“It is not the load that crushes us, but the way we carry it” (Lou Holtz)
Living life in our own terms means the ability to live a life that is meaningful and fulfilling despite all that is happening around us. It means the ability to define life, not allowing our circumstances or experiences to define us. It means making conscious choices and being responsible for them. Someone once said that what matters is not what happens or happened to us, but our response to it, that defines the quality of our life. We all know people who have gone through very extreme adversities, but they have been able to use these experiences to grow, to be creative, to shine, to excel, and to touch the world. We also know people who have succumbed to adversities and given up their life altogether. What distinguishes one class from the other? It all lies in our attitude towards life. Wayne Dwyer once said that when we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change, and he could not have said it better.
In short, it is not the burden that crushes us, but the way we carry it.
We need to remember that whether we think we can, or we can`t, we are right.
The following is a lived experience of a lady who has faced challenging experiences, especially during the COVID-19 period. She shares how she is able to go on despite the circumstances, making choices that enhance her coping skills.
Thanks so much Mahlompho Mapalane for sharing.
HOW COVID-19 PANDEMIC AFFECTED ME & MY PERFORMANCE AT WORK
2020 started as usual. I did my annual plans and started to implement some activities according to the time frame and agreement with my immediate supervisor. Along the way we started getting a lot of information about Covid-19. Believe me, I did not know what this information was all about, why our head office sends us lots and lots of information about this covid-19: “WHAT IS THIS CORONA VIRUS?”.
The day came when we were all called to a meeting and that each and every one of us had to come up with a strategy and how we think we would overcome this virus. Still I did not understand what was happening. I think I was not well informed or I did not have anybody to really share with me what was actually happening.
The day our neighbouring country announced over the television the steps they were taking to minimize the spread of Covid-19 made it look real. The major one that affected us was the closure of all the border gates that surrounded our small landlocked country and the restriction of movement. Shops and other businesses were closed and we had to stay at home.
We, SOS Children’s villages Lesotho could not understand, we looked at innocent children, the closed down schools, empty churches, we restricted children`s movements and they had to remain within the campus.
Now we had to come up with a strategy on how to keep them busy and beat idleness. We thought of different activities, talents, studies and engaged pastors who live within the campus.
At the same time, we taught them the rules and regulations concerning Covid-19 provided by WHO.
It became a reality now that all planned activities for raising money for the same children had to be cancelled and I had to change my approach because I still have to ensure that children have food on the table.
My way of doing things changed completely to something very new called digital fundraising, which includes, social medial, local house media, development of websites etc.
There were no more face to face meetings. Responses to challenges that we used earlier could not be effective any longer. People started losing their jobs and could no longer support our initiatives, companies that used to support us stopped giving.
Life changed drastically, working hours were reduced, physical contact with other people became more and more restricted and sometimes not allowed at all.
This has affected my work and my organization negatively and worse still, the children whom we are not able to assist with the modem learning that is only online. Our children do not have access to the internet and computers for online studies.
2020 was the year that I was bound to raise more money for the children but this is impossible due to the factors mentioned above.
Personally, at the same time, I am affected by the situation of my son who completed his studies in June in India. In his last year when he was meant to write his final exam, he was forced to do it electronically. I have missed him for the past four years and now this is going to be the 5th year. I have developed high blood pressure due to the stress that I had when all these things started and I am wondering if I will ever see my beloved son again.
What has helped me to cope?
The fact that SOS Children`s Villages was and is still operational is a great drive. I am still receiving my full salary, except that the inflation has increased rapidly, but we are better off than others in this regard.
This experience should not leave us as we were before. It is important to grow from it, and establish strategies that help us to cope better. Having preventative measures in place is crucial. Eating healthy, exercising and reading more helps gain knowledge and skills. Ensuring sustainable projects will help to be self-reliant, for example in producing our own food. The green house donated by Herbalife Nutrition Foundation has ensured that children have fresh vegetables throughout the year. Keeping our own cows will help more so that we can produce our own fresh milk for the children and for generating income. We need to diversify local income, focusing on digital fundraising.
Since covid-19 pandemic l learned that the whole world was affected by the same virus regardless of race, religion, status, income, etc. The world is united in following the same WHO rules and regulations. We are all in this together.
Lastly, we need to accept changes in our life, and be creative in finding solutions.