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Confinement in France!

By Uche Ogwuegbu on 7 Aug, 2020

On Thursday the 12 th of March, President Macron announced that France was going into confinement as from the 16th of March. By then, Switzerland and Germany had closed their borders with France. First shocker for me.

 As we all closed work on Friday the 13th of March, I could read the fear and apprehension on all our faces. The future was really uncertain. The first 2 weeks of confinement, I lived in fear. The silence in Paris was deafening, it had become a ghost city where the only company you might have while walking on the streets were the pigeons. Macron said we were at war, it felt like war, only we were fighting an invisible enemy.

 The only constant sounds were those of the sirens of ambulances conveying the sick and dying. Watching the number of infected and dead of Covid-19 on the television was another constant. Sometimes, I wept bitter tears at the hopelessness, would I ever see my family and friends? Would I ever see Nigeria? What would the world be after the pandemic? So many questions and no answers. We felt the government was lying to us and was hiding information from us, which was confirmed - first, we were told masks were unnecessary, after over 10,000 deaths, we were told we must all wear masks.

I started wearing a mask. Since all restaurants and shops were closed, only the pharmacies and supermarkets stayed open. The only things one could buy were food and medication. I have to say that I saved so much money in those three months of confinement. 

An old man who lived with his dog died in my building. For four days, no one knew he was dead until the stench from his apartment became unbearable. The fire service was called and on opening the door, they discovered the dead man. His dog that had been starving, had started eating his flesh. Suffice it to say that as soon as we came out of confinement on the 12th of May, I moved out of that building.

Covid-19 is a humbler and a very devastating one. Its ravages would take decades to put right. Today, I am glad that I have a job to go back to. My work was what kept me sane. Working from home, webinar meetings became the norm. Sometimes I was so bored, I worked on Sundays, there was nothing else to do. I learnt that in certain situations in life, your money cannot help you and is practically useless, the will to survive is actually of more importance.

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