BY PROF DR HALIMU SHAURI
(Dean; School of Humanities and Social Sciences; Pwani University)
The onset of COVID-19 sparked lots of changes globally ranging from personal to social lifestyle and behavior change.
Up to now the leading antidote of corona has remained social, in form of prevention and promotion of good health.
Yes, curative has been there but just management of those who are sick to redeem themselves, in what Charles Darwin said long time ago on his book origin of species, Survival for the fittest and extinction of the unfit.
We once thought this thinking had lost its relevance but COVID-19 has brought another challenge where it has found relevance again.
Speaking of lifestyle and behavior change we see improvement in personal hygiene, washing hands, where we are being taught how to clean our hands after many years of doing it wrongly!
Sanitization, which we had left it only to medical and surgical equipment – it’s now our new norm!
Self-quarantine, which we had forgotten because the world seemed to have conquered all major diseases!
Isolation, which was being practiced minimally under Ebola and the Avian flue but not on a large scale, now it’s back big time. Isolation wards and facilities like the days of Leprosy are back due to the high stigmatization and discrimination of COVID-19.
Further, social distancing, which was strength in early civilization, and that’s why we had different civilizations all over the world was being fought by ideas of modernization, westernization and the baba lao globalization.
The world was to be a global village. Where there if free flow of goods and services across borders.
COVID-19 has challenged this by closure of physical boarders. Probably, this is an opportunity for countries to reflect and be innovative to meet their unique needs.
Some Kenyans have already learned this and are innovating. Imagine even face masks we used to import!
Now even the Jua Kali industry has realized they can produce them and other sophisticated innovations of ventilators in Kenyatta University, sanitizers in Technical University of Kenya and Technical University of Mombasa, testing kits, KEMRI and social engineering at Pwani University.
More important are the two measures, which are bordering on harsh economic repercussions for the masses.
Many people globally have thought about the negative impact of lockdown and shutdown.
We haven’t reached there yet but are on a 7pm to 5am curfew and a 21 day cessation of movement in hot spot counties of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi.
This is viewed as harsh by many people. Others have called it a problem, a challenge, an obstacle and suicide for the poor. Nevertheless, I always say:
“… we have to be critical in looking at problems not as challenges but as opportunities to do things differently”.
Albert Einstein once retorted:
“You can’t do things the same way and expect different results…if you think of it (mine), it’s insanity”
This brings us to what you have been thinking of the curfew or cessation of movement! For the 21 days have you been thinking and doing things the same way you used to do before then?
Majority was told to work at home and they got lost because they are thinking the same way they used to think before the curfew and cessation of movement.
Some were like how can I work away from the office? All those thinking and doing the same and expecting different results, I leave you to evaluate them based on Albert Einstein excerpt above.
Finally, put yourself in a measurement scale and evaluate yourself what you have done differently in the ongoing 21 days of cessation of movement? Or during the stay at home, work from home order!
If you do this honestly, you will see what value you have added or subtracted from your 21 days of life under cessation of movement and many days of curfew, which is still going on.
Wah! You have just realized you have wasted a bit of those days of your life doing nothing or subtracting value from your life!
The good news is that you can change this now by thinking and doing things differently. I started thinking and doing things differently from my work routine at Pwani University and ventured into educating Kenyans and the world on the sociological aspects to help fight COVID-19 and farming.
Now I have somethings to show in knowledge creation and my farm.