Name: Sharon Avril
Being confined to my home reminds me of a movie I saw a few years ago called “Contagion”. This movie is being relived right before my very eyes and whether I like it or not, I am forced to be an active participant. The reality with which I must live daily is overwhelming. Apart from being bombarded on social networks by the havoc that COVID-19 creates around the world, and the fear of not completing my thesis due in May, it’s the heavy silence around me that makes me feel like the COVID-19 has taken its toll.
No more crowd movement, no more street vendors, barely a few vehicles on the move, it’s almost like a snapshot, life in slow-motion.
I swear, during the last seven days of my confinement, the days seemed to be the nights. The few noises heard here and there piercing this described silence are the sounds coming from my television speaker, spitting the number of people affected by COVID-19 and those who have died from it. The sounds coming from my daughters’ tablet, the ringing from time to time of the phone or the very rare sounds of the neighbors’ laughter which penetrates the walls of my apartment and the hums of the air conditioner also takes me out of this silence.
The gravity of the situation is clearly understood even by children. A few days ago, my 7-year-old daughter, hearing the neighbor’s children outside, timidly (a word never used to describe my child) approached them by applying the “one meter” distance rule decided by the authorities. Today, I observe my daughter peering out the window, no longer finding the sound of voices in the courtyard. This silence is a startling reminder that the once joyful laughter of children running, skating, biking and playing has like magic, disappeared into thin air. Yes, the fear of the virus is obvious! We are prisoners in our own home!
In addition, being an immigrant in Martinique, I was faced with the idea of returning to the safety of my country Saint Lucia, where there are fewer people infected with the virus. In addition, we would be surrounded by my family during this pandemic. In retrospect, seeing how COVID-19 has paralyzed large countries like Europe which are more equipped and advanced in the world of medicine than many Caribbean countries, I decided to stay put and brave this 15-day confinement in Martinique. I must say that I am reassured by my decision noting the behavior of my fellow citizens who upon their return to the country did not have much respect for the measures put in place to prevent the spread of the virus. No country is immune to this virus. So where do we hide? The answer is in God. “you are my hiding place; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah. – Psalms 32:7.
On the other hand, seeing that I had no intention of falling prey to the 135€ fine imposed by the law, to people found venturing on the streets, I had to change my daily lifestyle. No more gym and training with the girls on the nearby field, I had to do my aerobics indoors because this lady swear, “she ain’t gonna put on pounds during this lockdown” (big joke)! To top it off, she sprained her shoulder!
Having done a bit more shopping than usual (not the toilet paper madness spree though), this confinement has given me the opportunity to eat and share more freshly cooked meals and reduced my canned food consumption – a bad culture that my student-mother lifestyle had allowed me.
With regards to my very active daughter, I had to create a new routine not only to keep her engaged but to prevent me from going insane. Homeschooling is fun for us! On the weekend, we bake something! During the week, I allow her to carry out 1 chemistry experiment per day. She takes care of her newly planted basil and nasturtium flowers and we share a virtual world tour “around the world in 15 days”.
In addition, I had to manage time for her daily classwork sent by her teacher, reading time and of course time cartoons on TV. I have assigned her daily chores and we are entitled to one movie a day. Luckily, we go outside for a few minutes to get some fresh air and sea breeze. But, just as quickly, we return for shelter in the safety of our home. How long the days seem! You would think so, but at 9 pm I am still having trouble trying to get her to sleep!
Frankly, at this point, I have no desire to leave my home. Far from the ideas of shopping where many people have been affected by “the madness of toilet paper!”
Sometimes I feel like I have had “enough”, and I don’t want to hear about this virus anymore, so I pretend it doesn’t exist by purging myself of its current developments. But this illusion in no way erases the fact that the virus is dangerous and forces us to live life in a way that we once, never imagined!
And if sometimes, I feel like I have “enough”, almost not wanting to hear about this virus, telling me that it was only a dream! Alas, I quickly come back to reality given the many information that reaches us around the world! Dreaming is an illusion. COVID-19 is there and dangerous. This virus which spies on us on every street corner forces us to change our behavior and our lifestyle.