Family Fragrance during COVID-19

UNICEF staff shares family’s new aroma

Songporn Leelakitichok
A young boy is pruning a plant
UNICEF Thailand
18 June 2020

As part of the efforts to contain the spread of the virus, children have also had to stay home and learn remotely. Their screen time visibly increased.

For Natha Somjaivong, UNICEF’s Corporate Engagement Officer, her 10-year-old son Num is old enough to keep himself busy, spending more time alone than with his family.  Like many children, Num initially chose to dedicate his time at home to electronics, watching TV, and reading comic books. “During the first phase of the COVID-19 lockdown, he spent most of the time on his video game so much that I started to get worried,” Natha told us.  That was when she realized the value of off-screen activities and altered his attention to roof-top gardening with his grandfather.

“We encouraged him to help grandpa sweep off water from the ground after he finishes watering trees and plants and to pick the flowers that are ready to use at home and separate stems for fertilizer,” said Natha.  She thought he would do it just to follow her instructions, but she was surprised to find that Num has been very proud of his new activity that just turned him into a new garden enthusiast.  When asked, “He held my hand and led me to smell a bullet wood flower grandpa has just watered.”

“Num told me that he loves the refreshing fragrance from the bullet woods,” she said.

Left: A woman wearing blue dress, an old man wearing glasses, and a young boy in an royal blue suit.
UNICEF Thailand

The COVID-19 situation at home has brought a big smile to Num’s grandfather –one that is brighter than before when he smelled the bullet woods alone.  This unique stay-at-home period has turned Num’s solo time into a sweet quality time with his family and his grandparents. “Stay-at-home time did us wonders. We have a truly quality family time,” Natha closes the conversation in delight.


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