In my country, babysitting is not a business, it is just an act of generosity and a gesture for genuine love. Mostly, young children in the family (little nephews, cousins, and sisters) are always at the forefront of this generous act. As one of the youngest children in the family, my mother has always lent me to my newlywed uncles to watch over their first children. However, this experience left me with separation anxiety issues. Part of it was that, when I was five, my mom gave me to my uncle to be watching over his newborn daughter. With me being a well-spoken 5 year-old, my uncle’s wife wasn’t aware that I was still young and incapable of performing hard chores like older babysitters. She could force me to watch over myself and punish me like an adult each time I failed to accomplish my chores. This made me feel neglected, unwanted, and forced me to reflect on how worst my life could be without a mother. Therefore, making separation from loved ones, helplessness, and inability to take charge of the situation my worst fears.

With covid19 pandemic, these feelings and memories are freshly back. Being unable to go home in this global crisis makes me afraid and anxious of what might happen to my family members. Also, with my older siblings grown with their own families and my little brother being out of the country, I could feel my mother’s anxiety and stress of being unable to protect her youngest son and daughter. However, I feel the exact opposite. I want to be her superwoman for once. To me, this is the time to reciprocate how my mother has been protective and caring. I want to be there to do grocery shopping for her, fetch water, and get anything she might need. Unfortunately, the fact that I can’t go home makes me feel useless because I am not there for people who need me the most.

However, knowing that everyone is going through exactly the same thing pushed me to fight some sense of guilt. Instead of sitting down and allowing anxiety and fear to consume me, I have redefined separation from loved ones, helplessness, and inability to take charge of the situation. To me, the physical connection is not the only way that families feel connected. I can feel close to my family through establishing good communication which I have been working on since the start of the pandemic. Also, I stopped worrying about being helpless and useless because I have all the support I need from the Agnes Scott community, and I can also give the support I could to people who mean the most to me regardless of being away. Further, I realized that I am in total control of my emotions and feelings. As a result, I ignore what I cannot control about covid19 and work on how I feel about it.

This Article was writen by Aluel Arou.

Aluel Arou is a rising junior pursuing Public Health and Biology at Agnes Scott College. Her career interests are in Epidemiology and Bio-statistics. In the first and second years, Aluel immersed herself in learning and applying concepts in Epidemiology, Genetics, Statistics, Bioinformatics, Public Health, and Chemistry. In the last academic year, she worked for the Resource Center for Math and Science as a Statistics and Biology tutor. Last summer, Aluel launched a Community Action Project (CAP) where she trained 10 high school students on the risk factors associated with traditional ways of treating jaundice patients through extensive education on the underlying causes of jaundice in Bor, South Sudan. She also had the opportunity to participate in the Solar-SPELL piloting program in South Sudan as a South Sudan Summer Project Intern. During her internship, she trained teachers from middle and high school on how to navigate SolarSPELL, a portable solar-powered educational learning library designed for use in areas without physical libraries, and facilitated monitoring and evaluation. Aluel enjoys consuming much of her evening hours at the dining hall(Evans) speaking to friends, loves watching movies and shows, reading books, and posing for pictures.

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