By Chidubem Emelife (SS2 student)
My family and I were seated under the chilly night sky waiting for the clock to strike midnight. We counted down the ticking seconds till we arrived in a new year- 2020. We were all eager to see what the year had in store for us but little did we know. The year is only in its second quarter but we have already experienced several famous deaths as well as a global nerve-wracking pandemic- COVID-19, the purveyor of some of those deaths.
The current pandemic plaguing our world is known as the Corona virus or COVID-19. The virus is infectious and can easily be spread and unfortunately, once acquired is very difficult to get rid of. The real victims of this virus are not only the actual infected victims but the workers who are risking their lives to try everything in their might to keep infected patients alive. I am not a doctor or nurse nor am I an adult trying to care for their children but rather I am a student that has been majorly affected by this pandemic.
I was still finishing up my final exams in school when I heard of the virus and how it was killing people at an alarming rate. I was slightly afraid but it did not bother me too much that was until all my plans for the Easter break went down the drain. I was unable to participate in my end of term program because we were made to evacuate the school two days after our exams ended. As if that was not enough, my plans of travelling to meet my family went down the drain as well because the borders were all closed and all flights cancelled. At first I was disappointed because a deadly virus was taking away what would have been an amazing Easter break but then I decided to look on the bright side of things only and then I realized I would get a longer holiday if the virus did not blow over in time and gradually things started looking up. Or so I thought.
It was April the fifth when it happened; the experience that gave me a clear view of maturity and courage. My dad had decided that we were not getting a lot of exercise, so we went out on a run that evening. At first my brother and I were very reluctant but my dad insisted that we tag along and get some fresh air and so we did. Being the teenage girl that I am, I decided to take my phone with me to listen to music while we ran. We were doing pretty good and jogging at a steady pace right next to the curb to avoid traffic and moving vehicles when all of a sudden, it happened! From behind me a small black car sped by, barely missing my brother and I by an inch and rammed into my dad at what seemed like a 100 miles/hour and sped off without a glance, leaving behind a bruised, bloody and unconscious man with two terrified children.
I was starting to panic and I did not know what to do. Some pedestrians that witnessed the whole accident came over to help. They began trying to flag down cars to help get my dad to the hospital but none would stop. At this point, my brother was in tears but I knew that I had to do something so I asked them to flag down motorbikes instead and because they were motorbikes and my dad was in a crucial condition, they took him to a small clinic to be temporarily treated. I called up my mother after filling out some forms even though she was a long plane ride away from where we were. She immediately called up her sister in Abuja for help and the rest today remains a thanksgiving story and a ceremony yet to be celebrated.
What did I learn from this, we need each other in times of pandemic – no man is really an island. The lock-down, unavailability of people to help, fear of contracting the disease if you speak or touch someone, all made the world so distant, lonely and foreign. I learnt to be a leader and be in charge in a crisis, I quickly saw and understood the role of each human being created on earth by God – I appreciated the motorbike drivers who ordinarily I see as a nuisance. I learnt to be strong and fearless for my brother and dad but more so in the midst of strangers who were asking questions and seeking guidance on how to help.
I saw the challenges of our health care system in Nigeria. For the first 24 hours, getting my dad conscious and stable was my primary focus. It made me aware that the health care system in Nigeria seemed abysmal and yet after the first 24 hours, we were able to move my dad to a much better hospital, where all manners of scans, x-rays, and tests were conducted, and thereafter treatment, including multiple bone surgeries and other forms of treatment.
I don’t have solutions for the COVID disease, but I can proffer solutions on humanity in times of difficulty, crisis and fear. Let us be kind to one another. Getting through the Pandemic needs more than ventilators and medicine, it needs love and care. Family, strangers, nurses and doctors helped my Dad get through this accident at a time when no one could be with him, visitors were not allowed, and my mother was thousands of miles away due to the lock down. The health care professionals made life worth living for him. I am only 15 but my Mum says I managed a situation even a 40-year-old wouldn’t have managed well.
My dad is going to be alright, I am now his nurse, wife, daughter and friend, and these are the solutions we all need during this COVID crisis.