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Namibian students in China share lockdown experiences

2020-03-31  Paheja Siririka

Namibian students in China share lockdown experiences
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Namibian students studying in China have exhorted fellow Namibians to take lockdowns seriously as they survived through the whole ordeal with no new local cases reported when China, initially the epicentre of Covid-19 was the first country to impose lockdowns that reduced the spread of the virus.
The Namibian Student Association president in China Junias Haufiku said life in China is getting back to normal and it is getting better. Adding that it is not as intense as it was when the lockdown came into effect.

“Some substations have opened here in Wuhan and we are allowed to go out once in a while, as long as we are careful, and although classes have not resumed, they are currently being conducted online, something that the Namibian students are still getting used to,” he told New Era. As much as it was not easy in the beginning, the students held on to make sure they followed official directives strictly to be safe. “The most common practice we adhered and still are is to stay indoors, exercising regularly, and for us, it was made easy as we were given the rules by the Chinese government and all we had to do was follow them,” shared Haufiku who wants Namibians in Khomas and Erongo to replicate in order to contain the spread of the global pandemic.

He said the group initially panicked with some believing the virus will be defeated and it won’t affect them. “It became a stressful situation when the panic led to some wanting to go home but it got better when we all worked together and corporate and still are working with the government to take the extra precautions,” he recalled.

Haufiku said they did not suffer in terms of food and protective gears. “The different universities worked together to give the necessary equipment and to further minimise movement, the students give lectures money to go and buy the necessary and much-needed stock like masks, gloves and food as some personnel were assigned to assist in such situations,” he pointed out.

Haufiku encouraged Namibians not to take the virus for granted. “Let’s take care of ourselves and our families, boost your immune system, drink warm water, get garlic and lemon, we should not panic and get stressed, take each day as it comes, it’s a normal day, keep on doing what you do, the only difference is you are doing it indoors, ” advised Haufiku. Regarding support from the local government, Haufiku said only the students in Wuhan received US$220. “We are currently 331 Namibians studying in China and only 27 of us from Wuhan received the N$3 864.80 which was sent through the Namibian embassy in China, the embassy also disclosed on the total amount sent by the government and all we know is that the money was specifically for Wuhan students and the ones from the mainland.

Lessons from Covid-19
Third year Architecture student, Irene Adelia Alfons (23) told New Era she has come to learn that one should never take life for granted and that tomorrow is a luxury. 

“I advise that we make use of this time to evaluate the people and things we normally spend our time on if they are worth it. Learn a new skill, become creative and cultivate your talents,” she pointed out.
Alfons said studies have become challenging due to the online platform. 
“But if other students can work with it, so can I. I never thought I would hear myself saying that I miss taking the bus to school, but I sure do,” she reminisced.

She said the Namibian nation should take charge of how this period will affect them. 
“They can either rely on the government to keep them safe or can actively take the necessary measures to assure their safety, in turn, making it easier for the government and the nation at large. 
“Please fellow Namibians, stay home,” she pleads. Danisha /Goagoses (22) is a second year medical student and says the spread of the virus, in particular, the lockdown has taught her patience. “It taught me that everything in life does not always go along with our plans and not every situation is in our control,” she expressed.

/Goagoses stated that cooperativeness is key and that situations can only be solved fast and effectively if people obey all the safety measures put by the government.

She was precise with her advice to her fellow countrymen and women. “I respectfully request each Namibian to obey all commands from the government as it is for their protection and to not disregard life since we all just have one life to live. Take all necessary precautions in fighting the virus and keep good hygiene at all times and to pray as it is just a season that will pass,” she hinted.
/Goagoses wishes Namibians to avoid spreading unconfirmed information about the virus as this causes fear in many people.

Irene Iilonga (28) a Master’s degree in Educational Management student said lockdowns might seem harsh but they are the most effective tools to stop the spread of the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic.
“Self-isolate longer than the required 21 days, the longer people are not in contact with each other the faster the virus will be controlled. That will in turn mean life will get back to normal faster as well,” she said.
Iilonga hinted caution and advised on the importance of the media sharing factual information from authorised, officials on Covid-19 and that unofficial news sources should be avoided. “Do not listen to and/or act upon unverified news or information. Moreover, ignorance is not bliss, learn as much as you can about this virus. Stay safe.” 

2020-03-31  Paheja Siririka

Tags: Khomas
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