This is a chance to hit the reset button, prepare for better times

Wednesday May 13 2020
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To limit the spread of coronavirus, this lady is wearing a face mask, in Nairobi on April 9, 2020. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By MUTUMA MATHIU

In the deepest pit of my stomach, I feel very good about this year.

I don’t know whether this is foolish optimism or just the inspiration an aggressive fellow draws from being faced with a hopeless situation.

Whatever the case, we are fighting for survival as a species, as a nation, as communities and as families.

Today I went running — more like crawling and waddling — for hours in the bush and I felt as if 30 years had dropped off my age.

Why? I took along Lionel Richie, Madonna, Boys II Men, Aerosmith, my boy Billy Ocean, Celine Dion, John Lennon, John Legend, Peabo Bryson, Shania Twain, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston and other friends from my youth.

The energy in my legs, the explosion of loud, good sound in my head, the peace and disconnection; I felt like a young thug high on spiked shisha from one of those disreputable clubs.

And I had some time to think and order my thoughts about this Covid-19 scenario. None of us can be sure whether we will live or die.

The infection can come from the most unlikely of places. And once you are infected, nobody knows for sure how the disease will progress.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

So, how does one deal with the uncertainty and darkness of the coming months? Here are 10 things to consider.

First, please don’t beat your wife. And if you are a lady, especially the girls from Nyeri, please refrain from knocking him out with an upper cut.

Because you are forced to spend a lot of time together, you are coming face to face with your choices (or mistake thereof).

And you can’t escape to the bar, work, family meeting, church group or whatever excuse people use to get out of the house.

Until the end of the shutdown, do everything not for your own pleasure, comfort or convenience but for that of your spouse, roommate or whomever you are living with.

Violence in these times is easy to provoke but its consequences and impact will destroy everything.

Second, mind the children. Pay attention to them, what they are doing, thinking, experiencing.

Children are mainly attacked by those near them, those they trust and those the parents least suspect.

Right now, there is an upsurge of defilement. Please make sure yours do not fall victim to the sex pests.

FACE MASK

Third, don’t be a fool. You are not the cleverest fellow in the country; your interests and greed for money are not the most important things now.

Your survival is at stake and the only way you are going to live is by working with others. If you haven’t figured this out yet, you probably won’t make it.

It is the behaviour and decisions of others that will determine your fate. If other people go out of their way to secure your life, you will live.

In exchange, whatever you do, don’t put other people’s lives at risk. Those who knowingly spread disease or are careless or do not have the courage to do the right thing, these are very bad people.

Fourth, always wear a face mask in public. If, like many of us, you are using the funny local ones, wear two.

If you can afford and can find them, buy a non-hospital N-95 respirator. Handle the mask by the straps, never touch the front; wash your hands thoroughly before you wear and after you remove it.

Don’t listen to the endless arguments about whether you should cover or not: just cover.

NEW ECONOMY

Fifth, forget the past. There is no going back. God has reached down from the sky and pressed the reset button.

Focus on reinventing yourself. If you were selfish, a thief or an evil person, here is a chance for you to atone and become a better person.

If you were struggling, prepare for a new economy. There will be opportunities for innovative people in the ruins of the global economy.

Sixth, prepare for the worst but work very hard for the best. Conserve the little cash you have, manage your relations, work very hard to keep disease out of your office and your home but allow yourself to work out the options if disaster strikes.

Should you and your spouse fall ill, who will take care of your children? Who will take care of you? If you live alone, is there someone you can call?

Seventh, remember your parents. In many families, the job of taking care of the parents is left to only one or two people; the rest are comfortable passengers.

Do your part in paying the bills and taking care of the old folk: they are endangered.

BE PATRIOTIC

Eighth, take care of your workers, especially in your home. They have probably created wealth for you, taken care of you.

This time, they need you. If you sack them to keep your bills down, you are sending them out to an almost certain death.

Share the little you have; it’s enough for survival. And that’s what we are all fighting for.

Ninth, it’s our country. It’s our fight. Be a patriot. Give when required. Serve if you can.

Finally, when this is all over, we really need to have a grown-up conversation about how we have been running this place.

If we don’t stop delegating our survival to people who think our opinion is ‘crap’, we will not survive.

Together, we’ll beat this thing.

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