“I came to the United States for a vacation. I felt I needed a break from my career as a journalist having spent the last 10 years working in Guyana, St. Lucia and the British Virgin Islands. I was having lots of fun travelling the state of California, whether it was to the city of Los Angeles or the mountainous region of Yosemite National Park. But that fun was cut short after COVID-19 hit the United States. California became one of the first states to implement a shelter-at-home order. I remembered the day my uncle came home and said the state will go on a "lock down". I didn't know what that meant at the time, but seven weeks later and it feels like this is far from over.
While the state has managed to control a spike in cases, California does not have any intention of opening up soon. And if they do, it will be at a slow pace compared to other states. Some may not be too happy with that but judging from the reports and how others handled the situation, it may be the best thing to do. I have kept abreast with whats happening home in Guyana too, but the situation there cannot be fully addressed especially when the country is also dealing with a political stalemate.
Besides the sad stories that have flooded our social media pages about the thousands of deaths across the globe, COVID-19 has actually created some good. For the first time families are the closest they have ever been. Those whose loaded work schedules affected their time with their wives, husbands or kids, now have the time to get to know them better. Testimony to that, I received a message on LinkedIn from a New Yorker with Guyanese parentage who said he saw my work and wants to know more about Guyana. He said for the first time, he and his Indo-Guyanese parents talked about their childhood in Guyana, and the politics and culture of the tiny nation he knows little about.
As for me, while I'm still stuck in California, I spend most of my day on the phone talking with my family back home, mostly my fiance who I miss dearly. Yes, and we've had conversations we've never had before. I want to believe we are much stronger together now. So, my message to everyone out there is despite this dreaded disease has ruined the lives of many people and continues to affect the entire world, we need to remain positive, pray and spend as much time with loved ones. If you have old grudges, now is the time to put aside the bad blood and reconnect. This is a staunch reminder that life is short and no amount of money can save us. What we do need right now is LOVE"