Thursday, April 30, 2020

All over the world three words keep coming up on everyone's lips and in the media: COVID-19, containment, social distancing. They lead us to ask ourselves many questions and to meditate on our responsibility facing these three realities.

Everyone knows that the COVID-19 virus is dangerous, that it spreads uncontrolled and very quickly today and seems invisible: this increases fears, because we do not know where it could come from, by whom or how, when, where? This sometimes goes beyond our thoughts. So many of us limit ourselves to talking about this word COVID-19 or coronavirus as an invisible enemy.

Containment is also a popular word, one of the solutions to protect oneself from this invisible and sometimes deadly enemy. In front of such an invisible enemy that we will not be able to control or predict where it will come from, when, how, fear takes place in the mind of human beings. The only solution: isolate yourself and hide so as not to get caught. This fear or reaction of hiding goes back a long time in history: several biblical verses bear witness to this, starting with the disciples who had hidden until the time when Jesus appeared to them in their hiding place, to comfort and encourage them. So, the question is, what are the lessons learnt by each of us at this time? What is the message for each of us, comparing our previous situation with that of today? What protection did we think we had, like our money, our bodyguards, our parents, our property, etc.? Confronted with this situation of containment and of fear of not being contaminated or of being in contact with this invisible enemy (COVID-19), have we ever thought that in life, sometimes, we are wrong about the protections that we think we are putting forward? This invisible enemy affects the rich as well as the poor, authorities as ordinary citizens, large nations or economic and military powers as small nations.

Everyone has one’s own way of understanding the word social distancing. Personally, I have learned a lesson when our authorities invite us to respect social distancing: my well being depends on the well-being of the other. As I wish to be healthy, I must allow the other also to be healthy. The evil that I do not wish for myself, I must help that others do not have it. Isn't it said that when fire burns at the neighbour’s house, you have to help them put out the fire before it arrives at your own house?’ It is true! The problem started in a Chinese city and everyone thought it was a local problem, but in a short time, the whole world was set on fire by this plague that had become a pandemic. No one is safe; we all have to face it, with preventive measures. This is to say that our well-being depends on all of us without exception; joy and a just world depend on the involvement of all of us and not on the authorities or those who claim to be temple guardians, no, it depends on everyone, rich, poor, authority, ordinary citizen. I may add besides that even the other beings of nature; trees, animals, etc. play an important role in our daily happiness and joy.

I am happy to see how, alongside these three words (COVID-19, containment, social distancing), the word social solidarity regains popularity, how many are starting to return to solidarity, to charity, how this brings us to think of others, to share with others, to allow others to live well. A solidary and charitable man is one who tries to put himself in the place of others, who understands their problems, who sympathizes with others. I wanted to end my thoughts with this: we have to open our hearts to others, we have to come to understand the actions of others to help them well, to love them, to understand them in this or that situation, rather than to abandon them, hate or flee.

COVID-19 is an enemy for all, and we can only defeat it together.

At Kitumaini Centre, where our teams are deployed on the ground, we are raising awareness among women and farmers by giving them real information on preventive measures, by distributing and installing cans to wash their hands regularly, masks to protect oneself and distributing foods to the elderly and children in difficult situations.

More than 340 households have already benefited from this information, a hundred children have benefited from a bag containing flours of corn, soybeans, sorghum, moringa and sugar to cope with famine, a hundred people have already benefited from masks, 42 elderly people benefited from rice, sugar, salt.

The awareness campaign continues on the ground.