Long time no see! 5 months later, the coronavirus is still with us and the number of cases are rising. Please be safe out there! Mask up, wash your hands and stay home unless it is critical. Many thanks to everyone who checked on me when I was unwell. I am much better now and itching to get back to storytelling. Also December is almost here. Isn’t that exciting? *does happy dance* If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know I have been ready for Christmas since April and it is finally here! Happy reading, ladies and gents!
‘Pregnant? How can I be pregnant?’
Adede stared at the second red line, scowling as hard as she could.
‘This isn’t supposed to happen.’
The second line wasn’t going anywhere. She picked up another test and tried again.
Maybe the test is faulty. Or the urine has something in it.
That is a thing, right?
She started sweating.
I checked my fertility app, didn’t I?
She stopped for a moment to try and recall what she saw when she looked at the app. The day before she packed her bags to go for what Kwame called ‘Quarantine Harem’. She was too excited to be practical and sensible. Kwame’s family had a nice getaway in Aburi with the works- privacy, the most amazing view, a chef, a gigantic pool and all the comforts that regular life in Accra could not give her. All 14 of them who headed up to Aburi had the same agenda- Forget Covid. Chop life.
And chop life they most certainly did. Barbecue parties, movie marathons, every kind of drink, every flavour of shisha, midnight swimming. It was a blast, especially because she and Kwame were back in a good place. Perfect timing too, or else she would have died of envy holed up in her apartment while the rest were having the time of their lives.
Wait, we were there for 2 weeks. I menstruated just before I left. Oh my goodness, I definitely ovulated during that time.
‘There is no way Kwame would believe me. I don’t even believe it myself. I am always so careful.’
I blame Nana Addo for all this. I forgot what day of the week it was because he said we should stay indoors. How was I supposed to remember that Week 2 of the lockdown was baby making season? Was it the night we watched Miracle in Cell No 7 on Netflix? That movie was so emotional!
She called her brother, Nene. He was always the person to call whenever she did something stupid or reckless, which was rather often.
‘What did you do?’
‘Wow! No ‘how are you, sister?’.’
‘What for? We all know you are always up to no good. What could possibly be different?’
Nene let out a loud laugh.
‘Ei, no be small be fruitful and multiply. Nana Addo said you should stay home and practise social distancing. You chose to go out of town to make a pandemic baby.’Tweet
‘Pandemic baby? That’s what we are calling it now? I feel like throwing up. Oh goodness! Is my life over?’
‘On the contrary, your life just got ten times more interesting.’
Lawrence stared at the phone for a good 5 minutes, long after the line had cut. It was Brother Sedem, his accountability partner from church.
It wasn’t that he had a problem with him. He just didn’t have the heart to lie to Brother Sedem about why he didn’t tune in to church service or to bible study this week.
How could he fit ‘I have started masturbating again’ or ‘I haven’t opened the Bible in 3 weeks’ into his response? Brother Sedem would probably die of shock and everyone would blame COVID-19.Tweet
It was easier to blame his absence from church on the internet connection not being stable (funny enough it never buffered on the porn websites). He felt like he was drowning but opening his mouth to call for help was so difficult.
For the first time, he really understood what the Bible meant by ‘not forsaking the gathering of the brethren’. The first Sunday of the lockdown, he had woken up early and dressed up for the online service like he was actually going to church. The Sunday after that, he decided to cook some Indomie during the worship session because he had not had any breakfast. By the 3rd Sunday, he was lying in bed with the sermon playing like background music. He almost never made it through any of the services without falling asleep.
It was so much easier when he could attend services and bible study sessions during the week. There was so much to occupy his mind and there was so much accountability that he didn’t have the luxury of being idle and the burden of dealing with temptations. Last week, he had told himself that he could at least try to pray in tongues for 10 minutes a day to edify his spirit. He never even finished the first 10 minutes and yet everyday he opened his Bible app to maintain his streak.
Get it together, Lawrence! God isn’t relaxing the marking scheme just because it is a pandemic. Get help if you need it.
He picked up the phone again and dialled Brother Sedem’s number. There was something his father always said- there is nothing like taking the first step in the right direction. He was lucky enough to be in a church community that wouldn’t ostracize him.
‘Brother Sedem! Yes, it’s been a while. I am fine by God’s grace. Actually, I am not……’
Stephanie pulled down her nose mask for a few seconds and inhaled the fresh air. Every two hours, she made her way to the rooftop of the building just to breathe in some air. In a way, that was what was keeping her sane.
Every morning at 6am, she put on a nose mask and got out of her car. Her day revolved around providing care to the COVID-19 patients in one of the government treatment centres. She checked vitals, noted changes, ensured that the patients had taken their medication and followed the doctors on their rounds to monitor progress. There was no official lunch break and when she remembered to eat, she didn’t have the appetite to go through with it.
One of her colleagues had a 3 year old child and nobody to leave her with, so she brought her to work and left her with some of the kitchen staff, popping in when she could to check on her. They were all making sacrifices and she was wondering how much more they could handle. She had heard rumours that some of the health personnel in some of the centres were not even fed and had to look for food on their own. She was due for her annual leave but there was no way she could ask for the time off. Her HOD was already under enough pressure as it was. She could not do that to him.
The week the lockdown was lifted had left her with the biggest pit in her stomach. The woman in the ward just ahead of her was literally fighting for her life after one afternoon in the market. The old man who had asthma had contracted the virus from his grandson who went for a party without a mask. One of the young men had gotten it from his work colleagues because he felt secure around them. The teenage girl that they had just discharged could probably have dizzy spells for the rest of her life.
My people are very Nyame bɛyɛ. Even simple things like not littering or not crossing the road at unauthorized points was difficult, how much more wearing masks and observing social distancing. God help us all!
The meeting was giving her a migraine and it had just been 5 minutes. Akorfa muted herself and walked to the fridge to pour herself a glass of water.
Whose idea was it to have a virtual PTA meeting? It was probably one of the overzealous parents who criticized everything, from the contents of the school newsletter to the seasoning that was used in the children’s meals. Apparently the concentration of MSG in the seasoning powders were detrimental to a child’s development. Yeah Mrs Koomson was the definition of thorough.
She was the same person who was concerned about how inclusive a Zoom meeting would be. Mind you, she had a laptop and tablets at her disposal but she was concerned about those who didn’t. She was also the same person who had a problem with having such a lengthy meeting via WhatsApp because of the number of people who had something to say. She had something to say about everything.
The headmaster, Mr Adu, was having a hard time justifying the new timetable and the new schedule of fees.
‘Mr Adu, are you expecting us to sit our children through the lessons, supervise their work and monitor their progress, while paying almost the same amount of fees? If I am doing the teacher’s job, why should I pay the teacher’s salary?’Tweet
Mrs Koomson had a point there though…
Mr Adu wearily responded, ‘I know that we are not in normal times and the current arrangement requires a lot more effort on the part of the parent, but I assure you that we are not trying to rip you off. The teachers are the ones who prepare the lesson notes that you use and they are also the ones who take the children through the online classes.’
Mr Heidelberg, one of the more easygoing parents also spoke up.
‘I for one, think the teachers should be paid even more. Sitting through a 45 minute lesson with my twin boys is physically and emotionally draining. Having to go over lessons and assignments with them shows me how much we take these teachers for granted. I definitely appreciate the efforts of these teachers more than I did before.’
Mrs Koomson’s rebuttal was swift.
‘I understand where you are coming from. You are an expatriate who is not as directly hit by the pandemic as the rest of us are. Some of us have lost our jobs, contracts have been renegotiated, where on earth are we supposed to get the money to pay teachers who are doing half the work they usually do.’
Akorfa nearly choked on her water. She quickly reached for the unmute button.
‘Mrs Koomson, I think that is a very inappropriate comment to make. Nobody is in a position to determine who has been more affected by the virus. At the beginning of the year, nobody here had any idea that this was going to happen. We simply have to adapt to the situation. I will be the first person to admit that it is far from ideal, but we need the teachers just as much as they need us. I think we should try and make Mr Adu’s work easier.’
Some of the other parents chimed in their approval and Akorfa hit the mute button again.
She did notice that Mrs Koomson had left the Zoom meeting.
Till we meet again, Mrs Koomson!
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