In early March 2020 the government here instigated a lockdown to cope with Covid-19. Stores and schools closed, as well as our borders. Other than a local lockdown in the capital in July, measures have been slowly eased. We are seeing cases decreasing and we are recovering from the threat to our health. Now we wait to see the economic effects.
Tourism, one of the main resources in our country, has suffered a lot. It is hard to think it will return to previous heights again over the next year. Many people have lost their jobs. The price of trade products such as vanilla, ylang ylang and lychee dropped down so badly this year and the consequences of that will keep impacting us for at least another year.
Poverty is so severe and with it come increasing social problems. Prostitution is increasing. Insecurity is growing, especially in the cities: pickpocking, robbery and petty theft are options taken by the increasingly desperate. Moreover, there is severe famine and drought in the south. People are dying because there is a lack of basic medications, they’re dying from hunger, and they’re dying from thirst.
This is all putting pressure on our government. The political situation is delicate. There is social unrest. How will the country be able to rise up from all of this? I do not know.
But I do know that people are searching for a spiritual power that they can cling to, that they’re searching for God. There is a sense of spiritual hunger sweeping across my country. People feel so desperate that they are searching for something bigger. I give thanks that some churches and local believers are taking this opportunity to show the love of God. We praise God for food distribution, the little we can do, to practically love people in the midst of this suffering.