An experience in times of COVID-19 in Nigeria

Sr Juliana Ekwoanya, OP
Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, Gusau, Nigeria.

The impact of COVID-19 on me is overwhelming. At first, it raised so much fear especially when the first case was reported in Nigeria. What I am sharing here is just a pinch out of my experiences which includes keeping conscious distancing self from persons I would have given handshake or hugs, wearing of facemask whenever I am with someone, or going out of the house and seeing everyone around as a probable suspect carrier of COVID-19, movements are done only very necessary, frequency of handwashing and use of sanitizers, fearful reactions at any coughing and sneezing when done close to me. I consciously placed a lot of hygienic precautionary measures around me and at same educate and encourage my family, community members, colleagues in ministry to do the same. I make sure I avoid anything that could bring closely with anybody.

It also affected my prayer format as I pray against COVID-19 daily for my family, members of my community, colleagues, and the world at large daily. It has reduced travel-related costs and risks. It has increased fear of the unknown in me thereby sometimes I keep sanitizing and cost of living and maintenance has also increased.

In the ministry, at first, we debated whether to shut down completely or not, but agreed to render skeletal services since it is a health clinic but must observe precautions. Most of our discussions and meetings are done online. It challenged us in the ministry to improve our knowledge to access and use of the internet. We took turns to come to work while some workers were placed on hold till after three months. Some lost their jobs at the end. The cost of health consumables and some drugs increased with over 500% thereby making service fee very high and some clients couldn’t afford the cost.

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