Could this be the End of the World?
“Life before covid 19, Life during covid 19 and Life post-covid 19”
KABIBI Ingabire Kenny
As they say, “live life day by day because no one knows what will come tomorrow”, the wise would have listened to this before the outbreak of the pandemic of covid 19. On 14th March 2020 is when the ministry of health in my country Rwanda reported the first covid 19 cases from an Indian male citizen.
As an African, I was somehow believing the speculations that African can not catch the so-called “white virus” because of the number of people who were being infected by this virus and fast in Western countries. So little did I know that it was the silence before the storm, before the life we used to take for granted turned into a wish. As an extroverted person who especially likes to depend on other people’s energy and presence to function, it was hard for me to cope with the fast and serious restrictions the government of my country immediately put.
Many of us know that Rwanda is a landlocked country but we mostly ignore that the country’s biggest survival is based on foreign direct investment and many products are imported into the country. With the small number of people in the country and high illiteracy level especially in rural areas as well as our culture of greeting people through hugs and kisses, the chances were that most of the country would be infected easily and in a very short time.
As much as it was overwhelming around the World, Rwandans did not look like they were too scared of the virus, the government of Rwanda had planned to reopen almost everything after the first lockdown and that expectation was in September 2020. Nonetheless, many also thought the World was coming to an end!
Life Before Covid 19
As a growing economy, Rwanda has invested a lot of money in different sectors both the public sector and the private sector like education, health care, infrastructure, businesses, and many more.
In the education sector, Rwanda was increasing the number of schools and classes because the number of students was increasing compared to the number of classes available. As The ministry of education released “The Rwandan Ministry of Education is to construct 22,505 new classrooms nationwide to reduce overcrowding at primary and secondary schools. Funded by the government and the World Bank at the cost of 218 billion Rwandan francs (228 million U.S. dollars), the construction is expected to be completed in September”(Rwanda to launch mass classroom construction to reduce overcrowding – Xinhua | English.news.cn, 2021). A lot of effort was put into uplifting the TVET curriculum and BDF was ready to fund students from this program with brilliant ideas to start up their own businesses.
Also, one of the central sectors like the business sector was highly impacted, CHOGM that was supposed to take place in 2020 was postponed while many investments had been made for the preparations and a wide range of options were already being considered. This conference would not only give ground to worldwide nations to discuss and find solutions to hindering problems but also bring a broad opportunity for investment in the tourism industry, business industry, just to mention a few in Rwanda.
The health care sector was being worked on through the introduction of new machines like the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), other programs to combat tuberculosis, fighting malaria, and many other diseases to make Rwanda one of the leveraged centers to give good medical care in Africa. However, the shock and blow covid 19 came with none of the well-established centers in the World was ready for it. Even the so-called developed countries that the World looks up to.
Life During Covid 19
Funny how we thought this would be a temporary thing and how things will easily go back to normal. With schools shut down, many businesses closed and the ones in the informal sector who used to get money on a daily basis were more affected than people with contracts.
Hospitals and frontline workers felt helpless in their domain, instead of welcoming patients they would advise them to isolate themselves and tell others to take their precautions around such people with covid 19. What a time in history! Where hospitals were one of the places people would be scared to go to because of the crowd there. No one definitely expected that. The ones with private insurances understood the essence of saving because savings became life jackets and I think this applies to everyone who has no income in these times.
This is the time where every country wishes to have thought of investing money in the IT sector and made their citizens more familiar with the use of computers or equipped them with a little bit of Artificial knowledge. If there’s anything this pandemic has tough us is how important it is to be able to navigate the fourth industrial revolution world even though it has not extensively taken over in African countries. People with different businesses especially the ones in the textile field hurried up to put their businesses online to see if they can still make a living out of the situation.
As mentioned earlier, extroverted people faced the most but also the people with mental health problems, social media platforms helped them escape the reality of what was happening to them individually or to the whole world. On one side some experts would say there was an uplift in the fourth industrial revolution but also other health experts would say this had a toll on the people with mental health issues.
Talking on a personal aspect, life in covid was hard but also helped me find myself and what I really cherish as a person. It is easy to find smiling faces in crowded places but it hard to find a soul to connect within that crowd, being left alone with my family was a step to see how much I was missing out, at some point, I realized I really did not know my family as I thought I did. I took time to do what makes me happy in my free time as much as I discovered that my talents were limited but I still enjoyed having that alone time that allowed me to connect and find myself.
Life Post-covid 19
No matter how much life seems to be at least stable to some, life after covid is still a mystery, the vaccines are being given in different parts of the country of Rwanda as well as the World. But the question still lies in so many Rwandan people; if either that is the best way for Western countries to control us completely or if the vaccines will actually work.
When we look at it also in the aspect of religions a lot think this would actually be the end of the World where God used to send plagues to punish people for their wrong acts. But who really knows where the truth lies?
Regardless of how the vaccines are being distributed, the doubt is still there because people still have to wear the masks and follow all the covid restrictions as anyone who did not get the shot of the vaccine. This triggers a lot to think about and that this might also be the new normal until we get used to the life that chose us.
Thinking on a broader perspective of education or health care; regarding the health care sector if this pandemic ends or not, a lot of money has been invested in this field to improve the health care facilities for example; a hospital has been build ere in Rwanda to acquire the people with this virus. The hospital has oxygen, a critical patients’ room that is well equipped with different materials, and many other things that are essential to hospitals.
However, this will also be a challenge in the education sector, since we now know the advantages of working remotely and studying remotely for those who can afford it. But what about the underprivileged ones? Will they be able to afford that technology? Will the country be able to afford and provide all the necessities to facilitate their learning especially after the economy being shaken by this pandemic? Big steps had already been taken before the outrageous outbreak like the construction of more schools and classrooms, what will be the use of it if the new normal is called “COVID 19” and we have to live with it? Will the vaccines be of use in this case?
A lot has to be adjusted to, just in case it turns out differently like as many say; this becomes the new normal or the end of the World. Regardless of the two, we should live life being grateful for the little things we have, telling the people we love that we love them when we still can, and making sure to maximize all the opportunities that we come across. We surely all know now how things can look like in a very short time and unexpected.
Ilo.org. 2021. COVID-19 and the health sector. [online] Available at: <https://www.ilo.org/sector/Resources/publications/WCMS_741655/lang–en/index.htm> [Accessed 28 March 2021].
Imf.org. 2021. How Will the World Be Different After COVID-19 – IMF F&D. [online] Available at: <https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2020/06/how-will-the-world-be-different-after-COVID-19.htm> [Accessed 28 March 2021].
Globalpartnership.org. 2021. Rwanda | Global Partnership for Education. [online] Available at: <https://www.globalpartnership.org/where-we-work/rwanda> [Accessed 28 March 2021].
The East African. 2021. Rwanda launches largest treatment centre amidst Covid-19 surge. [online] Available at: <https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/tea/news/east-africa/rwanda-launches-covid-treatment-centre-3253180> [Accessed 28 March 2021].
RU, F., 2021. My savings became my life jacket during COVID-19 crisis – FXB Rwanda. [online] Fxbrwanda.org. Available at: <https://www.fxbrwanda.org/testimony1.html> [Accessed 28 March 2021].Xinhuanet.com. 2021. Rwanda to launch mass classroom construction to reduce overcrowding – Xinhua | English.news.cn. [online] Available at: <http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-06/20/c_139153201.htm> [Accessed 28 March 2021].
Thanks, Kenny, for this beautiful post. It has been a pleasure going through your article. Your title is catchy, and I love how you presented the scenario in chronological order starting from the pre-Covid-19 to the post-Covid-19.
Thank you Daniel for this encouraging and constructive feedback and I hope you enjoyed your read!
Nice read Kenny, I like that you thought of the underprivileged people and the effect that the rapid move to 4IR has on their ways of life; I applaud the government of Rwanda for their radio and television education programmes but at the same time we must also consider that such programmes are one way, with no interaction between the facilitator and the actual student.
Also, thank god I am now the only one who is afraid of visiting hospitals as they are a possible hotspot for contracting the virus. But I also think of people who have the virus but are afraid of visiting the hospital, putting others at risk as well.
Thank you Manno for your detailed and insightful touch on different things highlighted in the blog. And you are definitely right, infected people are also scared to visit hospitals let alone moving around anywhere. I appreciate your feedback.