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Picture This

Picture This

Picture this: Your mother starts developing symptoms of COVID- 19. You inform health officials. They take her away from you. She ends up testing positive. She doesn’t make it. Her body is cremated in your absence. In the absence of your entire family. Your last memory of her is the moment strangers in gumboots, protective overalls, gloves, masks and helmets walked her out of the door.

In my wildest imaginations, I never knew I would be covering stuff I used to see in horror movies. I created this platform in order to share my adventurous experiences in remarkable Rwanda. That’s what I did in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Then came 2020 and its dramatic turn of events that changed our lives. The good news is — we can defeat this pandemic and have an adventurous 2021. The bad news is — some idiots out there are jeopardizing our chances.

I won’t mention young Italians and Americans escalating the already tragic situation in the name of spring breaking. I will say something about young Africans in places where the highly contagious disease is threatening to overwhelm our already fragile healthcare systems.

The day before a lockdown was declared in Rwanda, someone I know spent a whole night in a stuffy locked bar with a bunch of careless drunkards socializing all night long, despite the government’s instructions to close all bars at 9 p.m.

In Uganda, posters advertising corona house parties were circulating on social media. In kenya, some old acquaintances, sensing a possible lockdown, chose to celebrate the last days of their ’freedom’ partying in crowded clubs. In South Africa, youngsters threw street corona bashes while others came up with a crazier idea. They organized a wild festival dubbed Corona Pool Party. You have probably seen a clip of excited young people singing and dancing in a crowded swimming pool. What the bleep was that madness all about?

Across the continent, there are reports of revelers meeting for what they call lockdown parties and apocalyptic drinking sprees. Who bewitched us?

We should be in a better position to fight this pandemic. We should have learned from the experiences of China, Italy and the United States. Compliance, particularly during the early stages of the outbreak, is key. A slow response will make us unable to manage the explosive trajectory of the lethal virus.

This is a new disease. We don’t know everything we need to know but statistics have shown that young people are succumbing to it too. It’s true that their immunity is relatively stronger and a significant part of their demographic group is likely to be assymptomatic. However, their reckless behavior is adding fuel to the fire. Corona parties demonstrate utter irresponsibility.

Paint a picture of the scenario presented in the first paragraph and tell me if you like that picture. If you don’t like it, protect yourself and your beloved ones.

The author is a travel enthusiast whose mission to discover Rwanda’s tourist attractions is suspended until further notice. He is currently staying home for obvious reasons.

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