Covid-19SLD Blog

Back to Normal

I have lived in Africa through the height of the HIV pandemic.  In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, approx. 25% of the population were infected with HIV and over 1 million people died each year, for over a decade.  I thought that nothing could surpass the sense of fear, loss and grief of HIV, until COVID-19.

Within a matter of weeks our lives and our world have completely changed.  In the first week of working from home, I talked of how I got to work in sweatpants and go to the fridge anytime I wanted.  I thought that after a couple of weeks of being at home, this would all be over, and we would get back to normal.  By week two, people started losing their jobs, things started disappearing from grocery stores and social distancing became a part of our vocabulary. By week three, people started dying and the realization that there is ‘no back to normal’ began to sink into my conscientiousness.

And suddenly, in less time than most of us take for vacation, all the things that we take for granted have been shaken.  The resource ‘rich’ United States is now experiencing a type of ‘poverty’ that we have never known before.  The events and programs that kept us busy have all been stripped away, and we are left to look at ourselves in new and perhaps painful ways.  Asking questions about our identity and purpose in the silence of our social isolation.

We are grieving.  Grieving the loss of lives, grieving the loss of a way of life that has changed. 

We are grieving.  Grieving the loss of lives, grieving the loss of a way of life that has changed.

And perhaps, just perhaps not going back to normal is the best thing that can happen.



written by April Foster, Mission & Culture Department, OTHERS – Director, USA East

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