You are here

Zambia: 27-year-old Joshua Sapetulu

Date of Diary: 8 May 2020

Currently, my country Zambia is on a partial lockdown, Most of the country's business activities have continued operating with strict adherence to the Ministry of Health's safety and health guidelines, no social gathering (only churches are allowed to meet with no more than 50 people), sensitization programmess are ongoing too. Human Resource in most work places has been reduced to essential workers only. During this season, am on a partial lockdown together with my family.

It has been hard and alien to me, an experience with no specific day of coming to an end, I keep hoping things and life will get back to normal. I spend 95 per cent of my time indoors, chatting with colleagues online, attending online meetings, looking out for new information on the Internet concerning COVID-19. I also exercise to keep myself fit and in good shape.

I haven't faced any challenges with regards to access to sexual and reproductive health services so far. Our health facilities are still attending to clients who need such services and they have not shifted all the attention to the fight against COVID-19. 

Doing my bit for family and friends

As for my family and friends, I keep sensitizing them about the pandemic, and emphasizing the need to wear their masks whenever they find themselves interacting with the public. Of late, my team and I are voluntarily working towards supplimenting governments' efforts in the fight against COVID-19 by raising funds to buy masks and hand sanitizers for our differently abled friends in our community. So that they too can be protected from the pandemic.

As an SRHR/ HIV Anti- retroviral and adherence Youth Facilitator, my job demands for interaction with young people and adolescents, but it is unfortunate that COVID-19 is creating a barrier for me to meet with my team physically. However, we have resorted to online interactions, though it is a challenge in itself because most of the young people in my area can hardly access a smart phone or secure one for such interactions. So time after time, I call them to find out how they are doing, because sometimes I also run out of airtime to call every single one of them.

I miss the physical interactions with my fellow young people, playing soccer, watching soccer, going freely to church/conferences, just to name but a few.

The first thing I will do when all this is over is to visit my friends and family, have a huge party for my young people at work for surviving "the season". I am really worried about the aftermath of COVID-19 on the society and when it will all come to an end.

Even during this pandemic, I am very grateful for God's provision, protection and giving me life everyday when other people are dying in is a tragedy!

My advice to other young people in Africa during this time is "keep yourself busy, do not stay dormant, learn a new skill during this lockdown, read a book, sensitize someone who may be ignorant on the pandemic, pray for one another's protection. This too shall pass. Above all #StayHomeToStaySafe. You are loved!"

About the #YouthAndCOVID19 Series

The UNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional Office through its flagship programme for youth, the Safeguard Young People programme, has been engaging with young people in the region to find out how they are coping with the current COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of the project is to share best practices among the youth and to expose them to the many interventions and responses to COVID-19 that UNFPA and its partners have put in place during this time.

To share your story, click here.

- Lindiwe Siyaya