YouthSpeak: Covid-19 Effects, Coping Mechanisms and What Should Be Done.
355 is the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Kenya as at 26/04/2020. Since mid-March, Kenya begun enforcement of stringent measures aimed at preventing the spread of the disease that has to date claimed 204,011 lives, having recorded over 2,945, 881 cases of infections globally.
The prevalence and fast spread of Covid-19 saw Kenyans subjected to government enforcement measures such as banning of public gatherings, observance of social distancing, closure of bars and restaurants – except for take away orders in restaurants, mandatory use of face masks and an extended containment directive in four counties. In addition, citizens are encouraged to work from home and avoid travel unless necessary, as well as practice regular handwashing with soap and water, and frequent use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
The government has also extended schools closure by one more month effective from 4th of May 2020, which was the initial opening date with the Education Cabinet secretary noting that every Kenyan child will be given opportunity to cover any lost times before the national examinations are administered.
As a result, majority of organizational and corporate events and activities were cancelled while most businesses closed due to limited or no demand for supplies. What’s more, cases of job losses have affected households mostly led by women who work in small and medium enterprises. So how are young people coping with the effects of Covid-19? Dadapower members shared their experiences.
Babu: My business has truly been affected. I mostly get my supplies from Eastleigh. With the government directive that we avoid public gatherings, I decided to comply and stay safe. Unfortunately my business had to come to a halt. I am now working through Dadapower to sensitize the community on protective measures against contracting Covid-19.
Peris (a student In Italy): I am in quarantine, hence working and studying online, trying to understand how fake news can happen and the impact it has on different people.
Aisha (Organizing Secretary, Nubian Youth Community): I have been mobilizing my community in Kibra for sensitization talks and donation funds for food drive and distribution.
William: A number of my hustles have been affected by the pandemic. Currently, through the African Youth for Sustainable Development in which I am a volunteer representing Kenya, we have been creating awareness on Covid-19 facts and preventive measures.
Anastacia: Following the pandemic, we had to take a rotational two weeks leave from work. I have been taking time to learn sewing patterns and watching movies. It also gives me more time to rest and bond with my sons. From my observation, a lot of people in Murang’a seem not to care much about contracting or spreading Covid-19 as they walk around without wearing masks.
Grace: My greatest fear is the daily briefs by CS Kagwe. I am a very social person coping in this social distancing period is quite boring but I am doing my best to manage the situation.
Karondo: I have observed a lot of ignorance as far as prevention of Covid-19 spread is concerned. We need to conduct more awareness creation on safe use of masks and the need to strictly observe the rule.
Muthoni: One of my jobs had to come to an end, and my pay in the other has been slashed by a substantive amount. I however choose to remain grateful in the present circumstance. I am concerned about what I have observed – people removing masks when they need to talk, beats the logic of having a mask on.
“Someday our lives will get back to normal – a new normal” ~Edith Macharia, Vice Chairperson.
Ruiru: These times have revealed the importance of online opportunities. I have been doing a number of online jobs from the house.
Ngima: I have been exercising more by running regularly. I still have to go to work. As much as I take the necessary protective measures, I am worried about the other passengers who might not be doing the same.
Catherine: I go to work and also work from home 50-50%. I have to wear a mask, gloves and use hand sanitizer always. I am happy to work in a company that has put in place safety measures for all employees. Thankfully, the company where I work has provided enough protective requirements.
Edith – I have been working from home and someday I stepped out to grab something from the Supermarket and was stopped by a cop for not having a mask. I think there is need for more sensitization on use of masks when stepping out of the house.
Stella: Working from home is okay but can get sluggish at some point. As much as I am an introvert, I still have the urge to step out and take a walk. Cabin fever is real.
What have you been doing to stay sane during this period?
Stella: I only watch news once a day after a friend recommended that I avoid watching too much Covid-19 updates because repeated worrying news can adversely affect my mental wellness. I try my best to work out at least twice a week, eat healthy, hydrate and watch fun stuff online.
Babu: Keeping off screens: phone and television – too much information to feed on especially negative – increased infections, deaths and talks of lockdowns – can drain you. I am also watching more movies/documentaries, reading books, calls with friends and trying new recipes.
Muthoni: I am reading a lot, regularly checking up on loved ones as it is a tough time to assume guys are okay and revisiting everything I have always said “I don’t have time for”.
Peris: I have a daily routine to ensure productivity like yoga, exercises to physically keep fit, socialization with friends and family through video-calls, learning a new language, watching movies during weekends and following online church services. Lastly, having enough rest, being calm and keeping a positive mindset.
Serah: I have reduced my screen time, I am reading more, watching movies (catching up with what I missed). I run every evening to catch a breath and stay sane. I am yet to start online courses.
Ruiru: I am doing online work and watching movies. Right now, you need strong WiFi and Kenya Power😊😊
Liz: Because we are less busy at work, I want to start reading. Someone please recommend an online book site…I have also been watching lots of movies.
Karondo: I now go to work earlier than I used to, to recover hours limited by the curfew, working more than usual to cover lockdown days in case we get there. I have not been reading (book recommendations would be a good way to restart) and now using an app to limit my screen time.
Cate: When I have a free day I try new recipes. I have started but struggling with home workout 😊
Anastacia: I am spending a lot of time with my sons trying to teach them a few new skills. When I can, I watch a movie.
Njambi: Being a Sunday school teacher, I now host an online Sunday school session that can be found on my facebook timeline.
The Ministry of Health in Kenya has been sharing regular updates on how to keep healthy and boost personal immunity during this season, among the tips being:
- Eat right – add anti-viral and immune-boosting herbs and spices (chili pepper, oregano, rosemary, turmeric, fresh garlic and ginger) to meals.
- Take a walk
- Wear your mask – wear the face mask properly above the nose and below the mouth to prevent the entry/exit of the virus.
- Exercise regularly
- Practise meditation to avoid stress
- Get enough sleep
- Stay connected with loved ones via technology
~Stay at home, save lives. Keep safe and sane~