This virus should leave us a better country

Wednesday May 13 2020
By ABIGAIL ARUNGA

Here’s what I want to see after Corona is out, and no, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke.

I want everyone who was working, and working overtime, at their essential jobs to be given a raise. All of them. And staggered holidays. Because they deserve it and even now, there is no way we are going to get through this without them.

These include but are not limited to: bankers, doctors, nurses, supermarket cashiers, stockers, food delivery drivers, chemical engineers, manufacturing employees, and pharmacists.

The list goes on – mostly because as a typical Kenyan, I don’t even know the whole host of people who it takes to keep Kenyans fed, and keep other Kenyans fighting this thing.

I hope when medics are going on strike, we remember that they already asked for all the resources that they are lacking now. I hope we begin to understand that every day, for them, is a brush with something that may or may not kill them, and they’ve been the soldiers in this battle for years already.

In the same vein, I never again want to see anyone telling me, a freelance writer, that all I am doing is worth peanuts.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but now everyone seems to be getting through whiling away the days (if indeed they are whiling away the days) largely through social media, and/or the products of creatives all over the world.

Creatives are the ones making videos for education, giving out free concerts, doing live free DJ sets, telling people how to make basic masks and then adding an Ankara touch to it if only to make sure you don’t touch your face, thinking of a hundred different quizzes for people to do on WhatsApp concerning fruits and grammar and who knows what else.

Entertainment is not just entertainment. It is an industry that deserves respect, and has done so for a long time. It is not just ‘writing something small’ or ‘just drawing a ka-picture.’ It is fundamental to the human race.

Finally, I am ready for a capitalist and socialist revolution.

Capitalist in that we finally realise that money is not the be all and end all of everything, and that preserving human life surely has to be more important than employers in non-essential work forcing their employees to continue going to work, scared and unable to fight the man – and that there are bigger and more important things than how much money you can make in a month, when the ability to make money is taken away.

Socialist in that we finally realise that community should be valued above all, because when everything leaves, that is all that is left; socialist in that we look to our fellow humans and realise that not everyone has water to wash their hands 12 times a day, and that is not right and will never be; socialist in that we actually have motivation to fix our crumbling systems before they ruin us altogether; and socialist enough for when the time comes to go to a ballot, we choose based on a hunger we remember from now, when leaders could not buy masks but could buy campaign shirts, in the absence of welfare systems or a system that cares about us.

I hope we remember to choose us after coronavirus.

Twitter: @AbigailArunga