The outbreak of the Covid 19 virus in Wuhan seemed too far away from touching base here in Ghana ever. The hypothesis from our weather being too hot and so making us immune to the deadly virus made a lot of Ghana’s citizens a bit too relaxed and confident that we were almost all, if not all safe. Now the virus is here with us.
As a woman and a mother I would like to look at the impact of the virus on the ordinary Ghanaian from two angles. The President’s decision to have all schools closed indefinitely is really laudable. The ban on public gatherings apt.
But just thinking aloud: Many families saw their children off to boarding schools barely two weeks ago. Basic needs as required were provided from mostly the meagre incomes ( not blaming anyone in particular for that though). Parents and guardian breathed a sigh of relief after accomplishing that feat. Families settled in to manage the little resources left for those at home.
Staples and a few other groceries are stored for use of those at home. The budget is very tight. Unfortunately, due to this pandemic, students have come back home to join their families and share with them the little their parents have reserved for those at home. I dread the pressure this will place on families: the stress and frustrations, the fights in the bedrooms due to stress from unexpected and unplanned expenditures among many others.
Soon there will be shortages of various items and provisions. Prices of rice, tin food, detergents, sanitary items and many more will shoot up too. We are already facing a devastating situation where hand sanitizer sellers have arbitrarily increased prices more than 200%. What next? Families have lost loved ones, met and taken decisions on burial and funeral dates.
Our communal society as Ghanaians does not permit the adage “let the dead bury their dead”. I flinch when I think of the unresolvable feuds that we eminently face. ‘Ananse ayɛm’ moso mɛyɛn’. If you are too obedient not to attend family gatherings especially funerals as has been directed by the President of the republic, be prepared to bury your mother and father alone when they pass on. This is just a tip of the iceberg.
Covid 19 is much more deadly and crippling than we may ever imagine.
By Rose Austin Tenadu
Headteacher GAEC Electron School.