BY TARIRO KAPURURA
A fascinating and well-known Biblical story of human encounter tells of Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at the well in the Book of John.
Jesus says, “A time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.”
The woman is left in awe about the message she receives from a Jew. In this captivating encounter of strangers in a strange environment we discover that the yet-to-come predictions are worthy of any sacred value when shared in extraordinarily unusual spaces of time and space.
In hindsight of the current Covid-19 pandemic, the unusual encounters of human experiences, have opened up many prophecies and dreams never imagined by human experiences, in modern times.
The years 2020 and 2021 have seen social trends sweeping across the world, be it a Jerusalema song dancing competition or Joe Wicks’ home fitness exercises. Nonetheless, life has been tough and the negative impacts of the pandemic have been traumatic and hurtful. Zimbabwe has endured its own pain of Covid-19, in an already-challenging environment.
Nevertheless, the irony of the Covid-19 pandemic is that it has created a wider discussion of health matters at a Solomonic scale and social media is becoming the worthy carrier of the messages! Human nature has once again demonstrated a persevering determination to rise above the effects of Covid-19.
At no other time have we seen the Zimbabwean community dressed up for the world showcase, whether its economics, think-tanks, science, engineering, music, art, care work, writing or medicine.
The academia and hard working ethics in the Zimbabwean community, which have been nurtured in painful and extraordinary events, are now rising to a prophetic level.
These Zimbabwe’s wise minds are not pearls to be tossed on beaches at the mercies of the oceanic waves, nor are they the pick-about objects for runaway dogs mistaking them for the unwrinkled bones to be kissed, trodden and tossed away.
Conversely, it has taken organisations like the Zimbabwe Economics Society to bring that much-needed connectivity, responsibility, trust and real partnership as we collectively plan to build our long-battered nation. To find those lost pearls, in the middle of a pandemic is proving a success in so many ways.
During the pandemic, the Zimbabwean community from all corners of the world, is coming together and developing a healthier society and reaching out to those who cannot afford access to information or resources.
Public health concerns have now taken a centre stage and priority. The economics discussion has continued to be on track, to find a destination for better opportunities notwithstanding the difficult circumstances faced by our nation.
During these times of Covid-19, there has been an incredible human discovery of rapid information sharing. For long, the hierarchical leverage (encompassed in access and affordability) has continued to be on the side of the rich society.
However, Covid-19 has proved this inconclusive in that, in addition to any health access advantages, a cheap facial mask, social distancing and basic hygiene can similarly be important.
Information packaging is simple. Pragmatism is easy to deliver and facilitate if the foundation of information is legitimate. Under productive social and political circumstances all we can do as Zimbabweans, is to find ourselves (isu pachedu)! With the new wave of experience, we are beginning to understand and appreciate the fact that we can do well when we have a constructive connection, even to those who appear to be strangers.
The active use of platforms such as Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp and Zoom has seen almost 44% of the Generation Z and Millennials sharing scientific content in social media (WHO, Global Study of Digital Crisis Interaction, Wunderman Thompson University, 2021).
Through social distancing, the shifting of the physical reality to the virtual world, has created the thirst to touch others. Perhaps no other pandemic has made human beings become driven to touch the emotional and physical health of others. And this touch has also been transcending and transmitting in other channels, noticeably the economic-embedded endeavours to see the economic health of the nation resonate in all areas and social levels of the Zimbabwean people.
The African fire, where our forefathers would strategise on life solutions, has been reluctantly dimming off, but with the hand of connection, it is being reignited. Perhaps in a more dynamic way. Perhaps in an unusual way, as, in our thirst, we meet up at strange wells. Perhaps in a slower but steady pace.
When the Covid-19 pandemic started, some people reluctantly threw their hands up, succumbing to the nature of the pandemic.
However, the social fibres in the African community and specifically Zimbabwe, remained intact and hardly becoming weaker in finding ways to deal with that crisis and reaching out to those in distant locations from our spheres of influence.
The stories we have seen, heard and experienced through social media are a demonstration of the peculiar and in some way extraordinary abilities of the human mind and heart.
The pandemic has repositioned the fire logs burning at the centre of our community fellowship as Zimbabweans. Finding solutions on the longevity of our economic, social and medical health and well-being will not be an easy task, lest we fall into the trap of complacency. The road of recovery may not be straightforward and transparent and things may turn out to be messy and unsympathetic.
We do not have to ignore the overarching rigidity of the political pandemics that have endured and scarred Zimbabwe and to a larger extent, Africa from the colonial times.
But one thing we owe ourselves and our children, is the confidence and the irrefutable notion that we are going to garner genuine non-partisan approaches for the sake of our nation and its health. Why? Because we are loaded with the diverse abilities to do so.
Communicating and connecting with others will be the fibre to our endurance. Our hope and ambition is that we will assume the best in another human being next to us by all means possible. There could be moments when Covid-19 (or even before) might have violated the faith in ourselves. Such tragedy is non-excusable.
What is logical and wise is not to abandon trust in finding our own Zimbabwean solutions to health and economic matters. Economics and health are perhaps a formidable force that the pandemic has exposed to be a power not to be overlooked. An economically sound nation is a healthy society.
Health matters have often been blind spots, especially in the face of deception of the political qualms in Africa and the religious party lines and tribalistic challenges.
Covid-19 and its impact has brought us together to suffer the identical pain and heat and find remedy to the nature of life.
When the ashes of the fire of solutions have reignited, irrespective of the unexpected results, we as Zimbabweans could claim victory, lest we owe it to our children for not producing a decent and organic dance around the fire of hope.
Kapurura is a United Kingdom-based psychiatric practitioner, founder of Soundhealth services, with interest in training and development, trauma and music therapy. He is also a member of the Bame community of practice and a blogger for Mental Health ELF. These weekly New Perspectives articles are co-ordinated by Lovemore Kadenge, immediate past president of ZES. — firstname.lastname@example.org or mobile +263 772 382 852