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The Covid-19 Pandemic, A Test of Faith - CWA Cameroon, Judith Chiatoh

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The deadly coronavirus pandemic that took everyone by surprise is no respecter of persons and appears to be testing the faith of many. In these testing times, we must neither falter nor take our eyes of faith off the “almightiness” of our God. The painful reality of Covid-19 proved to the world that there is a creator, God almighty. For sure our God is mightier than the virus that has changed our lives in several ways. Like the two women who visited the tomb of Jesus after his resurrection, women have learned to leave their comfort zones and take the lead in reshaping and redirecting through positive action.

Family bonding has been reinforced as the family spends more quality time together at home. The health crisis has also brought us closer to God as we have more time to pray together. Most people too started working from home after learning new skills or struggling with the new technologies that are now forced on them. The transport system changed, going to church stopped and those who could follow online did their best to keep their faith alive. In other places, our women learned and excelled in using Zoom for meetings and business. Above all, women have become more prayerful, more maternal, and wifelier and are turning their houses into homes.

On the other hand, the day to day life of many families have been affected negatively. In the towns, semi-urban towns and villages, you can see many families racked with pain on weakened faces caused by the death of loved ones. The habit of hand washing to women with little or no source of portable water for personal hygiene and sanitation is farfetched. Economic hardship has risen due to lower economic returns and loss of jobs by many. What many will appreciate as great change will be the construction of water catchments, digging of wells and boreholes to help bring portable water nearer homes. The wearing of masks and social distancing is a habit that will take time to be internalized in a culture where embracing, hugging and handshake is a tradition.

In the face of the pandemic, women have been proven to be creative thinkers and fearless entrepreneurs. They designed, fashioned and produced well over 80% of face masks, hand sanitizers and hand washing equipment. They also did a lot of solidarity work, helping one another to cope with the new normal. During the pandemic, most women have been the bread winners in their families, providing food from the farms as well as fuel wood for cooking. Others developed petty businesses such as the smoking and selling of fish, and poultry farming. (pic) Other women who belong to associations and fellowship groups have become communicators and are assisting in churches and creating more awareness in personal hygiene and sanitation practices to slow down or stop the spread of the disease.

We have learned that God is supreme. The vulnerability of the world giants in the face of covid-19 has taught us that knowledge without God is vain. The Pandemic has particularly been a period of faith building as more novenas, retreats, and Bible sharing sessions were/are organized in homes more than ever before. Many of our women have moved from religiosity to Spirituality, moving away from the crowd and relating with God at personal levels. Another spiritual lesson is that of the test of faith. God may be using the corona virus to bring us closer to him during the periods of our staying home, and partial confinement.

There are many reasons to be optimistic or positive in finding a way of escape from the present despair through positive action. Dignity is our inherent value and everyone is born with it. To improve our current economic model and live with dignity, we must encourage patience and moderation in loving relationship, treating others with respect and eliminating violence in all its forms. Women, always ready to bear risks have indulged in new income generating activities. As entrepreneurs, women should be taught on how to use the social media platforms to advertise and sell their produce. They could group themselves in women’s cooperatives for easy marketing and better bargaining power while benefitting from better economic returns.

Our organization women in the city have decided to hire experts in motivational talks and handicrafts to talk and rekindle hope in them. They are also through encouragement, getting into E-businesses, E-learning and teaching, developing E-skills, with the hope of getting all the women involved in one form of activity or another if the means is there, believing that empowering women will bring life, hope, education and hence greater change not only to individuals but to the families and society. An example of team work is the CWA Cameroon National Project named “The Immaculate Conception Nazareth Home” carried out in Bamenda, that saw the construction of a multi-purpose hostel, hosting different services of commercial character.

Here we are thinking about purposeful or goal-oriented action in our lives. Women must firstly try to be each other’s keeper and support each other. We reiterate the fact that the problem we are facing now is not known by any human being but God. We must therefore have faith that God is in control, and hope that He will see us through this. For our mental health, we must identify prudently if there is any behavioral change and seek help at once. Each member of the family will react differently to this pandemic so the issue should be discussed without instilling fear. We need to help everyone take full responsibility of themselves and all around them. They must understand it is joint effort and not just mother’s responsibility to make sure everyone follows the rules given by the experts for social distancing without isolation. Women must learn to apply home economics, that is, doing much with our limited means as well as maximize the use of our resources and factors of production. We should try to make our culture woman-friendly and strive to impowering the girl child economically, and by so doing empowering the woman of tomorrow.

Group poultry farm

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Learning new ways of growing vegetables which is scarce in some parts of our areas
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Sensitization and creating awareness after Mass on the prevention of corona virus

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