From fear to pride: a storm of emotions for this 13-year-old in Sri Lanka

Rathusha Nimalan

Fear paralysed me as I gazed at the television screen. My ears were ringing at the mention of deaths of people from the coronavirus.

The numbers were so large, and I couldn’t take it in at once. For a few minutes, I just sat there, trying to process what I had just heard, but for the moment it made no sense.

Many emotions clouded up my head making it humanly impossible to think straight. All I could make out was my holiday that I was planning and saving up for months was ruined. I was annoyed at how countries let an invisible microbe emerge and spread instantaneously throughout the world in the advanced 21st century.

The next few days went by like a blur. There was an endless rise in the number of deaths and the media brought the suffering of distant people into our living rooms. During these days, boredom and fear started to eat me up alive. It seemed like the coronavirus affected the way the clocks worked.

But I was satisfied that I was doing my best to prevent the spread of the disease by staying home. To combat my boredom, I read or played the guitar. After a while, I got busy with online classes.

Interesting how what we thought was important fades amidst Covid19.

As I was absorbed in reading one day, embarrassment tightened my throat as I recalled my feelings of my lost dream vacation. I felt so inhumane. People were losing their lives, and I was complaining about my lost holiday. What was wrong with me?

I was really worried for those who were affected. Young people like me were either suddenly gone, lost grandparents or even one or both parents. Equally suddenly, basic things of life like food, education, care and love become dashed dreams.

It wasn’t their fault that they were cruelly taken away from their families, or have opportunities dashed. This situation made me realize how blessed I was to have such a great family to support me through this.

Yet, I felt so helpless that I couldn’t do anything to help people overcome this. While I am concerned for my dad’s safety, I am so proud that my dad is working for children in need and doing his best to support the most vulnerable children in Afghanistan.

I too stand in solidarity with the UNICEF family and the rest of the world, and I do my duty - I wash my hands with soap regularly for at least 20 seconds, I maintain social distance and I stay at home!

Interesting how what we thought was important fades amidst Covid19
Sri Lanka