‘God is in control’, I whisper to myself like a mantra, as I reflect on my life, and look out at the community, whose loud voices sizzle and crack like onions caramelizing in hot palm oil.
Honestly, if I had known there was an impending pandemic that would cause a worldwide lockdown, I’m not sure I would have done anything differently, except appreciate the freedom to roam freely more. These last few months have been tumultuous, to say the least.
After experiencing intense privacy invasion and harassment in the workplace, I left my job and opened my own creative firm, Chi: The Agency. I sat down, rewrote my five year plan, and designed elaborate strategies to move to the next level of my life. Then, COVID-19 began to stretch its ominous hands over the globe, and the world paused.
Fast forward to today, I am here in Ghana, trying to adapt to a changing world, survive a pandemic and simultaneously build with virtual communities.
The numbers worldwide are ghastly, with the globe facing 1,926,000 cases and 120,000 deaths, 582,600 cases and 23,700 deaths occurring in the US, and 25,345 cases with 584 deaths in my home city of Philadelphia.
Ghana is doing very well in comparison, with 636 reported cases and 6 deaths. The Ghanaian government took measures to stop the spread, such as placing handwashing stations outside of essential businesses, closing borders and more. In addition, my President Nana Akuffo Addo is giving out free meals with the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), faith based organizations, and the Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs). He is also paying every citizen’s water bill, supporting half of the electricity bill for every residential and commercial citizen, and covering the full electricity bills for lifeline citizens, for the next three months. The MasterCard Foundation has partnered with the National Board of Small Scale Industries to open the NBSSI Mastercard Foundation Recovery and Resilience Program for MSMEs, to support Ghanaian businesses affected by COVID-19. In the meantime, the Diaspora of Affairs Office of the Presidency of Ghana and the Diaspora Community worldwide have collaborated to create a Diaspora Mobilization Campaign.
I am using this time to learn new areas of expertise that I can monetize, appreciate my loved ones and pursue passions that I have tucked away in my back pocket. I do this through meditation, research, writing, dance, video chats with business partners and family, and Empire (I can’t believe this is the last season! So bittersweet). Apart from Empire, I have been catching up on my favorite IROKOtv shows, such as Single Ladies and Jenifa’s Diary.
Creating a schedule for myself has helped me maintain the better part of my sanity, and although I am homesick of my other home, I am grateful to be in a country that has low cases and a president who is enforcing appropriate practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and support its citizens.
This is such a humbling experience. For me, it is a time to rest, reflect, reset and set goals. Everyone’s reality and coping mechanisms are different, but in this daunting era, I am more inspired than ever to birth projects that will last forever. I take inspiration from William Shakespeare, who was said to have written King Lear, Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra during his time quarantined when the Black Plague broke out in Europe.
Here is a list of COVID-19 support organizations, funds and resources for Philadelphia.
Senior Citizen United Community Services
City of Philadelphia Food Resource Sheet
City of Philadelphia Family Resource Sheet
Philly Performance Artists Fund
City of Philadelphia Testing FAQs
My condolences go out to all of the people affected by COVID-19.
Do you know of any Philadelphia or Ghana resources that weren’t mentioned in this post? Post the links below!
What is an area of expertise you always wanted to learn?