Lack of Empathy During a global Pandemic

Hello readers! It’s good to have you back ❤️

“We’re all in this together” – A phrase that we have heard uttered countless times since coronavirus began to rob lives, livelihoods and freedom. But truly, are we all in this together? I have seen people taking advantage of this situation in ways that are devastating. It is showing us that even though the earth is telling us to slow down, to reevaluate, to look out for each other, the mentality of so many people is not changing. It baffles me how people can seek opportunity and profit in a time where everything about our current world views are being put into question. But maybe that’s why I’m not rich.

Let’s start with the main culprits in Zimbabwe, our government. The government has received international help in terms of supplies and money in order to help our fight against COVID-19, but where have these resources gone? Honestly, I don’t even know about all of the goods that have been donated to Zimbabwe because the government has been more than ambiguous about it. However, I do know that the United States embassy helped with USD150,000 towards coronavirus prevention through the purchasing of soaps, buckets, hand sanitisers and hand washing facilities. These funds are in addition to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s $470,000 contribution to the World Health Organisation (WHO) to support Zimbabwe’s fight against COVID-19. The aims from the WHO were to support the health facilities in Zimbabwe so that they were ready for testing and treating. Although China’s help in Coronavirus is clearly an investment strategy, they have nonetheless attempted to provide help with the pandemic. According to online sources, the Chinese embassy has supposedly provided the Zimbabwean government with:

  • USD500,000 to improve the main Covid-19 centre: Wilkins Hospital
  • A donation of 216,000 masks, 1,000 goggles and 510 protective suits, 20,000 test kits and 5 ventilators
  • USD3 million to UNICEF Zimbabwe for developing clinics and local infrastructure.

I know, all of this sounds great! But, the problem is that the average Zimbabwean has not seen even one tenth of these donations make a difference to their lives. ‘Donations’ – that is exactly what these are supposed to be but the government is selling them to the people of Zimbabwe, the people who cannot afford them. I mean, if your main priority is making money and greed, it makes completely logical sense and could even be seen as ingenious to sell donated goods. Because it is essentially making money out of nothing. Truly, I don’t know why we are shocked by the corruption, greed and looting. I suppose I just thought that in times of such crisis, the government might actually consider the fact that there are Zimbabwean people dying and starving. None of these donations can be seen anywhere; Wilkins hospital is still in a decrepit state and one knows that if they are going there to get treated, they are going there to die. The test kits are ‘faulty,’ so no one bothers to use them and they are being charged at around USD50/ test. Which is a price that can hardly be afforded by middle class Zimbabweans, let alone majority of the country.

(TechZim.com)

Then we move to the issue of rising prices in the shops. In all honesty, I do not blame the shops for these increases, they have to do what they have to do to get by. I would say again, that this is the fault of our leaders. Our economy is struggling and COVID-19 is not helping, but it is the citizens of Zimbabwe that are unable to make ends meet. At the beginning of lockdown, the president promised to give the people of Zimbabwe 200rtgs/month to deal with coronavirus (for those of you who don’t know, rtgs is the currency currently being used in Zimbabwe). But there are two huge problems with this. Firstly, since the beginning of April not a single Zimbabwean has received their 200rtgs from the government. Secondly, 200rtgs can buy a person either 1kg of sugar or 1litre of oil but not both. With prices skyrocketing in the shops, 200rtgs is not even sustainable for a week. And truly, I wonder to myself, how are people surviving? Are people surviving?

“Education is a once in a lifetime opportunity to open children’s hearts and minds to the unbelievable wonder of the universe.”– Sir Anthony Seldon

Lastly, I want to touch on the issue of schools. This worries me intensely because what will the future of our children be if education is stopped during this period? Most public schools have not re-opened because they do not have the means to conduct online classes. However, these schools along with private schools have increased their school fees. Yes, you heard me right. In an environment where people are losing their jobs and unable to feed their families, schools are increasing their fees. To me, this was one of the saddest injustices to happen during this time. I understand and take into account that schools still have expenses and teachers to pay, however, with most of them not being able to efficiently teach children, this increase is completely unjustifiable. During this time there is going to be an entire generation of children who will not be able to continue school because their families simply cannot afford it. What about the future of our country then? In all honesty, the schools need to do better and realise that children need us all to step up.

I do not understand what is going on around me…Not everyone is fighting the same battles and this pandemic should be opening our eyes to bettering the world not taking advantage of the people who possess the least. I know that there are a lot of people who have been taking advantage of this situation for personal gain and I would just like you to understand that there are real lives behind economic gain.

2 Comments

  1. Highly commendable Alisa,
    Your ability to compile such an amazing piece of knowledge says so much about your values as a person.

    You’ve aced it.
    By way of this write up I’m honoured to share your views.

    Liked by 1 person

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