I am only 15 years old and I am afraid. The coronavirus has everyone in South Africa panicking: my family, my teachers, and even my friends who generally joke about most things in life.  Anything can happen at any time and my biggest fear is that someone I care about will be taken away from me. For the past two weeks, I have almost become a prisoner in my own home and now that the schools have been closed, I can see myself becoming a bit of a recluse.

We have become obsessive about personal hygiene and I wonder why we have not been doing this our entire lives.  I no longer hug my friends or shake their hands.  I hope they understand.  I just want to stay healthy and I want them too as well.   I saw the looks I got when using my hand sanitizer at school and I heard some of the snide remarks.  It’s OK.  I prefer to be prepared.

I look at my brother, he is 12 years old and going to high school next year.  I am worried about his future.  He has not had a chance to really live yet. I want him to be safe and happy.  I want him to have a fair chance of living out his dreams.

I look at my sister, she turns 10 next month.  She is the smartest, happiest person I know.  She should not have to worry about something like this, but she does because she cares about everyone around her.  She wants to be a plastic surgeon one day but for now, all I want for her is to just be a child.

We have to start caring more about each other.

My mom worries about me reading all the news updates, but I want to know what is happening.  I don’t like surprises – especially not those involving a global pandemic.  I want to find out as much about the coronavirus as I can.  This will help me to stay safe and keep others safe as well. I can’t just sit back and watch people suffer.  I want to help. We need to start helping each other.

As much as I worry about myself, my family, and my friends, I also worry a lot about the people living in rural and disadvantaged areas.  A lot of people don’t even have running water and electricity let alone hand sanitizer and Vitamin C supplements.  If one person in a house of 20 gets sick, chances are everyone else will as well.  We have to help them.  We have to start caring more about each other.

I want to be a marine biologist when I finish school, I want to travel the world,  I want to get married and have a family,  I want to see my parents become grandparents, I want my brother and sister to grow up and be happy and successful.

I don’t know how this will end for any of us.  I hope it ends well.  This can only happen though if we all do our best to contain the virus.

Please wash your hands. Please avoid physical contact.  Take the virus seriously.

I still have my whole future ahead of me, and so do you.

Written By: Trent B

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