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Corona Chronicles - Living in Ghana During COVID-19

March 25, 2020

Corona Chronicles - Living in Ghana During COVID-19

As of today there are 25 active cases of COVID-19 in Ghana. All are in isolation and reported to be recovering well to treatment. 

I was in Australia when the toilet paper panic buying began. It was really unbelievable how fast it spread and now to see entire supermarkets with empty shelves is just so hard to believe. I am very grateful I made the decision to return back to Ghana when I did. Food is still very much in abundance here and it feels like we have more options available to us to purchase food. Typically we buy our fresh food from the market and then other non-essentials like snacks, frozen foods, from the supermarket. There are lots of restaurants and cafes that are offering non contact home delivery. Street hawkers continue to sell T-rolls (aka toilet paper) so you can literally buy toilet paper on the side of the road! I’m sure many Aussies will be jealous of that! If only the street hawkers in Ghana could see how much T-rolls are selling for on Gumtree and Ebay! I have not really seen any panic buying going on in Ghana. I guess we are still in the early stages.

Even though so far we seem to be less impacted here, the Government has gone into swift action to close schools, encouraging self isolation, enforcing no mass gathering and social distancing rules as well as shutting the borders to restrict no entries or exits from the country. Personally I felt relief once we knew borders were being closed as most cases here (as is globally) are imported and it seems the travellers and airports are cesspools of infection. Yesterday large market places and streets were being fumigated to prevent spread of the coronavirus. The Government actions might seem extreme, as even Australia has not yet closed schools, but in a way there is a lot more at risk here. The health systems and infrastructure of countries that are supposedly much more developed are not coping, so the panic here is very much focused on the weak health care systems. 

fumigation in ghana

When Ghana had just but a few cases, Kelvin and I discussed returning back to Australia but at that stage, Australia’s situation felt a lot worse than here, with lack of supplies and cases growing exponentially by the day. We felt the action being taken here was much swifter. We weighed up the fact that it would be near impossible to stop our kids from touching surfaces and putting their hands near their faces at the airport and on the flight. We’d basically need to straightjacket them! We felt the long flight, being on the plane for that long and exposing them to the airports would be a far greater risk than staying home here in Ghana.

So we are basically at home in self-isolation like everyone else in the world. Facing the same dilemmas as other parents. How the heck do we homeschool AND save our sanity. How on earth do we balance working from home while all the kids are here? It seems the economy globally is slowing down so financial pressure is on us all. It is a massive test of patience in a time when the energy around us is really low and so much uncertainty hanging over us. So we are living day-to-day, just focusing on maintaining a positive vibe. We have been doing this by:

  • Setting a structure to the day but not really adhering to a routine as such – this is really me down to a tee – I like the idea of being organised so I set a to do list or a time table, which puts me at ease, but I rarely actually stick to it LOL essentially we are following a day that looks a bit like:
    • a bit of school work in the morning
    • snack
    • something fun like cooking, craft, lego etc
    • lunch
    • something physical like hide and seek, swim in the pool, swings, trampoline, a short walk within our estate
    • afternoon snack
    • something low key like reading time or colouring in
    • dinner
    • we then allow some tv time

homeschool in ghana 

There are millions of awesome resources online but it can be totally overwhelming on where to even start so I tend to stick to these two websites:

Super Teacher Worksheets 
Free Weekly Study Packets from Education.com 

Our friends over at Very Puzzled have also put together some free downloads on different African countries. You can download the free sheets here.

homeschool in ghana

  • Kelvin and I have been balancing time with the kids with trying to get some work done but lets face it, we are probably getting about an hour of work done a day. And we are ok with that, the kids are and always will be our priority.
  • We’ve also been allowing ourselves our own space and time alone to unwind, check in with ourselves mentally, just re-set from the intensity of the surrealism of these days.
  • Keeping up with our exercise routine. We live in an Estate that is fairly self-contained so we have been going for a regular jog around the grounds. Combining this with our own routine at home. We take the kids with us for stroll in the afternoon.
  • I generally meal plan for the week ahead anyway but we have definitely had a lot more focus on food, managing what we are eating, not going too hard on snacking and comfort foods and really upping our immune boosting foods like ginger, turmeric, leafy greens, fruits etc avoiding low frequency foods. Being a lot more on top of our supplements too.
    raw food diet
  • Really making time for getting outside in the sun – a bit easier for us here in Ghana but what I do miss is how accessible and how close we used to live to the beach back in Australia. Surely going to the quiet beach areas that are not over populated would still be ok? I’d avoid places like Bondi Beach but I do know there are pockets of Cronulla that were not so busy and if I was back in AU, I’d be taking my kids there. It is one of the biggest things I miss about AU.
  • We are keeping up to date with all the COVID-19 updates going on around the globe and while its hard not to let it bring you down, we are really just trying to keep informed but not let it overcome us. It's important to stay educated so we can make our own informed choices like whether or not kids should still be going to school in places where closures are not yet mandatory. Unfortunately our leaders are not that reliable and so you have to make those choices yourself.

Everyone seems to have an opinion on the seriousness of the virus and reality is that we don’t really know a lot about it. We don’t even know if we are receiving updates on the full extent of the spread that are representative of the reality of the situation. It seems the biggest challenge is the 2 week window in which you are contagious yet no idea you have it. With so much unknown, we feel that the only safe option is to self-isolate even though Ghana is not yet in full lockdown - so that’s our plan.

Overall, in this time of uncertainty, I guess like everyone else all over the globe, we are all really struggling with the same things and thinking about the same strategies. A lot is outside of our control but what we can control is our mindset, using it as a time to reflect on our lifestyle and for setting examples for our kids.

What I can say, is Australians should feel grateful for Centrelink. No matter what your situation, there is always some back up available from the Government. Yes it might not be enough to sustain your lifestyle but it is enough to live. Think of the hundreds of thousands of people here in Ghana who do not have any back up, no welfare system at all, that still have to hustle and sell on the roadside to earn something so their family can eat. That is real life here. 

As far as Adinkra Designs goes, we are still carrying on but at a much much slower pace given the kids are home and there is only so much you can actually get done while at home! Emails might take us up to 3 days to respond back. Warehouse staff are limiting their time packing orders so orders are taking 4-5 business days to process.

Like we mentioned, we are taking it one day at a time but if our status does change we will provide further updates.

Everyone stay safe, stay healthy and stay at home, make your home your sanctuary! Share strategies with each other, keep perspective and stay positive. 




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