Ever since the start of the lockdown, the biggest challenge has been getting to work on days when we have to report for duty. Otherwise we spend our days off at home. Public transport is scarce and our employer did not make provision for staff, so we have had to find our own way to because the “no work, no pay” policy stands.
The Department of Social Development then decided that children staying at such welfare facilities should be kept there during the lockdown, instead of going to their actual homes, so we have had to take care of them.
The biggest concern was when we were told we would have to stay at the care facility for the duration of the lockdown, and no longer go home when off duty. Some of my colleagues are single parents, and they were faced with the tough decision of leaving their kids and families so they can get paid. Another reason for us to spend the lockdown at the facility was to avoid contracting the virus outside and infecting the kids we take care of, especially since all of us use public transport.
The home provides daily check-ups and whoever is found to have signs of any sickness is taken to a private doctor used by the home. We are also provided with facemasks, gloves and sanitisers are available at all cottages, which the cleaning staff sanitise daily.
The kids at the cottages are not entirely happy with being locked inside. They believe the virus is not that serious, the home is just keeping them inside to punish them and keep them away from their friends. We try to convince them to take the lockdown seriously by making them watch the news every day but somehow they still believe they are being held hostage. To show that they are not taking the virus seriously, one child said “If I feel like I have the symptoms of the virus I will not say anything because I want to see if this thing is real and definitely would not want to die alone. I will not practise social distancing.”
After this, we had to monitor them very closely.
The lockdown has forced us to spend more time with the kids. We are dealing with children who have been through so much in life at a young age, they can be rebellious at times but we have to keep our cool and focus on the task at hand, keeping them safe during this pandemic.