Hibernation, hustlers and hard realities
By XN Iraki | May 27th 2020
Can we handle seasons like flora and fauna?
Animals and plants are tuned to respond to change in seasons. They hibernate in cold winter or shed their leaves. They accumulate fats and energy to take them through the lean season. Their metabolism slows down, too. Depending on the region and how far they are from the Equator, the lean season can last for months.
Most Kenyans can’t figure out the seasons, we have an endless summer. Can you imagine living in temperatures colder than your fridge? In June-July, our winter, we see Kenyans with layers of clothes on, a mockery of real winters.
The Covid-19 lockdown and its restrictions was a forced hibernation. But unlike animals, we had no storage of fats and energy. No wonder after about 50 days, we had to get out of hibernation, our reservoir of food and resilience ran out. Animals never die in hibernation, but we could starve in hibernation. Maybe we should stop looking down on animals and learn from them.
A drive through Nairobi shows hibernation is over. I have only left Nairobi once for a funeral in the countryside. Waiyaki Way, Thika and Lang’ata roads again have floods of people in the morning going to work.
Traffic jams are becoming common while late evening queues characterise supermarkets. It seems hibernation is over without any official announcement.
Have we lost against nature? Except the effects of climatic change, animals and plants keep their bargain in hibernation. They stay put till the season is over. Animals in their dens. Trees never flower before season or after season. Surprisingly, rains confused fruits last year, and they ripened past their normal time.
Let us not pretend – the lockdown was against our instincts and reality; it was bound to follow the laws of nature. We are not hibernators, despite the health benefits of that.
Remember the economic system is against any hibernation. We are encouraged to work as hard as possible. Such hard work is valued and more so if there are tangible economic benefits like wealth espoused by asset accumulation. In developed countries, our only hibernation, called sleep, is interrupted through the 24-hour economy.
The rich and affluent may still be hibernating after Covid-19 came ashore. But the reality can’t allow hustlers to. And they constitute the majority of the population. That leaves us wondering; will Covid-19 be sorted out by letting nature take its course, including herd immunity? In good faith, what’s the end game on this virus?
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