Welcome to COVID-19 Lockdown Day 15 in South Africa.
In a speech last night, President Ramaphosa announced our lockdown will be extended an additional 14 days on top of the original 21. That makes 35 days, for those of you who are bad at math.
As I watched the speech, my thoughts were as follows:
- Cyril Ramaphosa is an excellent president. It’s obvious he cares, and wrestles with these heart-wrenching decisions. Yet he remains calm, consistent, and resolute.
- I am very worried about people in South Africa who are starving, and those who may starve as the lockdown continues, and about all the other horrible things happening because of this lockdown.
- I think extending the lockdown is the right thing to do.
- Despite my desperate worry about the lockdown, I’m secretly relieved it’s continuing. I’m not sure how to proceed with life as “normal” whenever this is over and I’m not ready to figure it out yet.
- How many more days in a row do I have to blog?
- When is the president going to let us have wine again?
I am committed to continuing this journal every day for as long as the lockdown lasts. I briefly considered not numbering the posts anymore, as 35 is a lot of numbers and we don’t even know if the lockdown will end at 35.
But a few people convinced me to keep the numbers. (As one friend commented, “You’re gonna want to know what number you’re on when you hit the 50s.”) Instead I’ve decided to shorten the post titles (we all know this is a COVID-19 lockdown) and add a unique descriptor at the end of each title.
I woke up this morning at the usual time, saw it was cloudy and cold outside, then remembered it’s a holiday (Good Friday). So I decided to take the day “off”, i.e. not work or pretend to work.
I stayed in bed, reading and looking at my phone and petting Trixie, until almost 10, when the gate bell rang and I ran to answer. It was my box from Munching Mongoose, an organic food delivery service, which I had been looking forward to all week.
The Munching Mongoose delivery guys, who I could tell were smiling even beneath their face masks, sat my box down on the ground and waved from a safe distance as I thanked them profusely for their service. (I’m so appreciative of everyone’s service these days.)
Hardly able to contain my excitement, I carried the box inside, washed my hands, and unpacked and admired each food item as if it were a shiny gold bar. I discovered lettuce, spinach, granadillas, tomatoes, green beans, eggs, Montasio cheese, sourdough bread, mushrooms, milk, and a jar of peach preserves. All local and organic. It’s interesting how my mind and body desperately crave fresh, local food during lockdown.
I arranged the food carefully on the counter, photographed it (see above), then started fantasizing about the salad I will eat tonight. Actually, hold on while I go rinse the lettuce.
I did some exercise, chatted to friends, made scrambled eggs mixed with my new vegetables. I read an excellent article in the New Yorker, an interview with writer Fran Lebowitz, recommended by my friend Griffin. It was the best thing I’ve read this week — “Hugging is its own kind of contagion,” was my favorite line — and made me laugh out loud repeatedly. I highly recommend this article. (Skip the last third if you’re not interested in U.S. politics.)
At about 3:00 p.m., the sun came out for 30 minutes. I sat at my table outside and turned on a podcast. The Melville Cat crawled out of his hedge for the first time all day and hopped into my lap, which he rarely does. Smokey gazed up at me with his yellow-green eyes, purring, and I told him I loved him.
In that moment, I was the happiest I’ve been for the past 15 days.
Today’s Worthy Cause
Today I’m posting a recap of some of the great causes I featured in earlier posts, which people may have forgotten about. (Featuring a new cause every day for 35+ days is a bit much.) Here are some of my favorites from the early lockdown posts:
- The African Reclaimers Organization, which is posting great content on Instagram and now has a BackABuddy site for fundraising.
- Emergency Help for South African Domestic Workers, which I only mentioned briefly in an early post. This fund provides critical assistance to domestic workers who lost their jobs because of the lockdown.
- The #SpazaShopChallenge, which is helping so many people in Katlehong township with food and basic essentials. Donation instructions are in this post.
- Lockdown personal training with Xolani, whose wife is definitely going to give birth during lockdown. Details in this post.
Thanks so much to everyone who has donated or helped already. We’re making a difference.
Tomorrow will be my 1000th blog post!