Now Your Health Matters #Stories4Health

One year ago, in Bilmo city, there was a big event and I could feel something like nervousness inside me, but from my childhood, my teachers kept telling me: “Mwangi, there is no need to be shy, you are capable of everything, you will be a good writer because you are good at languages”.

That day, it was one of days I ever waited for. It was my first book that I was going to present in front of the judges. There was no any other title in newspapers that morning except “First Post Covid-19 Bilmo Book Presentations”. I woke up earlier than usual and reviewed my book. Reviewing it, I received an e-mail message that told me the names of the judges. In previous editions of the competition, many writers were afraid when they heard that Abel was going to judge them. That’s what happened to me when I saw him on the list of the judges.   

Nervousness increased its rate in me but I kept promising myself that it was my day and my turn to show the world who really I am. I finished reviewing the book and taking a bath and all morning preparations of a girl who is ready to climb the highest mountain of her life. I arrived at the bus station at 08:00 A.M and took one which was going to The Centre Building where Muwado #Stories4Health Writing Competitions were likely to happen every year.

Approximately 3000 attendees were there in the building, everyone wondering what was going to happen next. I was only thinking of the fight of Abel’s trap questions. I prepared questions that he could ask me including if I am single, as he has always asked girls. To be honest, it seems I was nearly making my dreams come true.

At 08:30 A.M, Master of Ceremonies started speaking and introducing the competition. Five judges including Abel entered the building and waved their hands greeting the audience. I started sweating in my hands but I kept remembering these words: “Mwangi, there is no need to be shy, you are capable of everything, you will be a good writer because you are good at languages”.

A woman who was in the judging panel told us the instructions of the competition and called the first contestant. I could not believe my ears when I heard my names. I stood up with little confidence and took the microphone gazing at Abel. Abel has noticed some fear in me and started “Good morning young lady!” 

“Good Morning” I answered. 

“Can you tell us the relationship of your book’s title and Covid-19?” Abel asked me immediately. I wondered why he has beat on the bush to that level and realized his trap question.

After a ten-second-silence, I started to answer him. “My name is Esther Mwangi, I am 26 years old. The title of my book is Now Your Health Matters. 

“So why that title?” Another judge interrupted. 

I immediately started telling them why I wrote Now Your Health Matters. “Two years ago, I was a waitress in a hotel”.

It was on Saturday at 02:12 P.M, when I knocked on the door of a Hotel owner office, we used to call him Boss but his real name was Henry Brown, he was a white man. 

“Come in,” said Henry coughing. 

I opened the door and found Henry Brown sitting in his chair. 

“Good afternoon Sir!” I started the conversation. 

“Good Afternoon Mwangi, have a seat”, Henry replied. 

Most of the time, he used to call me Mwangi instead of Esther although it was hard for him to say Mwangi. Physically, he was very tired because he had a very long journey from his country abroad.

“I think you had a nice journey?” I asked him. 

He told me that it was good but the problem was a cough, fatigue and a headache he was feeling. 

“Let us hope you are going to be ok”, I said. 

“Thank you! Mwangi, what can I help you then?” He asked me 

“It’s has been 7 months without having any rest. I would like to ask you for a permission of going to my village to see my parents because I miss them.” I requested. 

My boss gave me a one-mouth-leave and I left Bilmo the following morning heading to Tetera, a village in which I was born.

After two weeks in Tetera, I started to feel weak and have some fatigue and cough, the same situation with Henry Brown two weeks before. That is when I listened to the radio and heard that Henry Brown has died of a new pandemic, Coronavirus, in the country and that he was a Patient Zero. The reporter added that the Ministry of health is tracing all people who were in contact with him two weeks before.

In the evening, the situation has become worse. I was coughing every time, I had a headache, a diarrhea, body aches, a congestion, a fatigue, a fever and even breathing difficulties. I was afraid and my mother thought our villagers have poisoned me, but what I knew is that I was going to die like my boss and the reason behind it. My little brother rushed to us saying that outside there was an ambulance. It took me to the Kitutu Hospital. The next day, the entire village was singing my name because of being Covid-19 tested-positive. Few days later, other cases occurred in Tetera including my mother and my young brother was in isolation.

Three weeks later still in Kitutu Hospital, I have been recovering from the symptoms of Covid-19. In the morning, I read a health magazine having an article that said: Covid-19: a new dangerous Pandemic. I always thought on how I got a virus from Henry Brown and I got an answer from that magazine. I read that Covid-19 is spread by people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks and those droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Important information I got is that some recent studies had suggested that COVID-19 might be spread by people who are not showing symptoms, that was I versus Tetera.

Dr Fakuri, a man who was treating me all that time, has brought me a good news that I was about to return to my home village.  I was very happy but I might be familiar with being alone at home because my mother was still at the hospital and my brother the same story, who tested positive after being in isolation. And even our village was in a one-mouth total lockdown. Before leaving, Dr Fakuri has advised me to wash hands as much as I could at least within 40-60 seconds period. “Beyond that, cover coughs and sneezes, and even clean and disinfect.” Dr Fakuri advised me. “Dear Mwangi, don’t forget to stay home and stay safe. Now your health matters.” Dr Fakuri added. I thanked him and left.

The audience in Centre Building was in tears due to my touching story. “Thank you Esther, is there any conclusion?” Abel asked. 

“Now your health matters,” I added gazing at cameras.


Written by Eric RUGERINYANGE

What do you think?

32 Points

Leave a Reply

Light at the Tunnel's End

I am not invincible: My COVID-19 story.