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“Surfing is like life. Every wave and every day are different.”

Never really thought of life as surfing; except for the good times, those always feel like a breeze. That being the status quo; it seems we all got complacent; with the assumption that we control the tides, at least in our lives. The current COVID-19 crisis has taught me that life is truly beyond my control, and I should spend enough time acclimatizing myself to that. Wonder who will still put flexible in the curriculum once this has passed? Not my sister.

At the beginning I almost couldn’t believe it; no school? A holiday? Life is good!! On that day I got home at 3.30 pm, hurriedly took off my uniform, cleaned it at the double, I wasn’t going to be needing it anyway till further notice. That’s what Mrs. Ngiyese had said before dismissing the school, till further notice. One week, two weeks, three months, whatever it was, we couldn’t be more excited. On that day, we all stayed out later than usual playing football, none of our parents called, maybe they were celebrating as well.

The house is dead silent, except for mum’s humming in the kitchen as she prepares dinner. This had recently become the norm, it had been four weeks since till further notice, mum was always home. I wondered when she would return to work and have to come home much later after 8 pm, she also seemed ambivalent to when that would be. My sister sat right next to me, scrolling through mum’s phone trying to download past examination papers sent through her class WhatsApp group. She was a candidate, and would relentlessly squint at the phone, I worried for her eyes. The alternative would be to make hard copies at the estate cyber café but it was closed, like most businesses around.

At the dining table that night, mum asks the same question she’s been asking for the past 654 days in quarantine.

Hii Corona unaonaje?”

My father is silent, his views remain the same, as they were yesterday and the day before. He believes that by implementing policies to deal with the crisis that seems to be the solution for wealthier economies and our country isn’t directly contributing to solving the human suffering and economic disruption caused by the pandemic. Imposing a lockdown affects 80% of the population who depend on a daily income, he included. The others including tax breaks, business loans, and interest rate cuts, stemming from a humanitarian perspective may not be sustainable nor a good fit for our country. He argues that the government needs to invest more in its economies, empowering them, especially with information, ensuring equity and provision of quality public services. He always washes dinner down with his favorite joke, “Soon there won’t be enough water, to wash our hands as regularly as the government requires.” Humor seems to be a prerogative as well, during these times, so I don’t blame him.

My biggest surprise is that no one told my parents that the COVID-19 crisis was coming. I have always relied on them to know everything, and other than my teachers in school, my main source of information. I think if they would have known they would have prepared better, maybe mum wouldn’t have started school again this year or bought a new phone. It’s now almost eight weeks since till further notice, I help mum stitch upholstery mats, it started out as boredom for her but now is a source of income. There are daily growing needs, however, the countrywide situation seems to be getting worse.

Is this the new normal or is it till further notice? Will I go back to school? If we do, will I only see my favorite teacher through a computer screen? Will we ever play football again? We were going to win this year’s GreenSport Tournament. I was finally going to upper primary, I would finally get to wear a blue sweater.

The next wave seems round the corner; I hope someone taught my parents how to surf this time.

**A satirical view from an 8-year-old boy’s point of view, who like most us is trying to get a hand of the changes and habituate accordingly. The only thing that is certain, we need to be more involved as individuals, for our own lives, our community, and society at large. **

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