An affectionate African American mother holds her baby boy up and kisses him on the cheek. They are outside on a beautiful sunny autumn day.

I love a forwarded note a friend sent to me last week amidst the gloom and doom of COVID-19. This forwarded message was one with a difference.  I have become circumspect with messages and videos I open lately on social media. 

However, I opened this one intuitively and loved it.  It read in part: “Why do you worry, everything is not locked down. Sunrise is not locked down, relationship is not locked down, love is not locked down, the conversation is not locked down, family time is not locked down, kindness is not locked down, praying is not locked down, hope is not locked down, ….cherish what you have.  Lockdown is an opportunity to do all you ever wanted to do”.

Positive adaptations

In such abnormal times, the world and indeed our nation Ghana is anxiously wishing away COVID-19. However, one’s biggest wish is that when all the frustrations, shocks and devastations have come to an end, the positive adaptations during lockdowns should remain. 

I have seen plentiful love, care, concern, uplifting songs, meditations and prayers shared around in the last two months, more than one would see in years of normal times. A lot of positive things are not locked down after all.

Coronavirus has come with some common terms. One has learnt terms such as social distance, lockdown, shutdown, self-quarantine/isolation and stay at home. Necessary terms and practices, yes, because one is dealing with an insidious and ferocious virus which can kill over 1,000 people in a day.  It can cause unplanned cemeteries to spring up and a lineup of dead bodies on streets as happened in Ecuador a couple of weeks ago.

Love, care and concern

So, rather than defy all those health, self or government-imposed restrictions and risk the disease, families, friends and communities have found new ways of showing love, care and concern. Through electronic devices and social media, grandparents are in constant touch with their grandchildren far and near.  Children are catching up with their parents and family members are in touch regularly.

Employers are on virtual meetings with their staff and carrying on with the business of business continuity. Emergency board meetings are being held without anyone moving their vehicles. Friends are catching up with each other in live chats. Supermarkets and restaurants are offering home deliveries. 

Pastors are conducting virtual Church services which are able to round up hundreds of congregants even more than they would record on a normal Sunday.

For the first time in living memory, Easter, an important event on the Christian calendar was celebrated in the quiet, yet it did not change the meaning and its importance to the Christian community. Churches have found new ways to reach their members and through meditations, prayer requests, hymns, praise songs and Bible teachings, they are virtually in homes and feel like only a touch away.

In effect, love, care, concern for one other and new ways of doing things have been shared and continue to be shared on a daily basis. If one goes missing on a social media platform for more than 48 hours, all others are looking out for them. Live video chats have become much easier than ever before. Everyone is learning fast.

Information technology

The most pervasive text messages of these times are coming from the banks, the telecoms and other utility services. Their information technologists are working extra hard for business survival. They are now coming to us more often with all kinds of advice on how to transact safe business and how to pay one’s bills using on-line services. Hardly a week or weekend passes without at least two messages from those quarters. But yes, necessity is the mother of invention and they too must survive the competition. 

Then also are unsolicited on-line accredited foreign degree courses. They are virtually knocking on all doors whether one has crossed pension age or not.

In every misfortune, there are indeed some opportunities. Covid-19 and all the freedom restrictions that go with it have brought people even much closer than one could have ever imagined. 

We have started claiming back the love and care that were eluding our societies and the world at large.  The problem is how to sustain such positive living even after coronavirus has found its exit from our presence.

Writer’s email: vickywirekoandoh@yahoo.com