María-Vázquez-Dodero. Burkina Faso


30/03/2020

That’s all we needed… COVID 19 has arrived here!

Maria Burkina FasoIt was inevitable, even if I hoped that some kind of “natural justice of things” would make this pesky coronavirus (not to be called otherwise) spare this continent that already suffers from so many other viruses (not only carriers of diseases), it was not so.

In such a poor country, long in Islamic war and now in civil war, we are “entering the tunnel” of COVID 19, that’s all we needed!

It has only been two weeks since they diagnosed the first case of infection. The government, waiting to see how the situation develops before taking further action, has so far dictated the following:

 

  • Closure of air and land borders, except for the transport of goods;
  • Closure of all types of schools, public transport companies, all leisure facilities (bars, nightclubs, etc.).
  • Restaurants may only serve take-away food.
  • Curfew from 7pm to 5am
  • Prohibition of meetings of more than 50 people
  • In addition, the Catholic, Protestant and Muslim communities, organizations of great importance in this society, have suspended all religious celebrations.

The curfew may seem insufficient, but we must take into account the reality that we are living here. It is very difficult to declare total confinement. Almost no family has the capacity to store the minimum amount of food necessary to even confine themselves for 24 hours.

In a “housing” of a single room of a few square meters and without electricity, little can be stored.

Besides, as you have heard me say several times, here we survive from day to day. Women have to go out on the streets every day to earn some money to buy the bare minimum to eat that day or to fetch water and firewood for cooking. This explains the general mentality that prevails now: “If I don’t die from coronavirus, I will starve to death, and I am more likely to starve to death than to die from coronavirus…”. It’s realistic. It’s tough.

Last Saturday, the 22nd, was the first day of curfew. I’m glad the police took the order very seriously. But I’m shocked and saddened by the way it was done.

Because here, the fine for going out on the street does not work well and the system for sending you home if you have skipped the curfew is by force… The same Saturday night we already had some shocking videos and pictures about it. And also some “funny” ones, like the three elderly people who went fishing when they shouldn’t have, and who were asked by the police to do some push-ups on the ground repeating: “I have to respect the curfew, I have to respect the curfew, I have to respect the curfew, I have to respect the curfew, I have to respect the curfew…”

I am aware that today, who would have believed it, we are in a better situation than you are in Europe, and that we are all focused on praying, believers or non-believers, each in his own way, for Spain, Italy, France, etc. But, please, do not forget to make room in your prayers and thoughts for us so that the virus realizes that it doesn’t like the heat over 40 degrees and decides to spare us …

María is a member of the NGO Friends of Rimkieta. Article extracted from her blog

(Translated by Paola Fourcaud)

Friends of the foundation