On Friday, 13th March 2020 our patron, Swahilipot Hub who is also the chair of the board SwahiliPot Hub and KRCS Mombasa County, call in at work and asked us to stock in sanitizers and also organise hand washing water before the entrance of the building. This was after the first case was announced in Kenya. We all got into a panic mode but adhered.
On Sunday evening, 15th March after the president of Kenya announced all public places should be closed and people to work from home, that is when it dawned on me that coronavirus disease is officially in town. Sph is a community center and we all work with the youth to develop each other. I went to the office, picked up my belongings and came back home to create a new vision board and goals.
On Tuesday afternoon, the chairman of Kenya Red Cross Society Mombasa County, Mr. Mahmoud Boor called me and asked if I could get talented youth who could sensitize passengers using the ferry to cross, to wash their hands. The handwashing activity began immediately since it was the first cheapest measure to take as protection from the virus. Taps were built and people were being urged to wash their hands whenever they crossed the ferry. This was also to remind them that they should wash their hands wherever they are. He told me “I want you to tell a story. Create an impact on the people who are not here and let them know what is happening”
I came in when people were still washing hands at the ferry area. I helped the volunteers in serving the liquid soap for commuters in order for them to wash their hands and also create awareness of the then newly announced coronavirus disease.
Recently, together with my colleagues from the communication team, we tweeted a photo of a lady who used bottles to cover their mouths and noses to prevent COVID–19. All this credit goes to the photographer. I am so proud of him and a member of Swahilipot Hub execute team, we have a huge surprise for him once we overcome this pandemic. I am glad the photo went viral and the governor, Mombasa County looked for this lady and helped her financially. He stated that she is among very few people who really cannot afford and aren’t ignorant. My aim is to show people who are online on how the real situation on the ground is like. Motivate people and give people hope that it is all going to be okay. Brighter days are coming.
In as much as we all receive bulk SMS and reminders from World Health Organization and The Kenya Red Cross Society, we need individuals who are going to be reminding the online users regularly on the importance of taking precautions and staying safe. Most of the youth in our times ignore messages from official senders but check messages from individuals they follow or relate with. That is why it is my duty to make sure the people who are at home and spend time online really know that COVID-19 is real out here, people are actually falling sick and measures are being taken.
Sharing photos about social distancing and the disinfectant spray booth passage at the Kenya ferry will put some sense in that person who is indoors for them to keep on staying in, for their own safety, or come out only when necessary and making sure they are well protected.
The chairman Mombasa Branch, Mr. Mahmoud Noor has been using local radio stations to educate the community on how they can protect themselves, and provide useful information to minimise myths going around about the disease and it is our work to spread out the information that he gives. To make sure it is heard nationally and internationally.
Finally, I thank the Kenya RedCross Mombasa branch for organizing training sessions to all the COVID-19 response team on the whole corona Virus Disease 2019. It’s myths and facts, did and don’t and most importantly, our role as volunteers. What we really are supposed to do and how we also are going to protect ourselves as we help others.