COVID-19 pandemic through the eyes of children in Nagaland

Vishü Rita Krocha

Kohima | May 29

Children have remained indoors for a relatively long time amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. With educational institutions being shut since March 17, the very way they learn has also taken a different turn, and in their own little ways, they are trying to adapt to the “new normal”. There are hues of sadness even as they discover more truths about the pandemic, and watch an uncertain future unfolding before their eyes.

In Lakhuti, spread about 128 kilometres from the state capital, 10 year old, Arenth Enni wonders if he will ever see his grandparents again. His parents have moved to Lakhuti in view of his father’s posting and all the closest families he has known are scattered in Kohima, Dimapur, and other places. He is understandably worried if corona touches his home ground. “Where do we go for checkup if we get infected? Aren’t we all going to die alone?” These are questions he poses to his mother.  

Arenth and his two siblings are constantly updating themselves on coronavirus by watching news on TV while his little 7-year old sister, Florence would frequently ask their parents, “where has corona reached?” Other times, they occupy themselves by watching TV or playing ludo.

His eldest sister— Joyce Enni is 11 years old and in a conversation with The Morung Express, she says, “I miss school. I miss my friends and teachers. I miss studying.” They are getting daily assignments from school but that’s obviously not the same thing as going to school. “I am just staying at home, doing assignments but when I finish school work, I am also stitching Barbie dresses,” she elatedly states.

“I want to become a designer when I grow up,” she goes on to say while expressing that during this period of lockdown, she has designed about 6 Barbie dresses. What is the first thing she wants to do after the pandemic is over? “Go to shop,” she exclaims. 

For many children, the pandemic has denied them the simple joy of going to shops and buying candies. 9 year old, Liree Jane Krocha says, “Corona is very scary. I am thinking about school, friends, teachers, tiffins, and how I want to go out so much and buy sweets.” Expressing that “I can’t wait to go to school,” she further relates that “there are some lessons I can’t understand without teachers’ explanation” which is one of the reasons why she wants to go back to school.

On the news that Nagaland now has positive cases of coronavirus, she expresses, “I feel sad because Papa has to go to work every day.” However, on the brighter side, she is also indulging herself in drawing, a bit of stitching, and babysitting her one week old baby brother.

Another 10 year old boy in Kohima, Mehipfu Magh states, “corona is very dangerous” and goes on to add, “we have to maintain one metre distance, use hand sanitizers, wear mask, and frequently wash hands.” Quite aware of the surging number of people dying from coronavirus across the world, he expresses, “I feel sad for those who are dying. Even Kohima has positive cases now and we have to be more careful.”

“People should not go out unless it’s very important and even if they do, they must maintain social distancing,” he further adds. Mehipfu Magh attends Living Tree School, Kohima and is currently studying in class 5. “We have online classes and sometimes video calls, but it’s not like going to school. I miss my friends,” he articulates. When he is done with school assignments, he says, “I play GTA 5”.