I saw a beautiful circular by the Christian Medical and Dental Association, Nigeria (CMDA – Nigeria) which combined a familiar idiom with a captivating adjunct: ‘A stitch in time saves nine, be the stitch in the fabric of one’s life.’
In recent weeks, I have watched with admiration as this association have strived to stay on top of the situation in Nigeria; ushering light and hope into a world threatened to be overtaken by darkness and fear. Such an admirable position to assume.
Beyond liking, I paused for a few seconds to think about ways that I could be of help to someone. When you haven’t given ample thought to it, it is easy to feel handicapped; that there is not much you can do. Besides, you are laden with the task of staying alive, how much more looking out for your neighbour?
Understanding that some persons may have been caught in a similar dilemma as myself, I thought to write a post on five easy ways you can be of help to someone this season.
1. Call or Send A Message To An Essential Work Provider.
A popular word on the streets of social media this pandemic season by health workers is: ‘We stay at work for you, stay at home for us.’ While the populace is enjoined to socially distance themselves from others and stay at home, essential service providers still have to go to work, with health care workers facing the most risk as they come into closest contact with sick individuals.
Sadly, some healthcare workers have lost their lives to the novel virus while in the line of duty. Some others are posed with the threat of having to discharge their duties with limited and sometimes substandard personal protective equipment. An appreciative call or merely a text to check-in and express gratitude to those who can’t be with their families at a time when people would rather be with their loved ones would go a long way in boosting their spirits and morale.
2. Share hope and truth. Don’t spread fear and false news.
It is so easy to spread fear, sometimes unknowingly, as the world is currently filled with it, and even easier to propagate false news. On the other hand, it takes thought and intentionality to share hope to a world in dire need of it and to ascertain the authenticity of news before forwarding it.
It is essential to separate sharing facts from spreading fear and giving out false news as a stipend of hope. Both can be deleterious. Few persons do the due diligence of checking the accuracy of the information they receive but would readily stamp their laziness and ignorance with the signage, ‘forwarded as received.’
The danger in sharing unverified and blatantly false information is far-reaching than most persons know. One of such is how it takes the place of helpful information and arms the victim with a false sense of security, leaving them more vulnerable than they were. Stay armed with the right information and avoid panic. Have you read that more persons have recovered than have died from the virus? That is hope. Spread hope.
3. Leverage platforms to donate.
It would interest you to know that people have built platforms to ease rendering help to others this period. This can be done as an individual to individuals, or as part of an organisation to groups of persons and individuals. You can give as little as a thousand naira to more. You may not be able to purchase a ventilator or set up an isolation centre for the nation but you can guarantee that a family’s next day’s meal is assured.
As the lockdown has been extended and businesses have been put on hold, food insecurity across the country has started to rise. Some persons have taken undue advantage of the situation evidenced by the worrying reports of unrest in parts of Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states, Nigeria. It hurts to think that while persons do their best to get through the situation the world has found itself, others wittingly make it worse for them.
Some of these platforms include:
Check them out and be on the lookout for opportunities like this to make the most of.
4. Ask your friends and family how you can be of help to them.
An alternative to number three above is to directly ask your friends and family members ways that you can be of help to them. Actively listen too and note where you can step in. Of course, with their permission. There is no need to publicise your good deeds as this defeats the aim. Your domestic workers, the retailer in your street, your less privileged neighbour, the widow and orphans in your local assembly are potential beneficiaries of your kind gesture. Be sure to practise the instituted precautionary measures if you intend to deliver food and other relief items in person. Contrarily, some may prefer cash and online transfers would ease the process for you.
5. Follow Precautionary Measures
When we talk about precautionary measures like respiratory and hand hygiene and social distancing, beyond protecting ourselves, we will be protecting others who are more at risk than the general population of dying from the virus should they contract it. Persons like the elderly and those with other health conditions such as asthma, diabetes mellitus, hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. Never has a sickness depended on one person as much as it did on the other.
In addition, realising that the number of new cases and deaths translate to humans like you and me, and could be anyone would help you look out for yourself and others more by following the precautionary measures that have been put in place.
Have you helped or considered helping anyone in this season? What ways have you done so and how can we as individuals do more? Please, share in the comments.