Lockdown in a Refugee Camp

Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi

The news of the moment is a disaster that’s putting our mind into the world of wonder and despair. Questions pending in the minds of Dzaleka residents are: What is the future of Dzaleka Refugee Camp –the home to 45,000 people who survive on donations and aid from the world? What would happen if COVID-19 bang the camp today? Won’t it be a story told to the future generations that there used to be a refugee in Malawi that got smashed up by COVID-19? Great is our fear, panic is so enormous, and the world of information is eating up our happiness.   

The lockdown in Malawi started at a time when I was preparing to participate in a retreat organized by the SNHU’s Global Education Movement. Two days before leaving Malawi, I received a call from the Degree Program’s Coordinator that the trip has been postponed due the current situation of COVID-19. I was so shocked, and that is the time I started questioning the virus that is spreading faster than the wildfire.    

People in Dzaleka already live in an everyday lockdown; adding the second is so dreadful. No one can deny it, we all have to say home and be safe. I am an active member of my church; unfortunately, it is closed and I cannot go there to implore the mercies of my God. On the other side, my school is closed and cannot teach and see my beloved students. They miss me and I miss them. COVID-19 has truly evaporated our peace, joy, and hope from our hearts.  

However, when closely looking at the present moment situation, there is also a good side to it. For example, I have personally decided to shift my focus from this negative perspective of the current situation to a more advantageous one. My lockdown is now a moment of deep reflection and a time to help others overcome the fear that’s consuming their bones. I have realized that the only way to reach growth in this matter of COVID-19 is to stay away from all communications from social media. This gives more time to focus on the family and free the mind from social media feeds. This calamitous virus was not there before. It will pass, and people in the world will just be fine. 

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