Opinion

Saluting Our Unseen And Unsung Heroes

From small acts of kindness to good deeds affecting hundreds of people, many Fijians are doing what they can to help out in the midst of all the COVID-19 related chaos.
30 May 2020 11:22
Saluting Our Unseen And Unsung Heroes
Joeli Colati of the Ministry of Health (left) screens one year-old Zabata Zaula with relatives Seremaia Koroi and Ema Tiko at Nadonomai Settlment during the Ministry of Health COVID-19 mobile clinic in Lami on April 22, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Opinion:

  • AnnMary Raduva is a Year 11 student at St Joseph’s Secondary School. She is an International Eco-Champion Hero and Climate Activist

When we think of champions during the coronavirus pandemic, we probably limited our thoughts to the countless medical personnel who put their lives on the line to help coronavirus patients and their families.

And these medical professionals should be rightfully acknowledged and appreciated!

And, in spite of the uncertainties that this pandemic has brought, there are still many men and women who are continuing to work amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. They may not get the glory and acknowledgment they deserve every day, but across Fiji, these people have risked their health and welfare to keep the rest of us going.

These are our unsung heroes and heroines who are helping us survive this pandemic. In our experience, the parallel threat of TC Harold in April and COVID-19 meant more unseen and unsung champions working together in our communities – without fanfare or publicity or protective clothing and medical equipment to protect themselves from the novel coronavirus – so we can be safe.

Today, I would like to salute the supermarket employees, the Suva City Council employees who have never missed garbage collection day, the teachers who compiled worksheets and kept checking in on their students, the journalists who have been on the frontline informing the general public with updates of the virus, the individuals and groups distributing food ration to families and vulnerable groups in our communities, the farmers supplying foodstuff, the Police officers manning checkpoints and patrolling hot spots during lockdown and volunteers showing courage and resilience helping the most vulnerable groups.

Along with our health professionals, these are our other unseen and unsung COVID-19 champions who also work in different capacities during these challenging times. It would not be a bad idea if the role of these heroes are also acknowledged, because they deserve it.

On social media, coronavirus champions have bartered and distributed food packets, baby formula milk and baby diapers to assist with families that have suddenly found their source of income terminated, made redundant or working on reduced hours. The pandemic has prompted people all over the country to help those less fortunate – my silver lining to COVID-19. These random acts of kindness prevailing in uncertain times are priceless!

From small acts of kindness to good deeds affecting hundreds of people, many Fijians are doing what they can to help out in the midst of all the COVID-19 related chaos.

These real warriors walk and live amongst us.

I hope that when we think back on this time, we will remember how many good people worked so hard to keep our families safe, often risking themselves.

These are people we often take for granted and identify just by a job title – I pray that we will learn to know and call these unseen and unsung heroes by their names and to remember how much we owe them. I also hope that we will appreciate the ingenuity of our teachers, who have tried to find ways to keep us on our academic feet through the pandemic with patience and understanding.

Two mornings ago, while we enjoyed our usual family banter over breakfast, my 13-year-old sister and I shared a joke and laughed our hearts off. Our parents imagined that the joke was on them, but it was a delight to see everyone laughing and trading smiles across the family breakfast table.

I only hope that everyone remembers that joke and our laughter that filled our small living space as well we the people who have been on the frontline battling this pandemic and ensuring that my family is safe.

As we start to see and feel the ease of lockdown restrictions, returning to normal, might feel unfamiliar, but let us use this feeling to show kindness and be more appreciative of the people who live an ordinary life, but contributes so much in such times.    Amidst all the challenges that is associated with COVID -19, I have seen our own people rise with immense strength, generosity and resilience to overcome these challenges in our own “Fiji time” and Fijian way.

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