My experience when I had Coronavirus

Voices of Youth

Wongani Mulanga
Wongani and her brother
UNICEF Malawi/2020/Wongani Mulanga
15 July 2020

My name is Wongani Mulanga. I am 17 years old and from Mangochi. I would like to share with you my experience since the time I was tested positive to coronavirus. It all started when my brother got very sick with malaria-like symptoms, we went to the hospital and was tested negative for malaria and treated with antibiotics. It went on for about three days then he got better. After that, my mom and dad also started complaining about headache and body pains of which they also tested negative for malaria but eventually they became well. Days later, my mom said she wanted to be tested for corona virus with my brother since they showed symptoms. I refused to accompany them because I was okay, and that was on Friday, 26 June 2020. When they came back home, mom told me that they have both been tested positive to COVID-19 and that the other family members will be tested the following day.

The next day, the COVID-19 rapid response team came and took our samples and we were all tested positive except for our maid. From that time, we started doing everything we could to prevent her from contracting the virus. Everyone always cleaned the toilet after use, we all cleaned our plates by ourselves, I also had to shift to another room to avoid infecting her with the virus and she stopped coming to the living room since we spent most of our time there. On top of that we all wore masks in the house and we minimized going to the kitchen and other rooms since the maid spent most of her time there.

Wongani's parents
UNICEF Malawi/2020/Wongani Mulanga
Wongani's parents at their home in Mangochi.

Our lives had not been easy but by the grace of God, we managed to fight and we have survived. We have faced a lot during this time, for example, this other day our maid was wearing a face mask while cooking, then our neighbours’ kid saw her and she rushed to her grandmother telling her that Wonganis aunt (maid) is “wearing covid”.  When the grandmother came to see, she told her the whole story and since then she became very shy to walk in public or go outside wearing a mask. A similar thing also happened to me when an ambulance came to our house the day we were to be tested.  When the ambulance arrived, I heard someone shout ‘’covid yabwera kwa Wongani’’ (Corona has come to Wongani’s house). I felt so bad because they had already started judging us just by seeing the ambulance so how would they react after finding out that we really had corona virus? After that I decided not to tell any of my friends or neighbours for fear of being discriminated even after I get well.

Days later, I got used to telling my friends lies whenever they wanted to come over or when they asked me to visit them. Sometimes I would lie that I wasn’t home, sometimes I would say that I was busy or I would come up with any lie but I never told any of them the truth. Honestly, lying to my friends felt awful and sometimes I really wished I could just tell them the truth but I couldn’t. Then it got worse after rumors that some health workers were tested positive to COVID-19. Since my mom is a nurse, I started receiving phone calls from friends but this didn’t stop me from lying, I kept telling them that it wasn’t my mom but another health worker and that they were making a mistake and most of them believed me.

We all continued following all the measures and we made sure that all our meals are balanced, and we also followed all the remedies such as drinking warm lemonade, eating ginger, garlic, avocados and all other food stuff with higher pH than corona. Most importantly, we all stayed home to avoid infecting friends and neighbors.

Wongani Mulanga
UNICEF Malawi/2020/Wongani Mulanga

Then on Sunday 13 July 2020, the medical team came again and took our samples and by the grace of God we were all tested negative including the maid. This was the greatest news ever and we were all happy.

 I would like to tell you all that it is everyone’s duty to fight this coronavirus. And my message to all those with the virus is that you should not lose hope. Having coronavirus is not the end of the world you still have a future ahead, you can be cured just like the way my family has been cured. One more thing is if you have symptoms suggestive of coronavirus, you should always stay home to avoid spreading the virus. And for those of you that do not have the virus, I am urging you to avoid large gatherings, maintain physical distance, always remember to wash hands with soap and if possible please stay home. Coronavirus is real so please protect yourself and your loved ones from the virus.

Lastly, do not be fooled that because you are not sick then you do not have Coronavirus, I am a good example of people that have never been sick and yet I had the virus until it shed off. So please stop saying negative things about others just because they have the virus, try putting yourself in their shoes before saying bad things. The virus itself is already a bitter pill to swallow so adding that with negative sentiments only make things worse so please take coronavirus just like all the other diseases in the world