Lockdown Journal: Day 15 (One Day at a Time)

by | Apr 10, 2020 | COVID-19, Johannesburg | 20 comments

If you’re new to this blog series and don’t know what’s happening with South Africa’s 21-day (now 35-day) lockdown, my first post  has all the details. Or read all my lockdown posts.

Welcome to COVID-19 Lockdown Day 15 in South Africa.

Food from Munching Mongoose during lockdown
Lockdown photo Day 15: Food.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. I think extending the lockdown is the right thing to do.
  4. 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.
  5. How many more days in a row do I have to blog?
  6. 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.

Lily in the garden
An arum lily, just because.

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.

Melville Cat
This was yesterday.

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:

  1. The African Reclaimers Organization, which is posting great content on Instagram and now has a BackABuddy site for fundraising.
  2. 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.
  3. The #SpazaShopChallenge, which is helping so many people in Katlehong township with food and basic essentials. Donation instructions are in this post.
  4. 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!


  1. Peggy Laws

    I also am happy the Lock Down is extended and believe it is correct decision. We are most definitely paying our domestic helper, two gardeners, pool service and street guards whilst they cannot work as it is the right thing to do. It is heartening to see how quickly the communities are rallying with soup kitchens, food parcels and blankets etc. But it is a long, rough road ahead. Glad you had a nice day!!

    • 2summers

      Thanks Peggy. I wish EVERYONE were doing the right thing and paying their employees during lockdown! But I guess we can only do what we can ????

  2. Margaret Urban

    I am jealous of your Munching Mongoose delivery!!
    Thanks for the link to the New Yorker article; I enjoyed it immensely; sharp insights.
    But the line that stuck out for me was “…as you get older it’s not that you want to die but you are less attached to life …”
    Unlike Fran I ‘ran’ from New Jersey to New Hampshire (not Vermont) in 1966. And then, somehow, I ended up in Johannesburg in 1992….
    btw extending our lockdown totally makes sense though I think there needs to be more of a coordinated/government way to make things easier for the less well off.

    • 2summers

      Yes, totally agree.

  3. janecshearer

    Can you add any testing/cases/deaths information on which the government has based its decision to make your lockdown go for longer? In NZ, we have flattened our curve of increasing cases, but the government has said that the original 4 week lockdown will be maintained, and they will announce whether it will end only 2 days prior. We have a 4 level ‘Alert’ system and the details of Level 3 (we are currently in Level 4) will be announced on Tuesday. I am guessing it will still majorly restrict travel between areas but will let more businesses operate in a way that doesn’t involve contacting the general public ( ‘essential businesses’ can continue to run, though only supermarkets and chemists are open to the public, and the government has been figuring out as we go what needs adding to that list of ‘essential businesses’).

    • 2summers

      Thanks Jane. I’ve only been updating the case numbers every few days, simply because they’ve been increasing very modestly at the same rate for a couple of weeks now and it’s really hard to guess what that means. As of yesterday SA currently stands at 2003 cases (a rise of 69 over the previous day) and 24 deaths. I’m really glad the number aren’t shooting up (at least not yet) but this article helped me understand why we really can’t trust the numbers at this stage: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-04-09-what-do-south-africas-covid-19-numbers-mean/.

    • Margaret Urban

      Hi Jane
      I think there are two main factors in the extension of our lockdown. The first is that testing is still only at about 5000 tests a day and by far in the main urban centers. Rollout of much increased testing (about 30 000 a day) from mobile and regional sites is dependent on supplies from the California company that produces the GeneXpress cartridges. Secondly, in addition to general physical distancing the lockdown is greatly limiting movement between the provinces and thus making the situation far easier to handle.
      The best SA stats that I know of, updated continuously, is https://mediahack.co.za/datastories/coronavirus/dashboard/
      Stats include tests, deaths, provinces, per 100 000 population and more.

  4. mvschulze

    It’s all like a bad dream: But, tonight…reading posts from pretty much the four corners of the world+: Jakarta, S.E. Australia, Great Britain, yourself in J-Burg, and myself outside NYC, …we all are living one and only one seriously disturbing, and invisible intrusion …Covid-19. And, thanks for the heads up on the New Yorker, including the political comments. M :-). Or should it be M 🙁 !

    • 2summers

      Hahaha. Indeed, the only (sort of) comforting part of this situation is that the whole world is facing this catastrophe together. Glad you liked the Fran Lebowitz article!

  5. David Bristow

    In this country we still drive on the left, spell mostly with a “s” in place of a “z” (zed), stick in the occasional “u”, measure in Frenchified units, and do maths. 🙂

    • 2summers

      Haha thanks for letting me know. I’m American so I still stubbornly do otherwise.

  6. Peggy Laws

    Please – I want to amend my comment above!!! Graham and I are retired and as such have a regular income – well, at the moment. I am sure there are lots of people who want to pay their staff correctly but are self employed and, as such, have lost their income overnight, and have no idea when they will next be earning money and scrambling to pay their bills. We have many such younger, and older friends, in this position. Apart from having to worry about this horrible virus they have so much else to worry about as well. There really is no answer to this one at this stage, except do your best.

    • 2summers

      I agree with that too. However, I also know there are people out there who could be paying their staff but aren’t.

  7. Catrina

    I love Fran Lebowitz’ opinions, from cooking to the term “social distancing” to Trump.
    I’m glad you decided to keep on numbering your posts, it helps me to keep track.
    Enjoy the Munching Mongoose delivery!

  8. Jenny

    Happy Easter. Really enjoying your blog and all the new places/things your have done. We moved to Melville from the UK just two years ago and have tried out a number of your ideas. Have you considered watching a live streamed church service for Easter? There’s a great church in Auckland Park called Hope Church (https://www.facebook.com/hopechurchap/) which is live streaming its services at the moment.

    • 2summers

      Hi Jenny, I’m glad you;’re enjoying the blog. Happy Easter to you too! I’m not Christian so I haven’t considered live-streaming church.

      • Jenny

        Congratulations on your 1000th post ???? You don’t have to be a Christian to watch the service. I know many have found it helpful during this time. Have a good Easter weekend.

  9. Kal

    One day at a time has been my lockdown mantra. All the best with your 1000th post! I just crossed my 200th recently 🙂

    • 2summers

      Yep, it’s the only way to get through this!


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