At the beginning of 1980, there were rumours that the world was going to suddenly come to an end- war and a new strange disease were taking away lives in large numbers and there was no reason to deny these rumours.
Musicians coined several songs depicting helplessness, agony, confusion and a sense of no hope in society. Religions began disintegrating leading to the rise of small rebellious sects- this scenario was a closer proof of revelations in bible verses about end times.
With new rebellious Christian religions, public preaching became so intense and we got used to crusades where preachers would claim to have powers to heal the sick, enable the crippled to walk again and also claiming to raise the dead back to life. These men with spiritual powers purportedly acquired directly from the creator became to be known as Pastors- and for the past four decades we are used to Pastors.
At the beginning of 1990, the world had not come to an end but something new suddenly showed up- the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) a disease caused by a strange virus known as HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). Whoever acquired this virus died in just few months.
The manner and speed with which HIV/AIDS swallowed its victims caused fear and shocked everyone. At least every family rich or poor had a member lost to this virus. For pastors this was a sign that God was very angry with sins of man and had decided to punish the world.
Through those years while in Uganda where I was an innocent child, primary school teachers regularly sensitised us against AIDS that was described as more dangerous compared to the six killer diseases in the science syllabus at the time.
The Education Ministry at the time came up with a school drama play based on a true AIDS story. Several schools assembled drama teams for this play and competitions were held from district to national level. I was also picked for Kabalega Primary School drama team. The drama play helped sensitise millions of children and society against the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
By mid 90’s people had learnt and adjusted to live with HIV/AIDS by guarding against contamination such as not sharing scissors, razor blades, syringes and most importantly awareness on protected sex. Governments, Non-governmental organisations, hotels and hospitals preached the use of condoms (in this case masks won on male penis or sunk into the female birth canal).
In this era it is no longer necessary for governments and NGOs to conduct public awareness campaigns on how to use a condom. It is part of us just like carrying your ID or cash in your pocket. In all public restrooms there are pallets hanged on walls filled with condoms in various shapes and sizes.
Until today, scientists have failed cracking the HIV code – there is no vaccine but there is something people have mastered so meticulously; to use condoms and to regularly test and to take medication in case one acquires the virus. It is no longer a disease that kills in months but decades with no stress.
When the world clocked 2000 years AD, the dooms day preachers, conspiracy theorists and technologists threw the world into unimaginable panic.
Computers and everything digitally calibrated was expected to crash and Jesus was meant to drop from the skies and institute a global court to judge both sinners and good people.
Christians spent the first days of 2000 in church waiting for the world to end while they are in the repentance and in the presence of God. Nothing happened instead the world became more tempting and drastically shifting away from God. Pastors conduct prepaid prayers to church members.
Pastors claim to have the ability and spiritual to predict everything about a person, country and situations- you need to pay money and get the prediction on anything on request.
Since the hand of the natural clock never stops, it was not surprising that the year 2020 checked in but in style. It has arrived with Coronavirus that causes #COVID-19 a disease that kills in just hours.
On March 13, Rwanda checked on the list of countries that had received and confirmed a #COVID-19 case, it arrived by a plane and touched ground at Kigali International Airport. By mid-May cases in the country have reached 287 with a devastating impact on economy after people closed themselves inside homes for two months.
After hiding away from the #COVID-19 disease, Rwandans and other people across the world have realised that they to live with this strange viral disease. There are strict measures in place to protect individuals from spreading and acquiring the deadly Coronavirus.
Rwanda Police has warned it will arrest and prosecute anyone found roaming in public without shielding their face with a mask. Hotels, coffee shops and lodges will take details of whoever enters there for services because such information is very crucial in contact tracing.
During the HIV/AIDS early days, there was nothing like contact tracing but it may have saved lives if implemented. The major weapon and widely recommended and used to prevent HIV infections has been a condom.
Borrowing the same procedure, countries and health experts are increasingly preaching and implementing a mandatory use of the face-mask or simply the “Face condom”, which we are adjusting to live with.
Therefore, in 2020 you are expected to have several types of condoms; sleep under a mosquito treated bed net (bed condom) to prevent you against mosquitoes and malaria, always use a condom for protected sex if you can’t abstain ( to prevent against HIV infection).
Without a vaccine in sight and governments not ready to let economies crumble under extended lockdowns, people should learn that #COVID-19 is still around and have no choice but to use a face-mask to prevent spreading and acquiring the new death – #COVID-19.