Here in Cote d’ Iovire it was announced last Monday evening that all schools will be canceled for the next 30 days until April 15. Events with over 50 people are banned, sports events and concerts are canceled, and the airport is not accepting flights from places with more than 100 cases. In the past week the amount of coronavirus cases have jumped from 4 to 25 and because people have not been taking the bans seriously there are now more government restrictions as of yesterday.🤦🏾♀️ Restaurants and bars will close but food delivery is still happening and supermarkets will be close at 6pm. In addition there is a curfew of 9 pm until 5 am, public transportation is banned, the borders are closed and there’s no traveling out of Abidjan to surrounding towns. My first response was that’s a whole lot of new changes and I am now wondering how the government and police will go about enforcing some of these things if the public does not comply.
I went to the grocery store yesterday and I had a mild moment of panic. While they were putting hand sanitizer on people’s hands as they entered the building not much else was happening. Most people were not observing social distancing, instead they were standing around having conversations, standing too close to each other, just going about their days as if nothing was happening. A few people were wearing masks but it felt scary and I wondered if more needed to happen in order for people to realize how serious this situation is. It is good to receive the multiple texts from my cell phone carrier telling me to wash my hands and most recently observe social distancing because hopefully people who don’t read the news will at least read their texts (see below). 🤞🏾🙏🏾 On a positive note the shelves were fully stocked and being stocked and the only things that were missing was hand soap and hand sanitizer which makes a lot of sense. From what I hear the country will continue to allow shipments into the country so products should not be a problem. I hope that in the coming weeks this sense of calm remains so that people don’t start panic buying the way they are in other countries.
What does working remotely mean for me as a School Counselor? It means that I will be working from my dining room table until further notice which is good and bad. As an introvert I can staying my apartment for days and be okay but there’s the constant access to food so I am snacking more 😓and moving less and I need to eat so I have to cook which is not my favorite thing. Most of my work with students is through face to face meetings, checkins at lunch and break and so I am stressed about how adequately I will be able to support my students long term. I especially worry about the ones who tend to mask what they are feeling and pretend that everything is okay. So online counseling with teenagers can be hit or miss because they have to answer the call or respond to the email. In the past week I have sent out surveys to students and parents. The counseling department will be sending weekly emails or presentations to parents with information. We’re creating advisory lessons that can be done with little instruction and require students to self monitor. While we ran a regular schedule last week, we are now sending weekly assignments and teachers are available for office hours and some IB classes are meeting a couple of days a week. I have had a couple of google hangout video calls with students and student checkin meetings via Zoom for grades 11 and 12 this week and as is expected some students don’t show up but that is to be expected. We are all getting used to a new system of school. It’s hard as F 🤷🏾♀️
The first week in self quarantine was okay I didn’t leave my apartment, I stayed in and made an effort to be at my computer between 8 and 3:15 pm so students and parents can have access to me. I’m currently at the start of week 2 and it feels different, a bit less restless but with many more questions. However as news come in daily from our principal and Head of school about what is happening in the community, I am left wondering if the school closures will be extended into May. And should I chose to go back to the US to wait this virus out.
For self care, I am listening to more music, adding in a dance break here and there thanks to social media, talking to my family and friends, sometimes reading or listening to audiobooks and watching a lot of new shows. #dontjudgeme I am creating a new normal and I hope over time it will begin to feel less fragile and weird because we seem to be in for the long haul with this quarantine. Who knows what will change tomorrow or by the end of this week. I am especially grateful that my job is not in jeopardy and that I can do it from my apartment because they are many who will lose their jobs in the upcoming weeks. Our lives are changing daily and it’s stressful. I’m holding on to my faith that it will work out for the best but I know that it will be difficult too. #BlackExpat #Edpat #Expatdivas #Blackandabroad #anewnormal #quarantineabroad #lifeinAfrica