“I’m happy you got the job”, Dennis said to his beloved. He was excited for her because now, they would be enabled to plan their lives together, having each other in holy matrimony.
“Oh, my darling”, Justina threw herself on him. “I am so happy. With your new job at the Oil and Gas Company and this one at First Consultant Hospital, I have no doubt that it is a good time for us. I believe it is the beginning of greater things to come for us”, she gushed.
“God is faithful”, Dennis smiled, wrapping his arms around her.
“He is indeed”, she grinned wholeheartedly.
Dennis and Justina was an item before their unfortunate demise. They were brilliantly qualified experts who fell in love against all odds. Her parents wanted her to marry a ‘made-man’ but she wanted no one else but Dennis. He didn’t have much but he gave her the best of himself. He loved her, he cared for her, he was at her beck and call and they lived together in their self-contained apartment in Lagos, waiting for the perfect time to start planning their wedding. Dennis and his wife-to-be had lofty dreams of living fulfilled lives and raising wonderful children together.
So the next day, Justina reluctantly resumed work at the First Consultant Hospital on the account that she felt sick that morning. Justina experienced nausea and vomiting early that morning as she was coincidentally in the early months of her first pregnancy but Dennis encouraged her to go to work. Her first duty and first patient to nurse on her first day at work was the late Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian-American, who brought the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) to Nigeria. Unfortunately and unknown to her, that singular act to nurse and care for the sick put a stop to the lofty dreams she also nursed with her husband-to-be and indeed it eventually, within a matter of days, put a full stop to her youthful existence.
When she began to show signs of the deadly disease as it was quickly exposed, Dennis first assumed it was sickness usually associated with pregnancy but he was quickly convinced she had contracted the epidemic disease when his fiancé’s condition began to defy all medical treatments. However, he couldn’t help but be her present help in that trying time of need. As usual, he was at her beck and call even when he was fully aware of what he was exposing himself to. Within a matter of days, she was gone. Dennis too contracted the epidemic but he was more aware, more prepared in faith to heal and live and so he did. But other victims and contacts, as they inevitably spread, were not as lucky as Dennis.
Lagos state government upon experiencing these first hand cases, moved rapidly to contain this deadly pestilence in the land. Isolated facilities were built to treat and care for suspected cases for the better good of the populace. Day by day, we hear of the reduced number of cases of EVD in Lagos. While a larger number of infected people die, a handful have survived throughout West Africa and have been certified free and discharged.
Nigerians now live in fear. This is more than any other killer disease we have experienced. Lagos residents who are used to the shoveling hustle of the metropolis are now tame in a queue at bus stops, giving way and ample space to the next person. Traders convince customers without harassing them in the usual Lagos Island market way to buy from them. Balogun market becomes a place of sanity where buyers and sellers come together in an arms’ length to shop and do business. We no longer hug each other, we no longer shake hands. We only greet from afar with a smile, if necessary. As adults, we are aware and precautionary but I worry for the little ones. While we are hoping to completely eradicate this epidemic, the federal government of Nigeria too anticipated the wildfire spread of this virus if children were introduced into a system of erratic pestilence. Hence, the government declared that schools be re-opened later than usual which was fixed to 13th of October 2014 on the account that the government would have put in place certain precautionary measures to completely eradicate the virus.
All too soon, if you ask me, the federal government moved schools’ resumption date to 22nd of September. Concerns parents have since made noise and protested about this sudden shift in date. Not surprisingly, however, less than 48hours after the federal government made this release and parents protested, the government of Nigeria publicly says in the news that there is no more case of the Ebola virus in Nigeria. I’m thinking, has this epidemic really been eradicated or the government is just dancing to certain tunes? As much as I appreciate my children being in an educative environment, learning in safety where I too am safe in their safety as opposed to spending unending days with their partial learned nanny at home, I do not support the re-opening of schools at a time like this. I love my children too much to let them go to school right now. I worry to release them into a system where I am not sure or convinced of the government’s precautionary procedure to keep with this epidemic away from schools or the schools’ preventive measures in protecting the children. I have told my five-year old of the story of the Liberian-American who came into Nigeria with a deadly disease that have since claimed the lives of innocent care givers and loved family members and how he should be weary to touch and be touched, and how he should wash his hands regularly and sanitize them at every interval. Although, the Health Minister says the September 22 resumption for schools across the country still subsists, I educate my son because I am in a country where the masses talk and complain but our government is too busy counting big moneys in Ghana-must-go sacks to be concerned about our worries. So in case schools are eventually re-opened on the 22nd of September, I would have done something as a parent to help my child help the community. However, I have a two-year old. Sigh. God, I consecrate my children to you for keeps. Please keep them away from evil and this pestilence that looms in the land. Amen.