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Reflections-Positive lessons in Belize from the COVID-19 pandemic

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Posted: Sunday, April 19, 2020. 2:51 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, most countries, including Belize took drastic lock down measures. The measures were instituted to prevent the rapid spread of COVID-19 thereby reducing the strain on our fragile health systems and to reduce the high mortality associated with the COVID-19 virus.

As many respected the “Stay at home” orders and the economy collapsed, there are lots of good things happening in Belize and positive lessons for all of us. BBN has decided to share some of the most important ones we have noticed with you.

1. Save for the rainy day. The first positive thing we all learned from being hit with such a pandemic is that we always need to save for rainy days. When this is all behind us, we can focus on cutting back unnecessary luxuries and save a little bit from every pay-check so that we may have some savings for rough times. Saving is a cultural thing. It is widely known that some people with high income have little to no savings while some with very low income still have a small saving. Many Belizeans live for today only and we need to start saving for tomorrow.

2. Local farmers are very important so buy local – Our local farmers are very important to keep healthy food on our tables. If our food staples such as rice, beans, corn, chicken, beef and pork were imported, Belize would be facing a bigger problem when it comes to feeding the people. We must therefore continue to buy local and keep our money at home. The more local products we buy, the more our money circles within Belize, reducing the need for us to import foreign food which might be difficult to obtain during a pandemic.

3. Our health care and front-line worker are brave, courageous and must be appreciated. While it is not a perfect landscape, Belize’s doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers have risen to the challenge doing what they can to protect our country from the rapid spread of COVID-19. Dr. Marvin Manzanero has proven himself as a champion, and he is assisted by many within the Ministry of Health and the private sector. It is impossible to put a comprehensive list here, it is important to highlight the nurses and public health officers who take the swabs for testing, the lab technicians analyzing the samples, the police and BDF. The efforts of all front-line and essential workers is highly appreciated.

4. The Government and Opposition can work hand in hand – We are all humans and despite our differences, we are able to join and help each other during these challenging times. Who would have thought that the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition were able to work in unity and co-chair the National COVID-19 Committee.

5. Our cooking skills are tested and improved during the #stayathome. Before the pandemic, many people got use to eating out or simply buying breakfast and lunch. However, during the lockdown, those who didn’t know how to cook or are learning to cook are finding time to cook their home meals. Residents are also being innovative in their cooking ideas especially with rationing items to feed their families.

6. More time is being spent with family and interaction is forced to occur. We got used to live in a very busy world, running to or from work, attending meetings, seminars, conferences etc. Being at home has given us the opportunity to bring back family conversations on the porch, enforce reading time and family interaction is being strengthened. In fact, families are even having meals together rather than rushing out the door.

7. Community love is strong. All over the country, the Government, community and church groups and individuals are reaching out to those in need. Some are doing it silently while others post their good deeds on social media. Our love and kindness for each other as brothers and sisters is being demonstrated by the many donors and distributors handing food hampers to families most in need.

8. And, thousands of people in Belize and all over the world turn to God during these uncertain times, for guidance, for protection, for uplifting and for the provision of basic necessities. Now, more than ever, God is touching the hearts of many and it is being shown in kind deeds, helping out a neighbor in need, assisting front line workers and offering assistance in sewing masks, giving food, and extending a helping hand.

Ultimately, as our country and world leaders have also asserted, by respecting the protocols put in place, caring for ourselves and each other and using prayer will take us safely through this pandemic.

Feel free to share anything positive that you have learnt or seen during this pandemic-induced lockdown.

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