Coronavirus: The Stance In Eswatini

The new Coronavirus in yellow among human cells (blue, purple, pink). Image credit : NIAID-RML

Hi friends,

It’s been quite a weekend out here in the Kingdom of Eswatini. Yes, the news began circulating late Friday night, however some of us only received the update Saturday morning. I was returning from my morning run when I came across the headline that we had one confirmed case of COVID-19, which literally stopped me off my tracks and I walked to the nearest gas station where they had the radio on loudspeaker and everyone around was making comments about this news. From one guy declaring that he would be resigning from his job, to another saying that this is how the world ends and to the other guy in the corner who just smiled silently. Honestly, all three of these reactions spoke to those shared by millions out there.

We have been talking about COVID-19 for some time, however now that it has hit home I believe a lot more people have been stopped off their tracks as well and now the fears have risen way above what they were from when our neighbor, South Africa confirmed its first case. Anyhow, it’s in Eswatini now and our health sector is trying by all means to level up their state of preparedness in response to this global pandemic and we can only hope that it will suffice enough to contain any further spread. Contact tracing has begun and we are still awaiting a report from the Ministry of Health in relation to the results of twelve other suspected cases. We are still glued to our television screens and our ears on the ground as well awaiting more news. We are however, appreciative of positive news we receive that speak to patients who have this virus responding well to treatment because that only gives us hope, which in truth is all we need right now.

Faith has always mattered, however now more than ever. We have to keep up the confidence in God and trust that He is still faithful and loving even during this time where confusion hovers all around us. During this time, I have gone back to Psalms 77 as a reminder that God hasn’t forsaken us, He is always there for His people and demonstrates His power amongst them. All we ought to do is trust Him. This morning in church the Preacher reminded us about the story of King Jehoshaphat on how God demonstrated His faithfulness in his kingdom (II Chronicles 20). The Preacher spoke about the fact that if there was ever a time to be grounded and rooted in Christ, it was now. He encouraged us to be well positioned, stand firm and we would surely see the deliverance of God. We need to trust God, have no fear, and not be discouraged for this is His battle and indeed, He shall overcome it! We have seen God deliver us from far too many things and even now He would do the same!

I had a few things planned yesterday, which unfortunately all fell through. I was meant to be in attendance for a car wash fundraising activity we had as the youth in church, however I missed it because it started raining and by the time it subsided, it was already late. So I didn’t attend. However, I am always on time for our gatherings, but yesterday I just don’t know, news of COVID-19 did give me somewhat of a slowdown and I ended up spending most of the day in the house with my mother discussing more about this virus. So, she’s been battling a cold for the past three days and now she’s worried that she might have COVID-19. She’s been looking through the signs and symptoms associated with the virus, and I tell you what she’s somehow managed to fit herself in all the categories. Imagine! Well, I don’t blame her, with COVID-19 right in our yard, we all are worried and each sniffle or sneeze will raise a brow but we are hopeful this will all subside soon. My mother’s worried but jokingly made comments make it all a lot lighter. She is a retired nurse and all this also gives her a lot to talk about, she’s worried yes but she understands all too well and is hopeful like we all are that this too shall pass, which I think is the positivity we all need right now.

Yesterday afternoon, I took a child to the barber and COVID-19 was being discussed. However, it’s the comments that these people made which stuck with me. One lady spoke about the fact that twelve suspected cases were still being tested and she honestly hoped that none would return positive. She went on to say that a lot of other infectious diseases had surfaced over the years, however Eswatini always somehow survived through them. Now the lady she was speaking to acknowledged both her statements, however, stated that as much as some parts of Africa were exposed to Ebola for example, we never had any case in the country. So yes, we had indirectly survived, but now the difference is, this virus has broken through all borders and has infiltrated the country. She went on to speak on the issue of the twelve suspected cases, stating the fact that, yes, they had been in contact with this confirmed case, however how many more had been in contact with her other than those? She had a point because come to think of it, how does anyone know that they haven’t been in contact with patient zero or those directly linked with her either at a convenient store or grocery shop? She was right, the sad reality about all this is that we each might have possibly been in contact with either of these people unknowingly so and they weren’t aware either at that time of whether they were infected or not. Honestly, the nature of the virus and the mode of transmission are what make it all the more dreadful. She went on to say that she had faith that we would be ok, however, if it is that you were destined to “end” through this virus. Well, it would be the case. I guess in sum what she meant, well, from how I chose to look at it, and I did mention it last week that we don’t know how all this will end. We don’t know how long it will last for. We don’t know what it means. However, all we have is hope that God is still covering us like He has been all along.

Everyone is out to get sanitizers and most stores have run out, however where still available the price is already steep. Some stores don’t have masks in stock, which in part has left many quite unsteady. My sister was informing me that in one store she went into today she found the small bottle of Dettol going for E40.00 and just the previous week it was on sale for almost half that amount. Unfortunately, it’s either the shelves are empty or the price is steep already because of the demand. Well, that is the reality of the matter now because we need to disinfect everything and protect ourselves. We could just use soap and water as advised as well, but no, people feel sanitizers are it. So, we will allow it to be and hope that this hygienic etiquette remains well after COVID-19.

Friends, there aren’t any words that could speak to this pandemic and pushing the blame as to what caused it, what country is to blame, why some countries didn’t have a contingency plan from the get go when China announced of its first case, don’t make any difference. Right now we have a global problem and a way forward is to find a unifying solution instead of questioning or pushing the blame. Anger and blame solve nothing because cases and deaths continue to rise. All we need is a way to mitigate this pandemic! It’s a tough time friends, but we press on. Let’s be safe out there. It shall be well!

Grounded in Faith


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