I like to go out as much as the next person, but I also equally enjoy being at home. Regardless, there’s been a ban on public gatherings so I guess I should enjoy being at home till either the ban is lifted or the coronavirus outbreak oozes away.
We cannot do certain things right now because of the state of our nation and our world.
The things that are canceled right now are mass amounts of humanity together, they are things that align with the gluttony our nation has learned to comfortably sit in the muddy trenches of.
Retail is still open for the most part but the hours have changed. We still manage to get the things we need. It is just that, for the time being, the abundance and comfort on which our country was built has been reduced.
Ghanaians, however, have a hard time giving up their freedom.
Whether we like to admit it or not, we are an entitled people. If we cannot do what we like when we like, we do not like it, and we are not able to cover the fact that we do not like the fact that we have limitations right now.
Many people I know are having a rough time with the social distancing, this quarantining, isolation, and loneliness. Although claiming that they are at greater risk of contracting the disease, one phrase that I have heard over and over again is, “I will not stop living my life.”
Amidst the tension, I have been very surprised we are not hearing more takes from sociologists on how corona may fundamentally change aspects of how we do society in Ghana. Too soon? Or is it that we don’t believe this will last long enough to make e any changes?
Are we supposed to carry on, like we can respond to this with increased normalcy as a counterbalance? Believe me, it is not going to be easy to just ‘’carry on’’.
Point is, this understanding of normalcy just enhanced how incredibly strange it all is. And the solution to that cannot be to step up normalcy. This really isn’t working out. We’re advised to be very productive during this period, that we’re all working-from-home, but sincerely: this isn’t your typical way of working-from-home. It is not the way productivity is improved.
Don’t get me started on the educational challenges facing us currently.
It is hard to focus when everything is so odd, so broken, and so dangerous.
The Coronavirus outbreak has been linked to multiple economic and psychological problems. The shock from the Coronavirus outbreak per stats is larger and heavier than previous years’ serious acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), bird flu and swine flu. This particular coronavirus outbreak has however revealed how to turn a biological and epidemiological problem into a social, cultural, and political topic.
Sociologists, on the other hand, are particularly interested in a pandemic like COVID-19 because “it forces conversations by radically rearranging our social routines
In his role as a sociologist, Senior Lecturer and Head of the Sociology Department at the University of Ghana, Dr. Kodzovi Akpabli-Honu analyses how a variety of social factors influence the social structures in the society. He makes a fine input on one of the main implications of the Coronavirus pandemic being the emergence of social anxiety. This has generated significant concerns in all parts of the society even for people in communities without a reported outbreak. According to him, the sense of frustration heralds how fragile our communities are when facing hazards.
Fellow Sociologist and lecturer at the University of Ghana, Dr. Albert Kpoor hints more on the economic impact of the pandemic describing close to 61. 5% of Ghanaians working in the informal sector and how challenging it will be for that people within the estimated figures to make ends meet.
The Grasp for normalcy
At the base level, the thing we desire, human contact, is unexpectedly fraught and fragile. It’s all complicated and delicate yet we are just now understanding that this whole time it was fragile. Dr. Albert Kpoor intimates that despite fears of losing connection, it should be easier to get back to friends and family simply because we still used social media to connect to them amidst directives on social isolation and distancing.
Even after normalcy, Dr. Kpoor notes, people may become sluggish, apathetic and may lose some basic skills. Even though online studies has been rolled out in most academic institutions finds that it may take a while for people to get back into the mood of learning.
Undoubtedly none of this is normal. You don’t need to be shamed about imposing normality as an answer.
So, what then, is the answer?
There really isn’t one.
Normal is gone. There will be a new normal. We’ll get there. We’ll get through this. But things are going to improve and this is going to be all right. Maybe better than okay. Maybe we’ll come out better in the end.
The writer, Caleb Ahinkwah, is a graduate of the University of Ghana.