The consequences of the corona pandemic are already visible. Closed schools are now occupied by termites and goats. Not only have students' studies and progress slowed, but in some cases, it has completely stopped and life has taken on a new, unwanted direction.
The pandemic has affected many areas of life. Family livelihoods have declined, as restrictions on movement hamper the employment of people who live from hand to mouth. At the same time, as global distress has increased, aid organizations have had to reduce food aid in Bidibidi. Overall, building the future has become more difficult.
The closure of Bidibidi’s schools has far-reaching implications. Even before the pandemic not everyone could afford study materials or school fees, let alone now. Because schools are closed and school assignments are only in newspapers, television and radio, schoolchildren need money to continue their studies. Money which they do not have.
Robert, who has been attending school for the last year, says his studies have slowed down, but teachers are helping a lot to resume teaching. But slowing down is not the only problem. Many have quit school altogether, with no intention of returning.
Parents see the benefit when children work, so the threshold for sending a child back to school when it opens is high. Why encourage a child to go to school? Robert has seen what happens when students drop out of school. There are early marriages, and teens and youth gangs get involved with intoxicants.
If schools were open, they might be so busy with their studies that this would not happen.
The number of teen pregnancies in Bidibidi has also increased during the pandemic.
Ngondora, who works as a teacher, notes that the situation has increased the stress of people who are already traumatized and live without loved ones.
– It is very emotionally taxing when it is all the time “don’t do this and that, don’t get mixed up with each other… ”. We are total strangers in the area where we live… This is a stressful situation for everyone, Ngondora says.