. She acknowledges that her department does contribute to the comfort, wellbeing and healing of admitted patients, and that working there has been the greatest act of service of her life. Her dream job is still in the tourism sector but for now and until the pandemic is eradicated she is happy to fulfil her front liner duties.