Brieven uit Malawi tijdens Covid-19
We hebben een aantal van onze leerlingen in Malawi gevraagd om een beeld te geven hoe zijn de periode tijdens het corona-virus in Malawi beleven. Hieronder een samenvatting van de reacties:
(brief van Victor Atanazio, student Geografie, Univeriteit van Zomba)
“It was on 20th January 2019 when I heard from Zodiak Newspapers that the Country of China has been hit by Corona virus. After some days, I heard from BBC news that the virus also affected other neighboring countries of China. Just some months later, it was announced on the radio that Corona virus has hit countries surrounding Malawi ie Tanzania, Zambia, Mozam-bique and Zimbabwe. It was on 20th March evening when the President of the Republic of Malawi, Professor Arthur Peter Muntharika declared a state of emergency on COVID-19 pandemic after looking the loss of lives it causes in countries surrounding Malawi. One measure taken was to close all inter-national borders and no international flight was permitted. This measure raises several questions from different individuals. For example, people whose lives are connected with international flights movement, how are they going to survive? What about those who are supported by foreign organization through visitation? For example, I myself because it was at this same time that we had an arrangement to be visited by the Whites on April from Netherlands who supports us in terms of education wise and even my social welfare!! I was so afraid for fear of losing my scholarship from my sponsors. Until I received a notification through WhatsApp that their visit to Malawi has been cancelled due to this deadly virus. All private and public schools including colleges and universities must be closed on 21st March 2020. At first I was reluctant to pack my property because I had a reading assignment of which I was supposed to make a presentation. The decision by the President raises several arguments by students. Some were saying it is a political issue while others commentating that he has vision to prevent the spread of the virus. I struggled to find money for transport to my home since it was an emergency decision. When I reached my home I was affected psychologically due to negative news and comments from my fellow villagers. After 3 months, Malawi announced 3 confirmed cases on 6th April, 2020 both from Lilongwe District. I was so afraid. Since that day, the number of cases increased so drastically until Ministry of Health began to impose severe stringent restrictions. All residents of the country are required to comply with home quarantine. At first glance, such measure seem justified because it helped stop the virus from spreading. However, it turned out that quarantine caused a lot of challenges that are difficulty to cope with. For example, those people that hurt for mouth, the beggars on the streets, the prostitutes, the drivers among others, how are they going to survive because their existence depend on to and from movement!!!
By 13th June, 2020 Malawi has 482 active cases of COVID-19, 55 have recovered and unfortunately 4 have passed away (may their souls rest in peace). The situation in Malawi is not yet clear because many are under tests and waiting for their outcomes after 14 days. In terms of education, the National Planning Task Force for Education in Malawi has been established comprised of both primary and secondary teachers including the lecturers and some members of Presidential Task Force for COVID-19 in Malawi. The duty of this committee is to look on the way forward about education in Malawi. Just recently it has proposed the government and minister of health to resume school on 13th July 2020. However, the government has not yet responded to this. Knowing that keeping children learning is the priority, the government of Malawi introduced online learning hoping that this will help students. In contrast, it did not materialize due to the fact that some students do not have any means of accessing information online. Financial problem was also taken into consideration because for one to access online learning, he/she has to buy internet bundles which are very expensive. Finally, the issue of internet outage could not be ignored. There is temporarily network in Malawi. For me till now it’s so hard to study because am using my small phone of which the font size is too small. To think of where to find powerful source of current to charge my laptop is another challenge. Unlike at the college, there is readily available source of current. Am desperate when school will be resumed and fulfil my ambition of becoming a secondary school teacher.
Lastly, I appreciate you for being in support for us in time of need!! Hope if the situation lessened you will visit us. I as one member of Warm Heart of Malawi Foundation, greatly appreciate for the scholarship and with this international holiday, I understand that any day we will resume our studies.
“I’m finding more struggles to study as you know that at home there are many chores that need children to assist parents”.
Shira Goodwell, studente aan de universiteit van Zomba
“Here in Malawi it is so hard for us to stay indoors for some days even hours because our country is poor and can’t provide everyone with basic needs during lock down. As for me, I move out of home to provide myself, parents and brothers with flour food, water, relish etc for us to eat and survive. Imagine that, we are very affected”. En “Corona virus prevention is hard for us. We can’t manage to provide ourselves with pure protection. For instance, soap to wash our hands frequently and other prevention measures during lockdown. For this reason we are afraid of suffering from this virus as we are poor to provide ourselves with everything!!
“For example we don’t have friends who we used to discuss school things. And we don’t have good rooms where we can study and noise sometimes makes studying uncomfortable…”