Opinion

Hope is all we need these critical times

By Ngor Khot Garang

The outbreak of coronavirus and the lives it has claimed so far has sparked massive fear resonating from South Sudan and the whole world. This is a kind of fear that psychologists termed as an in-your face that continues from morning until night.

We can’t sleep at night. We think of our families and children. And the failure of the strong and viable nations like United States, Russia, and China to contain the virus make us weak and pessimistic about the future.

These countries have been known in human history to be the minds behind the greatest inventions of our times. They have created long-range missiles, robots and some of the medicines, which have cured some of the life threatening diseases, and saved many lives globally. But their failure to contain this virus is a question we cannot find answers to.

The fear is coming everywhere-the doom and gloom headlines in the newspapers, the fear of a coughing friend, the fear to move anyhow, the horrible scene in the news about people dying as a result of the virus and the fearful voices in our minds that continue to remind us of how hard it would be should there be any confirmed case of the virus in the country.

The fear of the virus could be very hard to deal with especially if you have so many fears like the fear of where to get food, water and other basic requirements.

In Africa or South Sudan in particular, we don’t have savings because most of us live hand to mouth kind of life. Whatever little things we get from our daily struggle go directly to the mouth and school fees for children. And majority of our people do not have well paying jobs. We also need to wash our hands with soap and water after 10 minutes. We need face or surgical masks and alcohol hand sanitizers, which needs money.

This makes it hard to imagine a future where people would be staying home and work from home to contain the global pandemic. How many will survive hunger if all the businesses, work and public buses are put on halt?

We need to have courage and hope that nothing lasts forever. It is okay here because we are still moving and are still using public buses. But in other countries, people are indoors and everyone is crying.

In Italy and Spain the story is hard to describe, there is no hope for a better world there but they have not given up. People die like flies and many media reports had it that one person die after every 3 minutes in Italy and millions of people have lost their jobs. All the businesses have been shut down.

There is no signal that things will get better. New cases of the virus are recorded daily and fears of the virus kill some people and hunger on the other hand is threatening others. The world seems like it is coming to an end but it is not.  This is the beginning of the days of suffering and amidst these days,  hope is all we need to cling on. 

The world did not come to existence in 2020, it has been there thousands or millions of years ago and events worse or similar to coronavirus have been experienced by the world several years but people have remained strong and push through.

We have to let go of fear and see the ways on how to protect ourselves from these virus and it would not be long before the virus is defeated but the problem is how we are going to push through within these short span of time. Majority of South Sudanese do not have well-paying jobs. And staying home means we have shopping and everything is well catered for in the house.

Even if it is only for two weeks, how many people can afford that? I sometimes think the first shocking case to be reported would be of someone who died of hunger strike. The orders imposed by the government on the citizens as a way to contain the pandemic are good but the government should also recognize that majority of us are poor.

The prices of good and transport fares have tripled and to stay home is like waiting for one’s time to be lowered in the grave because how can one make it at home without food in the house to eat. The solutions to managing this global phenomenon are proving more disastrous than the virus itself.

We cannot afford lockdowns but we don’t have choice.  We want to survive and build a better future for our children.  Let us just go through it and God will protect us on the way. I know even before coronavirus, it was hard for many families to put food on the table or to send their children to school but they remained hopeful knowing that better days will emerge.

Now the story has changed and their dreams for a better tomorrow seemed wasted but that is not true. We might be mourning today and we are faced with new challenges daily but our story will change one day. When you woke up in the morning alive and healthy, give glory to God and let your hope shine, there are people who go to bed at night not to wake up in the morning. God loves South Sudan!

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