After President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that South Africa will be on lockdown for 21 days, a new reality dawned on everyone – including our own teams who have been collaborating in the region to source a new way of doing vocational training in Agriculture.
Earlier, Learning Academy Worldwide communicated advisory notifications to all the young people connected to the project. Plans are under way to honour the guidelines and instructions communicated from government – local and national.
Young people are naturally concerned about when and how to be supportive of their families and they are deeply worried about the implications of the lockdown for them all.
Information on how to respond during this time while the Corona Virus is rampant on its destructive path is especially thin in rural communities. Reading of vital information in the papers or thoroughly paying attention to TV and radio are not big priorities when survival occupies ones deepest concerns. The alarmingly low levels of literacy also means that even if information is communicated, the probability that it cannot be decoded or comprehended is desperately high.
Knowledge and crucial communications must, in a sense and in some way, be ‘broken down’, made comprehensible as ‘big words’ get in the way and the burdens of life interrupt reality. Patience and understanding bathed in trust relationships are required to support rural communities brace themselves against the pandemic of ignorance at the same time as they struggle to stay healthy. It is a dual battle that rural South Africa face.
Maybe in some way, the young people, who are now equipped with additional communications devices and resources can serve as support to rural communities to aid a clearer comprehension of what is at stake and a deeper appreciation of the value of a prudent response.
Rural small towns, like Friemersheim, for example, face unique struggles and authorities have been informed of the peculiar dangers and complexities.
- The likelihood that tourists (local and international) who cycle, drive through, hike en route to popular tourist destinations around the village, may compromise Friemersheim’s health integrity concerning the Corona Virus.
- The need for relevant and clear information that must consistently be communicated to the Friemersheim community concerning the spread and implications of the Corona Virus.
- The capacity, or limited capacity and lack of information and enforcement in and of Friemersheim to cope with any variance to its health status caused by the Corona Virus. Currently, for example, health providers at the clinic do not wear masks, gloves and/or additional protective clothing.
These risks apply to every other rural community and especially the ones who are on the, so-called, tourist routes – compliance to and an obedient reply to President Ramaphosa’s call will go a long way in mitigating that risk.