Vishü Rita Krocha
Kohima | April 17
“When can we go to school?” is a question that 6-year old girl, Alexandra often asks her mom ever since schools were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the lockdown still in force and only provision for essential commodities made available, her mother had gone out to buy vegetables in the neigbourhood and still had her mask around her neck when she returned.
‘I really miss school’
Alexandra wanted to know if others were also wearing masks and why. To which her mother explained again that the virus is still out there and which is why, they cannot still step out or go to school. The little girl was concerned if her teachers would also get sick and die. After a discourse on how everybody is vulnerable to it, she heart-wrenchingly responded, “I didn’t’ know kids can die when they are young.”
Alexandra, who is a Grade-1 student of Northfield School, Kohima confesses that “I really miss school. I miss my teachers, my friends, I really want to get back to school but this season is virus time.” “I want the virus to go away so we can go to our school, study and learn so much stuff,” she expressed.
On being asked how she is spending her time at home since the lockdown, she said (in a voice note), “I have been playing with my brother and sister, and I ride bicycle with them. My dad teaches us how to ride and my mother even teaches me how to knit. I like to draw and I do my homework and I love my parents.”
Her mother, Theyiesinuo Keditsu, highlighted that for each of their kids, they have a class WhatsApp group wherein their class teachers have given them some areas they want to cover. Keditsu who teaches at Kohima College states, “As a working mom, there’s always a constant struggle to balance work and home - a lot of guilt that I’m not giving 100% to my kids, husband and home.” “Well, lockdown is giving me a taste of that greener side of the grass. It’s fulfilling but yes, exhausting too. With news of people losing their loved ones, entire families dying, this has been a time to immerse myself in my family,” she puts across.
Stating that she misses school too, she further elaborates that “it isn't easy to teach 3 kids and my respect for the teachers who teach our kids every day (and teach them well enough that our kids adore them) has grown exponentially! I really hope that after this crisis, parents will be more open to cooperate with (especially private) schools to ensure that teachers are paid very well.” “The deluge of brainless, insensitive, dehumanizing garbage on social media has been a shock for sure. I thought we were made of better stuff. It's been a time of introspection. I hope we collectively learn to be more compassionate & to learn the importance of restraint”, she adds.
What other children are experiencing during lockdown
8-year old girl, Chonjani, while expressing that “there are times I am scared of the virus and also sad because so many people are dying”, she however states that she is enjoying the time she gets to spend with her family at home, playing a lot of games, studying, cooking with her mom, and sunbathing in the balcony. Further stating that “I miss my friends and teachers”, she goes on to express, “I don't want my family to get Covid-19 or anyone in the world to be affected. I don't want people to lose their family.”
13-year old Sochumlo Suki Ezung hopes that “in the future when we look back, we will see the pandemic not so much as a killer disease but a fight that brought humanity together in compassion.” She has been reading a bit of the new academic year books, doing a bit of writing (poems mostly) playing a lot of creative fun games with family, sitting idle lost in thoughts as she puts it, cooking and also maintaining a lockdown journal.
Somirin Raikhan, aged 10 and Angel Raikhan aged 13, who are sisters, said during this lockdown period, they have been cooking, reading books, watching TV, studying and cleaning the house. The sisters have also picked up a couple of new skills such as knitting coasters and stitching. They are currently studying in Class 5 and Class 8 respectively at Mount Hermon Higher Secondary School and are also being given assignments by their teachers on a daily basis.
On the positive side of learning at home, Angel Raikhan says, “I like getting assignments to do at home and it is good because we can learn more, and no disturbance from other classmates and no need to carry a heavy bag to school everyday.”
The sisters further added, “we hope there will be cure and we can go back to our daily lives. In the meantime, during this lockdown, nature is given a break from pollution and so even after it’s being lifted, we must continue to keep our environment clean and nature pollution free.”