The education ministry said it would explore how to make online learning accessible to all students

From a compulsory lockdown to a self-induced partial lockdown, where schools remain closed and parents are working from home, many have found new ways to keep themselves occupied. 

Many of these ways are creative and useful. Unfortunately though, a few have veered off to the path of insincerity. Sometimes even fraudulent.

So, what has your story been? What new thing have you discovered as part of your routine since Covid-19 reared its ugly head? That is a question I posed to some few people as I sought to know what is becoming a new normal for them.

This time last year

In normal times, this time is when airlines and airports get extra busy. As the weather in the Northern Hemisphere gets warmer, some people would be embarking on their annual holiday, attending graduations, visiting families and friends or on some exploration away from home. Domestic tourism also picks up with inflows.

This time last year, with not the slightest hint of how the ensuing year was going to unfold, some people went ahead with many plans for the year ahead. The rains were down and some had taken advantage to go into commercial farming counting on the gains awaiting them in the coming year.   

Schools were beginning to plan for graduations and the long holidays. As the graduating classes exited, they wished those after them the best in the coming year. Unfortunately, a pandemic called Covid-19 made a rude entry and this is the limbo it has brought everyone.

I have been going through my 2019 diary lately noting the kind of things I did this time last year.  I could not believe how busy quarter two last year was for me. I had attended four fulfilling company annual general meetings (AGM) all promising good dividends in the ensuing year. The ensuing year has come with depressing results for these same businesses and as they recount their losses, they are announcing virtual AGMs for fear of the pandemic. Whoever thought?

This time last year, there were a few milestone birthday celebrations I attended including wedding anniversaries. This year, I know of similar milestones but we are not in normal times, therefore quiet celebrations for the celebrants.

New normal

In the new normal, everybody is grounded. One is on a forced extended holiday. This time, our holidays are limited to the confines of our homes. It is a time to sleep until you get bored and eat till your weight becomes a worry. If one dares to step out, one cannot go dressed up to one’s preference. A new dress code has been prescribed with other protocols because there is a ferocious virus in town which hates togetherness and merry making. Our homes have become the seven-day-a-week offices, conference rooms, board rooms, restaurants and take away joints. The children have discovered new classrooms too.

Pastimes

It has been a time to search for pastimes or actively pursue the pastimes one packed away. The internet has been a useful source, providing companionship for some during these times of restlessness. Unfortunately, one could fall prey to the internet if care was not taken, spending all day searching and surfing and polluting one’s mind with falsehoods and myths.

In some ways however, some are using the internet profitably. It has become a source of knowledge searching and acquiring some education by enrolling in on-line courses.  It has been a time for those who are spiritually minded to read their Bible extensively and study the Word of God.

Many have tried new recipes, read books, started clearing and tidying their homes and getting rid of needless items. There are many who have found useful pastimes they are pursuing. Some have even ventured into new money making projects. But in all these, the saying that the devil finds work for idle hands could not have been more apt at this time.

At a time when people are advised to use internet banking and mobile money for transactions instead of cash which can be an easy way of transmitting the coronavirus, idle hands with sinister motives have quickly turned their attention to fraudulent deals hacking into other people’s hard-earned incomes. Cybercrimes are surfacing in these difficult times as fraudsters are hacking also into banking software.

In this period of Covid-19, we all need to find useful ways to commit our time for there seems to be no end in sight for one to bid Covid-19 goodbye. Keeping occupied with positive mind helps spread calm not fear.

You can reach the writer via email: vickywirekoandoh@yahoo.com