What a new year already it is, with unusual events…

Thursday March 26 2020

Coronavirus Kenya

Health personnel measure the temperature of a visitor at the entrance of the Mbagathi Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya on March 18, 2020. PHOTO | LUIS TATO | AFP 

NERIMA WAKO-OJIWA
By NERIMA WAKO-OJIWA
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Ah, the test of faith and absurdity. There is a thin line between religion and sanity. History has demonstrated that religion has caused bloodshed and to date, we are still in holy wars.

What is it about mankind and having a belief of the supernatural or Supreme Being. From monolithic religions to the East where there are several, even in African cultures, there is the belief of a Most High. Whether they lived in mountains, trees, or the sea, one thing remains clear, they existed culturally.

What a tumultuous year it has been and we are literally going into the second quarter. We have heard it all before; the end times when a pandemic will be sent by the devil, and also by God to teach us a lesson. Whatever the case, one thing we can agree on, it has been a busy year of unusual challenges, from locusts, to hunger and floods. And now coronavirus is in our midst.

This past week, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered learning institutions closed to stop the spread of coronavirus, but a day after the directive, I saw students making their way to school, only to find they had been shut.

Then comes the revelation that the coronavirus situation is serious. Actions that governments are taking are fast, because being lax has dire consequences.

African countries know that their healthcare systems cannot manage influx of patients, so prevention and control is their only way to beat the virus. Treatment will obliterate a broken system.

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From every single interaction on social media platforms, to the news, to every day conversations with family and friends there’s one big conversation—coronavirus.

Studying abroad exposed me to friends from all over the world, at least 30 countries.

So on my Facebook account I’m used to seeing comments on family and politics, but currently we are all talking about the same thing—coronavirus—and how countries are dealing with it.

In all this noise, there is the constant push to remain calm. Yet headlines have titles that read “Coronavirus fear keeps faithful from church” or “Scared worshippers avoid church’’.

The virus has definitely done something to our psyche, Christians are busy quoting the Bible and refusing to live in fear, because ‘true’ believers cannot be affected.

The thing about the Bible though, there are verses that can be quoted to justify and that is what still makes it the most read book in the world.

There is one valuable lesson in all this.

The extent that people will take to make sure that they do not put other’s in harm’s way, is a true testament of love and selflessness. And that is the same in every religion.

Nerima Wako-Ojiwa Executive Director, Siasa Place @NerimaW

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