The fear of contracting Covid-19 and dying actually first became tangible in Kenya after the first case was reported on 12TH March 2019. But even then, every Kenyan hoped the situation would remain contained. But then as more people continued jetting into the country and movement remained un restricted, the one case soon became two, then sixteen and soon enough we were talking about hundreds of positive cases per day, some people we knew and soon enough, ourselves.
Slowly, overtime, to protect ourselves and loved ones, we had to change from life as we knew it to a new normal that ensured we were protected.
Here are some of the things we have had to change;
- Handshakes and hugs;
While hugging is seen as a behavior copied from the west, handshakes have been regarded as the oldest form of greeting in our society. It was initially extremely difficult. But slowly Kenyans have embraced the no handshake greetings.
These days, a simple nod, clasping of your own hands and verbal greetings are acceptable in our society.
- Burial practices
These have changed significantly. From holding wakes for long days, to reducing mourning times and changing burials from open casket burials to closed casket methods.
These days, bodies of people who have died of covid-19, though regarded as potentially infectious, the stigma has reduced significantly and they no longer require police escort or presence during burial.
Though worship places have now been opened to the public, for a long time people were content with online worship.
The church had done away with the need for shaking hands during ‘the peace time”. Also the elderly and very young are still expected to stay away due to their fragile immune systems.
- House parties
Now that numbers are regulated and curfews are still in place, Kenyans have moved from club parties to house parties.
- Home going husbands
One of the greatest positives for Covid-19 was the curfew that was put in place. This has ensured that husbands are now able to sleep at home with their families as opposed to before when they could black out in drinking dens
- Matatu culture
Pre- covid-19, matatus used to overload passengers. It was common to find a public service vehicle over loaded with many more people hanging from the doors, two people sharing one seat etc.
In an effort to increase the distance from one passenger to another, the carrying capacity of a single vehicle was reduced to half its capacity.
This resulted in an increase in commuter fee but also increases the comfort during travelling
For the first time in forever, we are having Kenyans coughing into tissue papers and into their elbows as opposed to coughing into each other
The hand washing campaigns and hand washing points have increased the frequency of washing up
- Visiting relatives
There is reduction due to the fear of transmitting covid-19 or contacting from relatives
- Health seeking behavior
Has increased for cough and related illnesses.