Before You Catch the Virus

*Alan Shadowrine*

Agrrrrh. 2020…

Just take me back to the old and sweet days, please. Them days when I was not scared of pandemics and crisis. Them days when I could dance in the rain, shout at the thunder, and dare the lightning; when I could slide through the muddy banks, swim naked in the river, and bask in the rays of the cosmic sun with my small buttocks thanking the deities for peace of mind and heart. 

I miss them old days when this was a free world, and with it came a free life; when I could walk on the road, peeing carefree, spirited, and unapologetic; when I could laugh, smile, grin, and cherish the smallest gifts from childhood friends; when I did not care about the girls that loved me or the ones that I had a crush on, or the boys that thought I am an empty skeleton without a hint of muscles to wrap my flesh; when my esteem was not hindered by my empty collar bones; when people did not describe me by the exams I failed, or the rejections, or the failures. 

I envy them days when I could run around, carelessly farting and laughing about it as I pointed at someone else for causing environmental pollution when I was happy to breathe just fine since I had a powerful, healthy, and very healthy indeed pair of lungs. When I could wear my sister’s underwear and run in the fields along with my friends without being afraid of being caught up by a curfew. When I could play with cow dung, and pee into bottles absently, without hiding my nudity and without caring if I will catch a virus or fall sick. 

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When I could spend the nights cramming the multiplication table without worrying about online classes. When I could wash my hands when I needed to destroy a mountain of ugali and mostly because mum was around. When there was no need to rewash my hands every time I left the gate. With soap! And running water. When I could sneeze and all I got was a God bless you.
It was a better life although flawed until Coronavirus came. Going back to childhood, to the old days is just a wish. And if wishes were horses, we would all be rearing herds of horses right now. 

How scared of Coronavirus are you? 

How does watching the lines on your T.V after spending the entire day within your compound feel? When they say that the numbers have drastically increased and the deaths exponentially grown? When you surf on the internet and all you see are videos, images, and messages from people whose lungs are slowly but surely dying from the virus. 

When you are locked in your homes, when traveling is tantamount to infection, when borders are closed, when giant countries have declared a state of emergency. When churches are empty and market stalls deserted. How does it feel when the experts with years of experience are throwing in the towel; when governments that we cry to when things get worse are slowly quitting, when scientists say that this is a virus they have never seen or thought of since the dawn of human civilization? 

When they say it’s a new infection, spreading like bushfire, and that there is no way to contain it. How does it feel? When they say, the world economies are dead, that systems are broken, and hope is long dead. 

Scary.

The world right now feels like a train under a tunnel. Snaking itself sluggishly, with copper ores on its back and engine oil for gas so the trend is slow, boring, dreadful, and hazy. As such, I feel like bauxite, scooped by the jaws of a Korean excavator, earth-moved from the home I have resided for decades. 

And so, the train wriggles, with water dripping from the heavens of the dark tunnel, making the ores wetter, colder, dead. Strong friends are now faint-hearted, and are slowly thinking we will all see the end soon… grip by grip, like we are just racing to our coffins. Because that is what is coming for us. But that is not what we want. They say in the end, we will all catch the virus and have our immune systems crashed, our breathing labored, and our death so certain. But before then, we have some time to talk. Because for real, Coronavirus is not leaving any soon.

Are you there, coiled like a wire, lonely on your bed and wishing this was a different time in the phase of your life, scared and writing a sad, hopeless, and gloomy entry? Hopeless, and hugged to yourself and saying yes, I’m gonna die as they say?

No no! You are damn wrong and this not a verse from the Bible. Because Coronavirus is not what is making the numbers rise, the deaths escalate and the pandemic so lethal. It’s not the lack of vaccine either. 

It is the ignorance of your cousin who sneaked from the areas where the movement has been restricted and you have crowned them heroes. The ignorance and the carefree spirit of the men who still sit in groups and argue the inexistence of Coronavirus, calling it a priority in the list of government scams. Of your shaking hands with your friends because they just came home after a long time and you missed each other, saying that there is no Coronavirus in your village. 

It is FEAR. It has become the new fashion in life and the new infection we are fighting. Fear that grips us when we watch the news and listen to the crisis ongoing. It makes us desperate, hopeless, and worse still, on the verge of giving up. It is everywhere, on your phone waiting for you to google updates on Coronavirus, on your t.v screens, and on your favorite stations. 
Fear of testing for the disease with the kits are made in China.

Fear whose main symptom is pointing fingers full of blasphemy to other people, to governments, to nations like Italy, and to races like the Chinese. It is hatred for others that has made us stigmatize those who beat the virus. Fear from reading a page of copy & pasted fake news on the web.

But don’t be afraid and yes, that’s not a bible verse too and I will tell you why. Because it is time you stop investing in the news that hibernates into your mind and breeds fear, hatred, and destitution. 

It is time to join them songs with good news lyrics and sing them to tune. To acknowledge your two left feet and dance at the balcony while your neighbor laughs it off. To throw away the remote control and watch Twilight saga just to find out who between vampires and werewolves won a human heart. To switch the damn t.v station and watch Tingatinga tales and discover just how cunning Mr. Fox is. 

Time to switch tabs and google how to make a frown face because you are learning a concert to perform online. Time to read the journals on Taiwan’s donation to China and Japan to the USA. 

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Like every tragedy that has struck a part of the human race, we can choose to let this divide us, blame each other, and hate one another more. We can politicize the pandemic, let it scatter us and tear us apart with its divisive jaws. 

Or we can rise above it like waves on the same ocean that we are. We can use this pandemic as a strong point to bring people from Runda and Kariobangi together. To let the world know that Taiwan is home to a people whose hearts are big enough to send donations to the Americans. We can choose to let this pandemic repair the controversies between tribes, states, political affiliations, and religious differences. We can let it heal our silly grudges. 

Because all that humanity had at its trying times was itself. So, stop hugging yourself and staring at your future in a cocoon of despondency. Rise up like a gulp of water in the wave and flatten the curve of Coronavirus by spreading the good news, washing our hands, social distancing yet putting the needs of other people in the heart.

Choose to be alert but put your attention on things that build you towards saving yourself, your family, and other people around you. Decontaminate your minds by tucking in a little longer, meditating and giving your long lost friend a call. Use this tragic pandemic to rediscover yourself, to wake up to the most important things in life, to cherish your family, and to care for the world. Because the only way we are going to beat the virus is by being together. 

Don’t panic!
Stay at home.
Stay safe.
@Shadowrine with Fiadehu.org

More articles by Alan Shadowrine:

  1. Best Graduation Ever.
  2. Live! And Live.
  3. The Day I Will Die
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