My 2 weeks of my internship in Lira

1st week

It has been more than two weeks that I have been staying in Lira. For the first two days after arriving in Lira, I did not feel 100% well. This is due to the distance I traveled by car, the holes in the road and the change in weather, which made my body restless. I haven’t really been able to rest since I arrived in Uganda. I feel like my body hasn’t gotten a good rest. I suspect that my body was acting strange from the beginning, since I arrived in Lira, that it started shivering, feeling cold and hot, had a little sore throat, a little lightheaded. I was afraid at first that I had gotten malaria, but that’s not the case. I think those symptoms come from low blood pressure combined with the body being exhausted.

At the beginning of the week, I had an orientation week about the organization. CCVS (Center for Children in Vulnerable Situations) is an organization that promotes the mental health of children, adolescents and adults. It is an organization that conducts research and fieldwork. I participated in the fieldwork by going to the villages which are 4 hours drive back and forth. I must say that this was really tiring, but one day after another I got carsick. It was interesting to see how the group counseling was given by psychological counselors.

On Tuesday and Wednesday we attended the first session in the field and it consisted of women in Ngai and Abok. The psychological counselors were the ones who gave the sessions and interpreted for me and my mentor so that we could follow the sessions. The session is held in the local language (Luo language). During the group sessions, I took notes so that I could easily follow the sessions and remember what the sessions were about: talking about the different topics, doing different exercises, etc. At the end of the week, we had a meeting on Friday. At the meeting we had to update each other on how we were feeling, and what the challenges and successes of the week were.

I was well received by my mentor and she really made sure I was settled in overall. One weekend I was invited by her to her house for dinner, along with her friend. First, I got a tour of the city with my personal Boda Boda. He drove me around to discover places and streets. I also drove through Got Ngetta Rock and stopped to take some photos and videos. On Sunday, I decided to go to the salon, where the person in charge of my accommodation contacted the person who always does her hair. So she helped me make an appointment, so you can see in the photo below what my braided hair looks like 🙂


2nd week

During the second week in Lira, I did some office work. I talked to staff members about their work, I asked questions and observed. On Tuesday, I went to the field in Ngai. There I participated in 2 group sessions. This was session 2 for all in one day. I had to take notes from the group sessions so that I can fill in the notes later in the assessments of the session notes. The colleague guided me on what I needed to do. I sat and brainstormed ideas for my research proposal. During the weekend, I met the new Chief Executive Director of CCVS, she is a Dutch person from Kampala. I had a one-on-one conversation with her.

On Thursday, I went for the first time to another village, ‘Aromo’, together with my mentor and the new Chief Executive Director. I went there to observe the ‘male’ group sessions and did a short introduction. It was interesting to see how psychological counselors handle male group sessions compared to female group sessions. I wrote down some observation notes about their gestures and behavioral aspects. I could not understand what they were saying because we decided not to follow their stories because it is their second session and to see strangers appear in the middle of a sensitive topic. We told the psychologist to talk in his language without interpreting. My mentor and the new Chief Executive Director and I talked about conducting family therapy training for staff members because I was talking about my previous education. I majored in Family Studies; they came up with that idea. I even talked about some topics that I noticed the organization was not focusing on such as “Family Reunification” for former child soldier in families. My mentor thought this was a good idea to implement in a case manual.

On Tuesday, the person in charge of the accommodation had a birthday that day. Her husband organized a small surprise birthday party in the restaurant’s bar. It was fun, I met new people and danced in a club for the first time since COVID-19. Of course, we still respected the restrictions and rules.

On Friday we had another meeting, but even during the meeting I had to go with my landlord to register with the security officer and the chief official and I got their contact information. Then we were invited to a welcome party with the staff. It is a party meant for me and the new Chief Executive Director.

One week quarantine in Uganda

My first week in Uganda was very exciting. I have to say that there were especially tense and stressful moments about the housing arrangements for my stay in Lira, where my internship takes place.

My fellow students and I all arrived safely around midnight on the 24th of January in Entebbe. It’s nice to travel in group knowing that you’re not alone travelling (even though I’m also used to travelling by myself). It was my first time experiencing this.


Later we were all picked up by drivers from ViaVia Hotel in Entebbe, hosted by a Belgian couple. We stayed at the hotel in quarantine for a week. We all booked rooms in groups of 4, 2,2. On our first day of stay, we were given a tour of our hotel. They gave us information about the hotel and their projects. Then we went to the Shopping Mall in Entebbe to withdraw or exchange money. We bought our new Ugandan SIM cards for our mobile data.

While we were in quarantine, we were given tasks to work on a project with the staff. We were all grouped and worked together on different projects.

A fellow student and I were both responsible for a project about ‘plants and compost’. Others had to deal with ‘bicycles and chickens’, create posters / brochures and improve the system by working with Microsoft Excel.

I have to say that I am not alone in feeling this way that it was a hectic period with many uncertainties that required the housing arrangements from some of us … It was a bit stressful not to have the full extent of the information for our accommodation .

After working on our individual projects, we did some activities. We first started with boxing. Let me tell you this … it was pretty extreme. During our warm-up session, almost everyone felt exhausted and out of breath. The boxing teacher was not kidding and forced us to work to the limit. But we somehow survived!

The day after we danced some African. That’s my favorite part of sports 😀 Because I used to take dance lessons, it gave me the opportunity to move again, even though we had muscle pain from boxing.

We had the privilege of seeing some wildlife close to where we stayed. We woke up to see a velvet monkey up close. The monkey was sitting on the deck opposite our room. During the night we caught a glimpse of a wild cat (genet cat).

Then we visited the Oriental Garden and then Lake Victoria. We did Lake Victoria by boat. It was a beautiful journey. We saw different types of birds. Fortunately, we saw the Shoebill on Lake Victoria. It was one of the most beautiful scenery! We got to see the sunset up close ❤

Finally we went to the landfill where the Ugandan woman who came to talk to us after our boxing session about the waste recycling. I have to say it wasn’t the best scenery to look at, but it was an eye opener. Then we rode mountain bikes around Entebbe. We stopped at the Reptile Village and the Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Center – Zoo. We have seen monkeys roaming free in the zoo.

In ViaVia Hotel we completed our projects after intensive work and several meetings in combination with guests who came to talk about Uganda. The Belgian ambassador spoke about diplomatic relations between Uganda and Belgium. A guest speaker, one of my fellow student’s mentors, came to talk about the history of Uganda. Another mentor from one of my fellow students recorded a video about ‘Volunteering and Internship’. It was interesting to understand more about Uganda.

There were days during lunch and dinner when we ate delicious local food. The food we ate was ‘Matoke’ with beans, groundnut sauce, nakati, rice, cassava, etc. I really enjoyed it! Especially the beans are one of my favorite food! 🙂

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On January 31, everyone left for their own region, where they do their internship. This will be a new challenge for everyone in my group. It will be worth it, I am so excited to see what kind of experiences I will encounter! 🙂

Exciting New Year 2021

First of all I would like to wish everyone a prosperous, peaceful, healthy and happy New Year 2021! May you all have a blessed year full of love, positive attitude, self-care and happiness… Hopefully this year is a year of healing and transformation. Use our past to strengthen us and lift up others! ❤

Like almost everyone else, I celebrated New Year’s Eve, because of the strict rules, with my mother, sister and my sister’s friend. It was peaceful without fireworks since it’s forbidden here in Belgium. We did our countdown with champagne and watched some movies together. 🙂 It wasn’t the typical NYE party I’m used to, but a moment together with our loved ones is worth celebrating!

2020 has been the toughest year for everyone. All the more I realize that 2020 is over so quickly. I am so excited to announce that I officially graduated in the month of December and I received my diploma and extra surprises by mail. It is not the kind of proclamation session I expected to have, but this will not undermine my happiness and pride. Under such difficult circumstances, I told myself to never give up and work hard for what I want in life. The more I believe in myself, the more I get motivated to make things done. 🙂

On January 23rd I will go to Uganda for my internship abroad. I am studying towards an Advanced Bachelor Degree ‘International Cooperation for North-South Relations’ which focuses on international cooperation and intercultural exchange between North and South. This will be a whole new experience for me. Even though I already gained experience with an internship abroad in my previous bachelor program, as I mentioned in my previous blog post.

I am looking forward to new adventures that will have an impact on my life. This program that I am following will offer me many opportunities for my future career. It is a privilege to be able to follow a five month internship program abroad to further implement my expertise and knowledge in Uganda.

However, I am aware of the circumstances of COVID-19, so it is still uncertain how much the regulations will influence the whole trip. However, we are lucky to be able to travel a week after the elections. I am going with seven fellow students and we will go into quarantine in Kampala together for a week before we go to our seperate internships.

Despite all the uncertainties, I am very excited to visit and explore another side of Africa. Uganda is on one of my bucket lists to visit, so I am lucky to have both the experience of the internship program and exploring the country. I am going to integrate in a completely different environment than what I am used to. I will try to learn the local language which is called the Lango language in Lira, in the northern region of Uganda where my internship will take place. The Lango language is part of the Luo languages that are spoken in the North. I’m going to do my internship in an organisation called CCVS (Centre for Children in Vulnerable Situations). The organisation promotes mental health and wellbeing of children, youth and adults. It also conducts research and support for formerly abducted and war-affected children and communities in the district of Lira. I’ll give you more clear details about the organisation once I’ll start my internship.

As a multicultural child living in both countries (Belgium and Cameroon), it has helped me to be flexible in the way I deal with intercultural differences. Thanks to my previous experiences as a multicultural child, my internship in Costa Rica and other volunteer work dealing with the same aspect has helped me to understand and be open to different cutlures. My curiousity has helped me to understand how the world works in terms of social, economic, political and ecological context. This has made me aware of the fact that I am a citizen of the world, while I keep abreast of the situation in other countries by reading news and scientific articles and watching the news and documentaries.

I want to take you with me on my new trip to Uganda. I will keep you informed about my stay, the projects I am going to work on and the places I am going to visit. It will be an exciting stay in Uganda. I am going to share a lot of photos and videos so that you can follow my journey through the five months stay. 😀 🙂

Cultural differences should not seperate us from each other, but rather cultural diversity brings collective strength that can benefit all of humanity. Also: Intercultural dialogue is the best guarantee of a more peaceful, just and sustainable world.

Robert Alan Aurthur

Opening a new chapter in life

I know I haven’t been updating my blogposts regularly the past couple of months… In the months of July and August I have been very busy with my thesis and work that it was difficult to combine all of it. Even though I need to start to be more consistent with it, I need to try harder this time, this is no excuse!

Let me give you some short updates about me during the month of September.

In the month of September I travelled together with my brother, his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s sister to Corfu, a Greek Island not far from Albania, we stayed there for 10 days. Since the whole pandemic it’s been a while that we have taken a proper summer break. Of course we respected the regulations with the social distancing and facemasks when we were in crowded areas. I would love to share a couple of the pictures I took during this amazing trip. I was mesmerized by the beauty of this Island, we managed to book a very cheap flight ticket. It was worth booking the trip. We went to swim in different beaches, visited museums and monuments, went for a walk and cruised to some parts of the island. We had an amazing sight seeing by car.

At first I was quite sceptical of going because zones can easily change color. I wasn’t sure whether the situation might get worse once we arrive there and it will change from yellow/orange to red zone. That could affect our vacation plans. Luckily the cases didn’t get worse. So we were able to go visit so many places and I’m happy I ended up going there.

On the same day of my arrival in Belgium, I received my results later in the evening. I graduated that day and I’m going to get my diploma soon! It was an achievement, my vacation ended well with me being an alumni for my former college university, despite the circumstances we’re in.

After graduating, I immediately decided to open up a new chapter and signed up for a new degree. It’s an advanced bachelor degree: ‘international cooperation for north-south relations’, I can study it for one year. After graduating as a bachelor of family sciences. I decided to use my knowledge and experiences abroad. It’s a unique opportunity to broaden my knowledge, experiences and develop my professional skills. It’s also an advantage for my CV to work abroad which has always been my goal: to work at an NGO or a non-profit organisation abroad or an organisation for refugees. It’s always been my dream to work for people in vulnerable situations. I’m the type of person who dares to go outside my comfort zone to take challenges. It’s going to be an exciting academic year with an internship abroad for 6 months. I did an internship abroad in Costa Rica two years ago but it was only for 2 months. This time it will be completely new, so I can’t wait to see how it all takes place!

Overwhelming feelings

I know it’s been a while that I last posted another blog. It’s been a quite hectic period for me in the sense of personal and college university reasons. Writing my thesis has taken so much of my time and energy, and finally I’ve submitted it. It’s been a roller coaster of ups and downs, but I have managed to get myself together.

 I’m not the type of person to expose too much of my private life publicly. What I know for a fact is that there’s always a reason for me to keep going on. Whatever happens, will happen for a reason. I always believed that something meaningful might happen in the future. So regardless of my lack of self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-doubt, I will definitely strive in the path that I have always been looking for. I’m about to enter a new chapter in my life that I believe will affect me either way.

I have been feeling and I’m not the only one feeling this way, I used to mention this before, that this transition of life is affecting all of us: mentally, physically, and financially. This crisis has turned so many people’s lives around from happiness to despair or from despair to happiness… Every individual’s situation has its own issues to manage or to fix it. Talking about resilience has made me think about the thesis that I wrote. I’ve been thinking about the refugees who have to cope with a lot of hardship during and after the war. Their resilience is incomparable. They inspire me to keep moving and believing that there’s still light in the moment of darkness.

Hearing so much news about the number of deaths due to COVID-19, unemployment, burnouts, isolation, racism, xenophobia, etc. really affects me mentally. This is the problem when I’m too drawn by the news and social media… With so much going on, I need to keep reminding myself to take care of myself while still being vocal and bring awareness about difficult topics. My level of sensitivity can be very overwhelming and I need to take a few steps backward and allow myself to make time for myself without being on my phone every few hours.

This rehab from social media is really needed at times. I need to start sorting out my own life and plan my life to achieve the goals that I set for personal development. The support and the help I keep having, will help motivate me to keep moving forward.

Global Movement… Time to wake up!

I know probably some of you have been wondering about my absence… There’s been a lot going on these recent days. I haven’t been in the right state of mind to write. At the same time I have been focussing more on my thesis, which took a lot of my time and energy. It has been an emotional rollercoaster these past weeks and days. But now let’s focus on the real current events going on around the world.

Haven’t you been feeling that times have been changing lately? 2020 is a year of crisis, reflection, action and movement (Black Lives Matter). The untold history about the treatment of African-Americans has been unfolding recently. The unjust system that has been going on for years in the US needs to be addressed. Even here in Belgium, the colonization period has not been given as much attention as it deserves, especially the negative side i.e. the barbaric crimes committed by King Leopold II and the Belgian government during the colonial period, hasn’t (often) been mentioned.

The video gone viral of George Floyd’s death has sparked and awakened the global movement of BLM and protests. I can proudly say that I took part in this protest together with my siblings, some family members and friends in Brussels just two weeks after the video emerged. When I watched the scene… I couldn’t contain my tears and anger… so many emotions ran through my body. Unfortunately enough I was very much aware of the police brutality and the systemic racism in the US, this is nothing new… I’ve seen countless videos of victims like Trayvon Martin (when the BLM movement even began), Tamir Rice, Eric Garner (the same situation: ‘I can’t breathe…’), Philando Castile and the list goes on… I have since posted a lot of videos and articles about treatments of black people in the US and all over the world but not as much as I am now… But Floyd’s video really motivated me to become more vocal and daring to reveal a lot of uncomfortable truth about racism, police brutality, discrimination and the oppression that most black and poc (people of color) have been facing over the years…

I myself as a mixed-race person, I barely face racism here in Belgium. But I have encountered some indirect racism at work and in school, especially in the countryside. The passive racism I faced was the attitude of some of my colleagues towards me compared to my white student colleagues. I sensed the interaction with me as completely different from the way they interact amongst themselves. Let’s be honest here, it’s not because I barely encountered active racism that still up till this day racism doesn’t happen here. I know some people who experienced racial profiling and racist slurs from their white peers.

Thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement, some changes in policies not just in the US but also in Belgium, which are long overdue have finally come about. Finally the history of colonialism under the Leopold II era is implemented in the education system for last year secundary classes. It also helped pressuring the policy for practical tests against discrimination. Even some statues of Leopold II have been taken down, but that’s not going to help the fight against racism. But it’s the beginning of change that we want to see in our institutions.

That’s why I have been informing myself daily about the untold stories of black people not only in America but also in Europe. I want to highlight these important topics to spark conversations amongst us and to bring some type of awareness. The activists that I follow keep us up to date about the history of systemic racism and the current events happening in the world. I was able to help my friend a little bit for her life art coaching so she can implement and address those issues about racism into her work.

I followed an interesting webinar yesterday about ‘Decolonize Belgium too’, a panel conversation between activists. It was an interesting conversation. Very educational with many interesting topics. I have learned a lot about their vision of structural racism and how we fight the system together.

After these global protests which have led to some action taking place around the world, let’s not be blind and forget that we still have a long way to go! Those are small victories but there’s still a lot to be done for this whole institutional racism to be dismantled… It’s an ungoing battle and I’m definitely not going to stop supporting activists and stay silent about it.

Even during the whole pandemic of COVID-19 going on in the world, it has helped us to reflect more on the real issues that blacks and poc have experienced, because of that a lot of people are more awake and finally call out this systemic racism that’s perpetrated the underprivileged and unequal treatment towards blacks and people of color.

I’m relieved to see how much my generation is getting together to fight collectively and willingly to work towards equality for all… That’s why ‘All Lives can’t Matter until Black Lives Matter’! The attention should lead to awareness and meaningful conversations.

The joy of dancing

Here in Belgium the lockdown is slowly being eased since May 4th. It’s nice to see that life has been slowly resuming under strict measures obviously. I know that our ‘normal’ won’t be the same as how it used to be. We’re still living with uncertainties, I’m patiently waiting for this whole pandemic to be over with.

In the meantime, this week is going to be sunny! I have been trying to stick to my daily routines with some of the activities from the 5-day challenge.

For the first time I did my Afrodance workout with my little sister. It was really amazing, dancing with all our entire body, without focusing on any part in particular. I have always been doing cardio, tabata, HIIT and hiphop dance workouts but never a real African dance workout. I really enjoy the rhythm, the energy and the vibe!

The workout program that I’m now following and subscribed to is called Kukuwa Fitness. They have amazing versatile African dance workout routines (Senegal, Mali, Ghana, Nigeria…). I would really recommend checking out their youtube videos, but if you want some more videos they have them on their website. You need to subscribe if you want to participate in all their videos. I would say check their website!

The dance workout was so effective and vibrant. The routines are quite easy to do but damn halfway I was really out of breath! It was worth it.

I’ll say take your chance!

I have to admit, I have been sometimes slacking to keep my workout routines… but as we say ‘what is not started today is never finished tomorrow’ – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. I know I keep saying tomorrow I’ll do the workout at least 3-4 times a week, and it ends up being 1- 2 times a week. 😛 The motivation needs to be there so I can kickstart my day with a positive mindset and confidence.

Love the fact that I have been doing this workout with my sister, normally we never workout together. Dancing with her brought a lot of joy and fun into this routine. I wasn’t too distracted with my tiredness because of her. I found it more motivating to do this together instead of alone.

Afterwards I followed a yoga session to stretch my muscles after an intense workout. Yoga outside under the sun while listening to the wind blowing and the trees moving. It was very relaxing, I had a zen moment and felt the connection with my body and soul. It’s an amazing feeling and felt more energized than ever.

It is a good way to distract myself from social media at times…

I was even thinking to go out to the city tomorrow for the first time since this lockdown started. I stay cautious even though I built immunity. Face masks are compulsory in public transport and in some shops too. It feels to me that there’s never a guarantee that this whole virus will be completely gone. There could be a second wave coming since this whole lockdown is slowly easing and more people are outside now than before, so it’s best to stay cautious. That’s why I don’t go out too quickly and still take those measures seriously…

I would say everyone out there! Stay safe and keep protecting yourself and others.

I can’t wait to see the rest of my friends and family! ❤

We’ll definitely going to celebrate after the lockdown has completely ended! 🙂 😀

Reconnecting with myself

Last week I joined in the 5-day transformation challenge created by my dear friend. She’s a Therapeutic Life Art Coach.

After that challenge I feel sooo much better now! I didn’t even imagine that in this short periode my mindset would be transformed drastically. I was in such a down mood at first because of this lock-down, my grandfather’s death, social distancing and this whole change of routine had so much effect on my mindset. During this whole challenge I was so surprised that I was able to reconnect with myself by doing some art activities combined with yoga, affirmations, gratitudes, journalling and meditation. It really helped me understand my emotions and feelings a bit more. Especially in life in general and the future.

Even though my artistic skills were not on point I have to say… but at least I still tried and executed my own art. It was very relaxing and fun to do! So I decided after the 5-day challenge to continue using some of the activities she proposed which really helped.

I’m usually not the type to go out for a walk all by myself, but I’ve started to do this often to take some fresh air and to sort out my thoughts. It really helped me feeling more relaxed and enjoying the moment. I’m so priviledged that we have a parc and a forest nearby. I’m not a jogging person, I rather go for a walk and do my workouts at home.

I think I need to do this more often even after the lockdown.

I have been coping with a lot of stress and anxiety for a period of time. I must say it’s not easy but I’m managing to do some extra relaxation. It’s an overwhelming process with all the sleepless nights… even though I have to admit I don’t always stick with my morning and night routines at times. I try to remind myself to do these things that are important for my mental wellbeing.

Writing poems has always been my thing. Nowadays I have been writing down poems for people who are very dear to me. I know I’m not the best at keeping contacts with people… But I do try my best keeping up with people closer to me. It’s refreshing and overwhelming to see how much support I’ve received from everyone. That’s why I want to give something back to them. It’s also a way to show them how much they mean to me. Willing to surprise them and empower them that way regardless of the distance is a reminder that they’re not being forgotten.

It’s strange after so many years not doing the things I used to love and going back to it again made me feel so nostalgic. Back in the days I had so much fun making poems for myself and writing down journals about my adventures in Cameroon and other places I travelled to…

It’s crazy how time flies so quickly. I’ve been really all over the place recently, I do have a chaotic mind so I really need structure to accomplish things that I need to do.

So don’t worry everyone, we all experience some setbacks and down moments. It’s a process that may take some time. It’s human to feel the way we feel, you’re not alone in this! I can reassure you that we’re all in this together and we can only move forward! 🙂

Yet I do feel like after this lockdown would be uplifted I hope to at least do some stuff that could benefit my research for my thesis and blog.

I really want to continue sharing some of the things I discover by going to events and workshops. Unfortunately it’s not yet guaranteed when the events will happen again.

For now I can only wait and see, safety goes first! This is going to take some time before things go back to normal again… We can only embrace the moment! ❤ 🙂

Family support and care

It’s been a difficult period for me and my whole family. On Monday the 6th of April, my grandfather passed away in an unexpected way. He was dealing with the virus for 2 weeks. My aunt and my two cousins who are living in his home, they have supported him a lot regarding his health, housechores and in the garden. They did a wonderful job to keep us updated about his condition. He was basically recovering until he relapsed. First we saw him recovering and moving around in his garden, he was looking a bit weak. The day after, on Monday, the unexpected news came, it happened in the morning…

At least he passed away in his own home in the arms of his daughter… Once we heard the news we immediately left to say our last goodbye to him before they took his body. It was a beautiful and an emotional moment with the whole family together. On the day of my grandfather’s death we even witnessed a beautiful rainbow very close to his home and there was no rain which is rare to find. This was the most memorable moment with everyone of us to see it from up-close. The beauty of this gave me a feeling of reassurance that my grandfather is in good hands up there.

The grief we’re dealing with has been very difficult at first. The days after his death we haven’t really been eating and drinking properly. After some time we regained our strength again, because in the midst of this crisis, we should prioritize our health, but at the same time we should also take care of our mental wellbeing.

My aunt, who’s a fascia therapist, decided to give a daily online meditation before sleep for 5 or 6 days a week with some of our family members. It’s the best way to deal with trauma, stress, grief etc. After doing these sessions I started to sleep better even though there were days I couldn’t sleep well. But most of the time, thanks to this session I was able to relax my mind before sleeping. What I love about this session is that after the meditation we take the time to express wat effect the meditation had on us and what differences we feel between before and after. Getting to hear everyone’s feelings and the experiences, mental and physical, really give us an insight.

I feel like this kind of activity really helps me understand my own body and mind, so I can really communicate within myself. It brings so much calm in my chaotic and stressful mind. I feel it’s important when you can have time and space to grieve with my family. My aunt keeps asking: how are you all doing? (before the meditation). Can you share us your experience during the meditation? What effect did it have on you? Do you feel any difference? It gives us an idea which excercises during the meditation helped us to relax.

I know in the moment of grief, trauma and depression are such a taboo topics to talk about. But what I love about my family of my mum’s side is that we’re very connected in an emotional way. The way we give each other space to express our feelings is the healthiest way to sort out feelings and thoughts running through our mind. I’m so thankful and grateful for having a loving family who are always available when you need them in the most difficult times. We’ve been lifting each other up. I’ve even called some of my family members to seek support, which I normally not do.

I have been dealing with anxiety for a little while. But thanks to my dear friend who’s been giving us a 5 -day Transformation Challenge, I’ve been including this with my other meditation, which helps me feeling better than the previous days. It’s a challenge that includes creative art, journalling, meditation, yoga and other activities to help reconnect the mind and body in our daily lifestyle. It helps me to relax during this whole pandemic crisis. Today I’m on my third day of the challenge. I’m feeling amazing when I do some of them, it brings out a lot of creativity within me. I’ll definitely try to keep it up since it benefits me to manage stress, anxiety and panic attacks.

The quarantine has been going for more than a month now. It’s a very weird, tough and heavy period for all of us. This virus has especially taught me how to spend my days with what I have with the privileges we have… compared to other people whom are suffering the most financially, mentally and physically… People fighting for their lives and with the hope to recover. The ones who do recover represent a sign of hope that we can still overcome this virus. All in all we’re all in this together.

I’m still hoping and praying that this whole lockdown would be lifted up soon and hopefully we get back to our normal routine. It’s a lesson learned for all of us that we can’t take things for granted.

Stay safe and protect yourself and others. I send everyone positive energy and love. Be patient and I’m staying hopeful for the positive outcome in the future! ❤

Life during the lockdown

Like we all know we’re going through a pandemic crisis at the moment. It’s a very weird moment for all of us globally. In Belgium the lockdown has started on Friday night the 13th of March. We have already been quarantined for more than three weeks… I know this is very unusual to live this kind of lifestyle, to do social distancing from friends and other family members. But this is something we need to learn to adapt ourselves.

Atleast this is also the moment that people or the community are showing solidarity all around the world with all the videos in social media that are going viral. It’s something that really helps us by feeling hopeful that this virus could be stopped as soon as possible as long that everyone works together. This is also the opportunity for families to be together, the moment to reflect, finding your own creativity and learning to self-care. But unfortuantely these kind of priviledges are not fit for everyone. There are people dealing with a lot of financial difficulties such as people owning their own restaurants, bars and other non-essential workplaces. Let’s not forget the homelessness, the asylum seekers, family problems, domestic violence etc. The lockdown effects a lot of people in a different way.

Refugees or asylum seekers and homeless people have more difficulties accessing to basic facilities. There’s a lot of uncertainties regarding this pandemic crisis. It affects so many organisations at the social sector.

On Monday the 16th of March, the Immigration Department decided to close its doors so there are no longer new asylum registers and no reception for new asylum seekers.

From the information I read and what I saw on TV got me a lump in the throat knowing that there are a lot of people suffering from this lockdown. It’s also important that the government should take action. They shouldn’t forget that there are people in need of help financially and a place to stay.

We understand that the government is taking drastic measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus and protect personnel. What we do not understand is the lack of additional measures to protect the most vulnerable and avoid a humanitarian disaster. We note that in these uncertain times our government is abandoning vulnerable people such as asylum seekers and the homeless, but we are calling on the population to show solidarity with each other,’ the organisations say.

(vluchtelingenwerk, 2020)

This brings to our attention, how grateful we are to have a roof over our heads. That we have more than enough food in stock. Atleast it’s a reassurance that we’re not short of anything.

We should definitely not only focus on the negativity but also the positivity. Scrolling down your features in social media, you come across so many videos of Chinese citizens at the beginning of the outbreak, singing songs to lift each other up by singing the national anthem or other songs. Italians, Spanish and many other countries singing, dancing, clapping for the healthcare and other essencial workers, together workouts, helping out neighbours for grocery shopping etc. these videos are the main reasons that we should hold onto hope. This is the opportunity to show solidarity to everyone in our community. It doesn’t matter which country, it’s also a moment to help one another.

As long as we all work in this together collectively by staying home/quarantined, social distancing or self-isolation… we can certainly help the physicians and other medical staff to limit the amount of patients hospitalized.

The message we should all be sending to each other is definitely stay healthy and hygienic as much as possible… Especially when you’re living with other family members… I know these are also moments of uncertainty especially when you’re showing from non to mild symptoms of potential COVID-19. At the moment everyone recovered from mild to severe symptoms… but we’re doing our outmost best to boost our immune system to tackle this virus. Thank God I finally recovered from a fever that lasted 6 days… I was the last one with the severe symptoms.

Thanks to the research I read the advice from doctors and other medical specialists we have been taking a lot of supplements, vitamin drinks, remedies etc to boost our immune system.

What I definitely want to recommend everyone (no symptoms to mild symptoms or if they live with someone who shows symptoms) thanks to the recommendation by doctors and my dear close friend who keeps following me up these remedies and other nutrients are effective to help boost your immune system especially most of these great sources of vitamin C, A, B, D and E. Zinc and selenium also play an important role to boost your immune system. Here are is a list of them we have been using over the whole periode:

  • Mix drink with hot water: Ingredients: 1 tbsp fresh grated Ginger, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1 tbsp ground turmeric powder (or 1 tbsp fresh grated turmeric), 1 clove of garlic (grated), Freshly ground black pepper and 1 or 2 tbsp of raw honey. Directions: 1. Boil the water in a water kettle. (If you don’t have water kettle: combine turmeric, ginger, garlic, pepper and water in a pot on the stove. Gently bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer gently for 10-15 minutes). 2. combine turmeric, ginger, black pepper and garlic in a glass. After the water is boiled you pour it in the glass you leave it for 10 to 15 minutes (if you want to have a stronger raste leave it for 20 minutes). 3. After 5 minutes you add some lemon juice and 1 or 2 tbsp of raw honey. This type of tea is a very simple remedy to make. To boost my energy levels, especially when I feel exhausted and weak.
  • Daily Essential nutrients 360 capsules (given by my aunt who’s doctor herself). Advisable during breakfast, lunch and dinner : 1 x 3 capsules a day (if you’re not sick); 2 x 3 capsules a day (if you’re not feeling 100%); 3/4 x 3 capsules a day (if you’re feeling sick).
  • Hot Chilli Pepper: while it’s true that citrus fruit contains the highest source of vitamins C but apparently according to experts red hot chilli pepper contain three times the amount in oranges.
  • Fruitsalad: It has full of nutrients. It contains potassium, fiber, folate, and vitamin A, B, C, and D. These nutrients are essential for our health and reduce the risks of many diseases like diabetes, blood pressure, and heart diseases.
  • Citrus fruit: (Oranges, tangerine, grapefruit, lemon and lime) They’re excellent for its vitamin C immune-boosting system.
  • Vegetables: (Broccoli, Garlic, Spinach, cayenne pepper, chili pepper, potatoes etc.) They have high sources of vitamin C. Each one of them have a high potent of antioxident. They also have tons of benefits on the skin health and the immune system.
  • Almond nuts: The benefits of it is they have a massive amount of nutrients. It’s loaded with a lot of antioxidants. They’re high in vitamin E. It also contains healthy fats, fiber, protein and magnesium.
  • Yogurt: Contains many good nutrients, including protein, calcium and vitamins B12 and B2. It’s a great source of probiotics, they’re good bacteria which helps promote a healthy gut and immune system. I would definitely recommend plain yogurt (Greek yogurt, natural yogurt, etc). Recent studies have shown probiotics to be effective for fighting the common cold and influenza-like respiratory infections.
  • Echinacea (3×20 drops daily): The plant occurs naturally in North America. It was therefore the North American Indians who discovered the medicinal properties of the plant. They used the herb to treat all kinds of wounds such as snake bites and diseases. It’s one of our favorite medicine to use when we deal with colds and flu. It’s one of the most popular means to strengthening our natural resistance.
  • PHYT exponent: ingredients: Ethanol, Matricaria Chamonilla, Triticum repens, Echinacea purpurea, Allium sativum, Viola tricolor (3×20 drops daily) Dietary supplement based on plant extracts. Supports the natural defense mechanism. (made in Belgium)
  • Vita Boost drink: 100% natural; For the perfect immune boost; Contains vitamin C that contributes to the protection of cells against oxidative damage; Without added sugars

When you start taking them, make sure to do this daily. Even after the pandemic is done, it’s better to make sure your health to stay in tackt and never take your health for granted. Especially your immune system which protects you against the disease. For the once who may have the virus but the symptoms are not showing or showing mild symptoms you may have built immunity but it’s always better to boost your immune system.

What definitely helps if you have trouble breathing is a bowl of Eucalyptus oil steam which is beneficial for cold and respiratory relief. Doing this two times (morning and night) does wonders! That’s what we have been doing a lot. I still have some trouble breathing this really helps.

I know these are the advices you’ve heard multiple of times and you’re tired of reading them… It’s not bad to keep hearing them again… since that’s what I’m dealing with at the moment. We’re all in this together. According to specialists or experts they recommend us to wash your hands thoroughly (for at least 20 seconds).

If you don’t have soap, you can still use handsanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. I always take my handsanitizer with me when I or my siblings go out to do grocery shopping even though it’s not always necessary, because most marketplaces have them. But I still take it with me for a peace of mind…

For more guideline information go to this website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fprepare%2Fprevention.html

Trust me I know it’s difficult and stressful to do all this while we’re dealing with a virus by protecting ourself and others by daily disinfecting surfaces, deepcleaning all areas that are dirty and cleaning yourself… It’s very exhausting, but this is the only way to prevent the virus to spread even more. Especially when you have a big household. It requires collaboration from others which is not always simple to do. I know there are times we tend to forget to do those important stuff daily. It really drains you out when there are a lot of housecores and working for school you’re feeling sick yourself and you need more rest yourself and self-isolating…

But don’t worry guys, I’m slowly feeling better. We have been staying at home for more than three weeks. It’s quite challenging but we’re going to get through this.

I have also been trying to stay active, working on my thesis, reading a book and trying to stay out of media, doing some meditation to allow myself have some peace of mind. I have also started writing down poems which help me sort out my feelings and thoughts on this crisis. For the ones who didn’t read this I hope you may like my poem (down below). Unfortunately I can’t do any workouts because I’m still dealing with a fever, I need time to rest before I can start my normal routine again. It’s very important keep your body active to help boost your immune system.

Please stay safe and hygienic. Follow the rules and the guidelines, that way we can resume our daily lives again as soon as possible… it’s not going to be the same anymore but the lessons we have learned from this crisis will definitely have a positive impact on us.

Cheers ❤

Ps. With sad news I would like to announce that my grandfather passed away on Monday not really due to the virus itself but the virus made him weaker and died of cardiac attack… He remains in our hearts and memories for the rest of our lives. It’s a very difficult time but we’re going to get through this together and it’s not going to stop me from blogging ❤

Bibliography

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