local_offer Covid19 EN

A look at... the Central African Region

A eventTuesday, 21 March 2023

Coronavirus pandemic has changed everything in our lifestyle!

We are confined!

The first case of this pandemic in Cameroon, as in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was detected around March 15, 2020. Five days later, all schools were closed, confinement measures were announced and activities are now running at a slower pace and the lifestyle is changing remarkably.

The confinement measure is easy to observe for the affluent in our society while it is difficult and complicated for the rest of the population. This is because the majority of the population have small houses or apartments in which a large number of people live. On top of this, the living conditions are precarious and the population lives in marginalized areas with very little or even without health infrastructure capable of stemming this pandemic. We can imagine the damage that this pandemic will soon cause to already vulnerable populations. We can also imagine not only the anxiety, but also the worry on a daily basis. We can also already anticipate the great vital questions of the fathers and mothers of families for whom the watchword "stay at home" does not rhyme with the daily worries of feeding their offspring or going about their daily survival activities. Hence the question that we have been asking ourselves: what will hurt Africans more: Covid-19 or daily survival skills?

What do we notice?

For many, alongside the means offered by modern medicine, traditional care seems to be the effective way out of this epidemic. One rather clear observation: the epidemic is causing less damage in the population compared to the panic that has spread through the same population.

At the beginning of this pandemic, the observation was obvious: stress and fear had spread throughout all of our societies, all social strata combined. With time, the trust and security measures observed, as well as the use of medicinal plants, gave hope to everyone.

Moreover, the populations of our countries are mostly young. This may be a possibility that will perhaps limit the harmful consequences of this pandemic in our societies.  

What about our governments?

For the time being, our leaders (Cameroon/DRC) seem to have difficulty in proposing solutions to ensure confinement, given the large and difficult to control population. At present, the media are working hard to raise awareness and alert the population, and to propose attitudes to adopt in the face of this situation that is shaking the world: distance to be maintained between individuals, wearing masks in public places, regular hand washing or the use of hydro alcoholic gel. As for the wearing of masks, given the difficulties people have in obtaining them, people make them themselves. Moreover, as the State is not the only regulator of the price on the market, we note with great regret, an inflation of foodstuff. Hence the risk of a food crisis.

If the Head of State of the Democratic Republic of Congo has questioned his people more than once about this pandemic, the Head of State of Cameroon has not yet spoken out while the country is gradually registering victims of this pandemic. And, in addition, the opponent of the regime, Maurice KAMTO, in an article published in OPERA NEWS of 04/11/2020: "Our country is in danger because of COVID 19 and the Head of State has abandoned ship.”

How do our Communities live during this period?

Our Communities are not on the margins of the rules to be observed: regular washing of hands, use of hydro-alcoholic gel, wearing masks during Community work or outings, respect for the social distance of one meter... All these measures have changed our lifestyle: avoid washing dishes in large groups, no community meeting on certain days dedicated to night adoration, time given to garden work together... We regularly follow the Eucharistic Celebration programs proposed by KTO. We also benefit from Eucharistic Celebrations by our priest friends who, from time to time, pass by our Communities.

Regarding the local churches

The local churches in the countries of our Region have adopted and adapted the measures taken by the governments. Schools are closed, Eucharistic Celebrations with assemblies of the faithful are suspended. Only priests celebrate in the name of the people of God and the faithful follow, through the media, the celebrations of their choice. Some priests have created platforms through WhatsApp where they send homilies to nourish the spiritual life of their faithful in this time of confinement. Some of the faithful follow celebrations offered by the KTO channel. These are all proposals to ensure communion with our pastors.

On the other hand, the churches remain open to allow the faithful to practice the exercises of piety they have always practiced.  

For the Easter Triduum, the Bishop of Yaoundé allowed the celebrations as long as the recommended gestures and attitudes were respected: taking a seat on every other bench, no more than two persons per bench, maintaining a distance of at least three meters.

In short, this pandemic plunges us into anguish and stress because it hits close to home. Although confined, we are living great solidarity and communion with the world by listening to the news and praying. Through our hope founded on Christ's Resurrection, we are convinced that this pandemic will one day be eradicated.

Sister Clementine ADIMAKI NYONDO

Central African Region