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A firsthand account: Living alone during coronavirus

Shewa Wolde is 80-years-old. She lives in Addis Ababa, Addis Ketema sub-city. Shewa came from rural Ethiopia to Addis when she was very young and no longer has any family. She lives alone and has no income, surviving with the support of charity organisations like Tesfa Social and development Association and generous people in her community. 

“I heard about coronavirus. It is disease transmitted from a person to person by making contact, not washing hands and touching mouth nose and eyes. So, I understand that we should always stay alert and commit ourselves to protect ourselves”.

 When I first heard about the virus, I was shocked. I was so worried for myself and people in my community. However, I always pray to God to relieve us from this plague and I try also to follow all the precautions that heard from my friends and the radio. Yet in the place where I am living, it is very challenging for me to get water and soap to wash my hand regularly. I heard that the virus transmits very fast so if the virus gets in the community where I am living,  I am afraid a lot of people may die because of the virus. I always pray to God not to see this situation. Thanks to God up to now I haven’t heard of anyone who has gotten sick because of this virus. 

When news of coronavirus reached Ethiopia, movement was restricted. Shewa could freely visit neighbours before and drink coffee and they would come to her house and bring lunch. Since the lock down she is unable to visit and be visited. Without support her life is very challenging.

However, in this difficult time Tesfa Social and Development Association and generous people in her community are supporting Shewa. There are also young people who let others wash their hands by providing water and soaps on the roads. They also educate people about how the virus transmitted from person to person. 

“For me this situation  is very tough as I am very poor and living alone. It makes me sad and I don’t have someone that I can talk with. I don’t think I can handle this situation unless God protect me.” 

Read what we are doing to help older people in Ethiopia during the coronavirus pandemic here.


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Last updated: Mar 01 2022

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