I attended my event planning and management class before the lockdown began on 18th march. My classmate was coughing and sneezing that week. COVID-19 awareness was low, so no one used a facemask or social distance. It was only the news of the Italian man who came to Lagos with the virus. A week after the Lagos state lockdown to commence the federal lockdown, it started with a WhatsApp post that listed the symptoms of covid-19 on each day; my husband read the complete message. At evening, he started complaining of sore throat and slight cough, I was truly afraid, I gave him hot tea and hot bath. In the morning, he affirmed that it has gone and he feel much better. The next day, I started experiencing strange feelings around my neck and chest; it was sniffing and hanging as if a hand was around my neck. After some days, I started having severe internal heat that usually occur at night like fire burning around my neck, my ankles and legs. Then in the morning, I will feel very weak as if strength was drain out of me. I embrace the night with fear and panic and the morning with hope for a better day. My fear increased when I tried to reach my classmate and her lines not always not available for more than 2weeks.
On Sunday, 5th of April, my 10years wedding anniversary, I placed a call to a doctor friend and explained the situation. She suggested call NCDC to carry out the COVID test, I gave my consent. I also send a WhatsApp message to a director in Ministry of Health, Lagos. I sent my address and phone number to them but all their effort to get across to NCDC was abortive. While we were waiting to hear from NCDC, my husband hurried out to buy a worm expeller. He insisted I take the worm expeller on empty stomach and wait for 3hours before food. I followed his instruction since the medical experts all refused to come to my aid. Surprised, I felt much relief that day after taking the worm expeller and for few days. He decided I treat malaria and typhoid also to be on the safe side. He became my home doctor.
I tried to carry out personal risk assessment to determine if I have contracted the virus. I do not have any contact with anyone that just came back from abroad, I did not visit any risk prone area, and I have stayed at home as instructed apart from going to Iyano Oba market once before the lock down. I have maintained social distancing and wash hand frequently with soap. I could not devoid the fear that have already consumed me. I embraced my Bible and consoled myself with Psalm 91, 16, Exo 23:25 and other verses while trying the several treatment options circulated on WhatsApp - hot tea, hot bath, garlic, ginger, lemon, bitter kola and frequent drinking of hot water. After taking them during the day, at night I face the battle of internal heat. My husband was my strength; he prays, encourages me and assured me that it was not COVID-19. He did not stop asking for his sexual entitlements to help me realize that I am full of life. The feelings continued for a month and even becomes unbearable.
On Tuesday 5 May, my husband when to see a pharmacist who attested that it is symptoms and signs of peptic ulcer. He gave him some drugs for me and assured him that I will get better after 3days but the drugs will last for 5days. To my greatest surprise, I truly got better. It was a testimony for me because I prayed and cried out to God for help. I actually sent him to get my ginger and garlic but he opted to go to the pharmacy.
However, the truth was that I was battling with fear and faith. There is only a thin line between them. As an empowerment trainer, I needed to put in practice what I teach and each time I hears my coach Mrs. Busayo Obisikin voice echoing, “Where you place your attention grows”. I write the quote at the door of my room and read it out to myself every day. It was not an easy task sustaining and placing attention on faith in the midst of all the discomfort I experience on my body. Coupled with the rising death cases from COVID-19 around the world and in Nigeria. I tried to place my thought on my survival and recovery. I would always ask myself what am feeding on - Fear or Faith. I came up with the fact that Faith is “Fighting to Accept Imaginations The heart speaks”, which means Faith Speaks when we listen and hear the word of God. So, I glue to my Bible and Christian channels for the word. Faith takes you to where your senses cannot reach while fear is only “False Evidence Appearing Real”. Fear makes us believe the litany of lies about ourselves but faith makes us a living creed.
I started Girls Corner on June 27 at about some minutes to 12 midnight; I was fighting to believe that my dreams and visions are still very relevant. I could not find sleep until I followed my heart to set up the group even if it is just one person. With almost 200 members on the group is what I could not imagine, the lectures, the discussions, it was pay as you go with ideas cos I was not too such what to do but to keep sharing the few information that could save the life of someone. Girls Corner is one of my greatest achievement for 2020 with all the storms of pain and sickness. It objective is to create a safe place for girls talk, find answers to burning issues and interactions with mentors. To empower girls and women with life building skills to become assertive and recognize danger signs of gender based violence. We have had over 25 weekly free online class and 6 monthly spark discussions. With my smart troubling phone and monthly data, I was able to reach over 200 girls and women on WhatsApp. Using technology in a simple way to impact lives.
My 2020 experience gave me the opportunity to discover my strength and weakness, to learn that i should not give up on my self no matter what the situation may look like. We should hold on to our vision and make effort to achieve it. No one can take us to our place of honour without our effort. The year was tough but there were opportunities for those who think outside the box. So, think and do not box up yourself at a place or lose trust in yourself and vision. Be at peace with your family and friends for they are your support system, follow instructions to avoid destruction, avoid reading and sharing so many social media jargons.
As you prepare to take the journey of 2021, Buckle up my dear friends and sisters! Make effort to discover what you really want for your life. Discovering what you want is often a revelation in itself. Knowing your deepest heart can mean avoiding years spent pursuing other person dreams. Once you have a life vision worthy of your fullest effort, it is the first step of your empowerment. You will also need to learn techniques to transform beliefs that limits you and bring your life vision into full manifestation. Always remember to Water the Seeds, and Not the Weeds that is focus on solution not problem. Do not settle for less when you are capable of achieving more. Do not forget that Miracles DO Happen! Let your achievement in 2021 be your miracle and testimony. I wish you a save journey in 2021, all the best