I am a 79 year- old male married to a Tanzanian lady and we have a 3 year -old son, they live in Arusha. I have not seen them since the end of June 2019. Our joint plan is to get them to England on a Spouse Visa. Furthermore, I am employed as a Drop in Coordinator for 15 hours a week by a local Charity but instead of normally being at the Charity, one day a week, I have been on my own at home still employed but working differently in the main by doing some research for the Charity and providing a weekly bulletin to all our staff, volunteers and Trustees to keep everyone supported in the best way I can with various ways of doing so, such as reminders of what visitors think of our Project, appropriate African Proverbs etc.
In terms of mental and emotional impact, let me share my thoughts and feelings.
As regards my family in Africa this has been a difficult time for me. I was due to visit them in March this year, but I had to cancel my trip at the last minute due to the start of Lockdown. The experience of not seeing my loved ones for so many months has been difficult to cope with, but my friends and colleagues have been really supportive and helped me manage this situation. At times though I do have a little weep when I hear what I am missing especially as our little boy is doing things that 3 year- olds do get up to. As for my wife I miss her so much, “Watsap” helps but it is not the same. There is also a concern about how they are coping with Covid 19, which is a worry throughout this pandemic.
As regards my employment, it has been quite an adjustment working alone from home. I am very much a people person and miss being with my colleagues most of the time. It requires quite a discipline to be organised and concentrate on the set tasks. It was a bit of a novelty at the beginning but it has been quite stressful at times trying to finish tasks even though no specific time limits have been set. Personal pride comes into it, to complete a task which itself brings its own pressure, albeit self- imposed.
Throughout all this period of time my emotions have been really tested and my mental state but whilst it has not been like normal times or as I would have wished it, I do have a strong Christian Faith which has helped me a lot plus the support of my colleagues and friends. I hope my thoughts of my experience are what you are looking for and may be of some help to other people.
At the start of Lockdown, I wrote a poem on 5th April 2020.
Here I am in my hold, in isolation as we are told
Following the Guidelines to the letter, hope the sick will soon get better.
Days go by, it makes me cry.
Thinking of those in pain, hope my prayers are not in vain.
Maybe we could meet one day but keep our distance come what may.
The day will come when Corona is done
Then we can all celebrate, each with our own best mate.
The experience will have taught, we were lucky not to be caught.
So, let us pray for those who are caring, on the front line with no sparing;
Doctors, nurses. Police and medics, working constantly within their ethics.
Putting their lives on the line, every day and every time.
Where would we be without those who care? At times life can be so unfair.
Let us finish on a positive note, “let’s meet again, don’t know where don’t know when” that gets my vote