and everyone had to stay home

and everyone had to stay home

Since my last post, only a week and a half ago, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa has increased more than ten-fold (currently 709 according to the official government website). So on Monday evening our president once again addressed the nation to announce the next step: lockdown. As of midnight tonight, for the next three weeks, all South Africans except those providing essential services will be confined to their homes. We can leave to go to the doctor or to buy essential foodstuffs and medicine only.

It’s scary. Neither the missus nor I have been sleeping well, and since yesterday I’ve been walking around with a spasm in my neck muscles so severe that I can’t turn my head or raise my right hand above shoulder height. (And I thought my stress levels hit the ceiling when I found out on Saturday that the beach had been closed…).

But I also know it’s the right thing to do, and I’m glad the powers that be are doing this sooner rather than later.

Watching our president’s speech on Monday evening it was reassuring to see him stand there, clearly exhausted, but exuding confidence, calm, and decisiveness (I don’t even want to imagine what it would have been like had we still had the previous guy in charge…)

Less reassuring are some of the statements of his cabinet since, with some of them apparently believing threats and intimidation is the way to get our unruly little country to get in line. I can’t help but feel some of them are enjoying the opportunity to impose their wills on us just a little too much, and I’m very afraid of the long term consequences if this state of disaster is maintained for too long.

Pessimistic? Maybe. But that’s only because I know my history, and while I know that with great power comes great responsibility, I also know that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

How are we holding up? Aside from the fact that I can’t go run out my frustrations on the beach (or at all) and the minion suffering from serious social withdrawal (somehow us two introverts managed to spawn a social butterfly), we’re doing fine. I’m in the very fortunate position that my job is not affected, and aside from not going out at all, our lifestyle is not changing significantly for now. And we’re all three still in perfect health, which is the biggest thing to be thankful for.

We went for our flu shots on Tuesday (that had already been planned before the lockdown announcement) and while the queue at the pharmacy was crazy-long, people were calm. But we could see the dispensing staff and clinic nurse were exhausted, even at 9 in the morning already.

I went into town again this morning for our weekly fresh fruit & veg run and to get bread and milk, and while there were queues outside some shops, those were mostly due to stores trying to limit the number of people let inside at a time, rather than people rushing in droves to stock up. The bread, milk and meat shelves were understandably a bit bare, but otherwise it appears that, in our town at least, people have been behaving when it comes to shopping responsibly.

The cashier at the supermarket was not thrilled at still having to work while everyone else is safe at home. Conversely the car guard in the parking lot was visibly distressed at the fact that he’ll have no income at all for the next three weeks. I tipped him a lot more than I usually do. I hope enough other people have also been over-tipping their car guards, waiters and delivery people the past week. The next three weeks will be much, much tougher one some people than others.

These are unusual times. Wherever you are, and whatever the current situation over there, stay safe, and if at all possible, stay home. Not just to protect yourself, but to protect others as well.

This too shall pass, so have hope. And if you feel yourself losing hope, call someone. We’re all in this together, and just because you’re isolated it doesn’t mean you’re alone.

For those of us in South Africa, if you find yourself in a dangerous situation at home, or at the end of your rope, these might help:

  • Domestic violence helpline: 0800 150 150
  • Childline: 0800 055 555
  • Lifeline: 0861 322 322

Featured image by congerdesign-509903 from Pixabay

6 thoughts on “and everyone had to stay home

  1. I’ve been worried about people in your part of the world, wondering if various goverments will take advantage of the situation, but we can just hope that it doesn’t happen.

    We’re also on lockdown, here in the UK. I’m in a rural area which is good in that there aren’t as many cases here, but bad because there are fewer places to get supplies. I’d been relying on online shops but of course they’re now running out of essentials, and the big supermarkets have no delivery slots. My sister had a brainwave a few days ago and phoned a shop in our nearest village (3 miles away) and asked if they could deliver to us and, after my husband phoned, we had our delivery within 10 minutes! People are at least being helpful and kind.

    I hope you continue to do well – I know it’s difficult for many people having to be indoors all or most of the time, but you’ll get acclimatized to it.

    By the way, I’m commenting from my more personal blog ‘Sandie Seashore’. The usual one I comment from is ‘Colouring The Past’. Just so you know who or what I am!!


    1. but we can just hope that it doesnโ€™t happen.

      Hope and pray, yes, and be ready to hold our government accountable when the time comes. It gives me chills to see comments every now and then to the effect of “China and other authoritarian countries did things right…” Do people forget the past that quickly?

      People are at least being helpful and kind.

      YES! More than anything else, hearing stuff like this lifts my spirits. Today at one point I seriously considered logging out of Facebook to take a break from all the negative news, but there’s also so many positive stories, and we need to keep on sharing those!

      Luckily I have a big garden (which is suddenly suffering under much more attention from its owner), so I’m not stuck indoors, just stuck home ๐Ÿ™‚

      Still hard, though, but I have it much better than many people.

      I wondered why suddenly stuck you in my moderation queue, seeing as you’re a regular here ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Now I have a new blog to explore ๐Ÿ˜€


      1. Yes, people do forget the past, unfortunately.

        I can’t use Facebook anymore. An old friend of mine (from LiveJournal where I blogged before I came to WordPress) begged me to rejoin so we can stay in touch more easily, but I had a horrible time the last time I was on FB and I think my mental health is as important as my physical health. Thankfully there is still email.

        What do you grow in your garden? I think people are starting to realise that they might need to grow veggies and fruit, now, as shops are getting so low on essentials.

        I started my personal blog to try to keep my spirits up – it’s mostly for nostalgia and beauty – current post although talking about the current crisis, too, has pictures of home’s garden. I hope you enjoy it, most people seem to. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Facebook is a mixed bag for sure. Unfortunately my job requires me to be logged into Facebook, which makes avoiding it somewhat difficult.

        What do I grow in my garden? Whatever it wants to grow ๐Ÿ˜€

        I live in the tropics, so the question is rather how do I keep everything growing from taking over. The answer is an assorted collection of pruning shears, saws, loppers and machetes. I haven’t tried growing food yet, because monkeys and moles, but I’m working on a plan. It will have to wait until I can leave the house to visit the hardware store again before I can implement it, though.


      3. We get moles sometimes, thankfully no monkeys! Apropos Facebook, there’s a browser add-on called FBPurity that has loads of filters to enable you to see exactly what you want and filter out what you don’t. Maybe you could set it to show you WordPress relevant stuff and filter out all that crap.


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