As you all know, the COVID pandemic has hit everybody hard and restricted our daily life. Across the world, different measures are being introduced to handle the pandemic to the maximum possible extent. While some measures are easier to adopt, some are rather hard to understand and follow. We, the members of YEEP team, were interested about the situation in Hawassa, Ethiopia.

Kenasa Olani, one of our YEEP-2020 participants and a student from Electrical & Computer Engineering department of the Hawassa University, took some time out to answer our questions:

How long was the pandemic in Ethiopia?

The first case in Ethiopia was reported in March 2020 and since then it has been assumed that the Covid-19 pandemic has been in Ethiopia for over 12 months.

What actions did the government take to handle the pandemic?

In response to the pandemic, the government has been taking different measures:

  • The government shut down schools, universities, transportation, and different organizations almost immediately. But we did not have a complete lockdown.
  • Furthermore, they prepared Covid centers for quarantine and treatment of infected patients.
  • In addition, many steps were taken to create awareness about the pandemic in the community and how to prevent infection or transmission of the coronavirus.
  • We were also advised to stay at home, follow social distancing, wash our hands frequently and use face masks.

These were some of the measures taken by the government in response to the pandemic, that I have personally observed. Currently, we do not have any shutdown, but there is a mandatory face mask guideline to avail services in different organizations.

Was the Hawassa University closed during the lockdown? Could students stay at the campus or did they have to go home?

During the lockdown the university was totally closed and we all went home. That was for more than 8 months.

What restrictions do you have now at Hawassa University?

Well, in the university, we do not have too many restrictions at the moment. But we do have standard measures in place, such as, requirement to use face masks in classrooms, libraries, cafeterias, and we have to follow some social distancing rules in these places, nothing more than that.

What did you miss most during the pandemic and why?

I missed my family and friends because I was unable to see them, even when I really wanted to. For the sake of avoiding Covid transmission, I was unable to attend my grandma’s funeral during the pandemic and that was one of the challenging things for me.

I also missed school because we completely stopped classes for almost 10 months.

What are the lessons you learned from the pandemic?

I have learned to value the freedom that I have in the normal seasons and to really make the most of life while I am capable of doing it, because there comes a time where you wish you could do something, but you don’t have the luxury of doing so.

I have also learned the need for the cooperative hand of the community in times of crises and the cooperative hand of world nations against global issues such as pandemics, pollution, deforestation, and the likes. A single human cannot fight alone against such problems, so we need to stand together and fight together for the preservation of our world.