Dear Cousin Saidou,
How are you doing? I hope everything is going well for you during these difficult times. I know we have not seen each other for two years and I miss you deeply. Also, I know you told me that Guinea has not been affected as much by the COVID-19 virus as here in the United States. But, I still worry about you and our family there. While being in New York, I had to spend four months in our apartment without going anywhere. During quarantine, I spent most of my time watching Netflix movies and television series. Although this helped the time pass, I was stressed and I missed socializing with my friends, family, and teachers. However, the positive part about being in quarantine at home was that I gained a little bit of knowledge about how to do my own makeup, how to cook, and how to dance. Not only did I learn new skill sets, but I was able to connect with my family because they were not working and I was not going to school.
The Coronavirus has had major impacts on me and the rest of the family in New York. During the months of March, April, and May, New York City was the epicenter of the pandemic. We were not allowed to go out. Governor Andrew Cuomo mandated a lockdown every evening from 7:00 P.M. to 5:00 A.M., and we were told to stay in our apartments except for essential things. I was scared and at the same time thankful for being healthy and alive at these uncertain times.
The government closed down schools in New York because of the virus and we started taking online classes. Having classes online made it difficult for me; I like to be in class and be in contact with the teachers in order to understand the materials. The hardest part was graduating online and not having the opportunity to say goodbye to friends and teachers. The past four years I was dreaming of this moment of being on stage with my diploma with friends and family watching. Instead, we graduated on zoom, and I still did not receive my diploma after completing school. This was a stepping stone for my education. I was disappointed; this moment meant everything for me.
When the lockdown was finally lifted we started going out. I remember seeing an African American man in the New York City subway. He was yelling at an Asian woman saying that she brought this disease here. She sat there and didn’t speak; no one spoke up for her either. I wish I had done something, but I didn’t know how to do it. In addition, people have stopped ordering food from Asian restaurants and buying anything from their stores. Even my brother, who always buys rice and chicken from local Chinese markets, has stopped going.
Now I’m a college student and the COVID-19 situation is still the same. Some of my peers in my college are quarantined if the campus suspects them of any infection. We wear masks that were not normal for me and many people before because I usually only see them in the hospitals being worn by doctors or nurses. COVID-19 reminds me of a fictional television show that I watched called the Walking Dead. Have you seen it? In the show, when you have a bite mark everyone runs away from you. Just like now, when you cough everyone looks at you fearfully. Contrary to the Television Show, COVID-19 is reality and affects the whole world.
In the coming year, I hope things will get better and everything will go back to normal.
What you want to tell your cousin?