2020-04-24 GHANA

The impacts of COVID-19 on the Marist District of West Africa

Few months ago, the world was surprised by a novel virus code-named Coronavirus or COVID-19. Nobody ever imagined that the disease that began in far away, Wuhan, could spread like wildfires and cause such mayhem in the whole world. It will make an indelible smudge in minds and hearts of all and sundry.

The impacts of COVID-19 on the Marist District of West Africa cannot be underestimated. It has brought both emotional and psychological trauma to Brothers and Lay Marists. It has further caused undesirable consequences on learners and their parents and/or guardians. Occasioned by lockdown, Brothers, workers and learners were required to stay at home, observe social distancing and personal hygiene. The primary aim was to help contain the fast spreading respiratory disease.

The lockdown and its accompanying consequences are enormous and has brought anxiety, panic and uncertainty. Social media posts further aggravated the situation as they showed the end of the world was eminent. Most of the social media messages painted a bleak and hopeless situation without giving hope to the people.

Notwithstanding the negative ramifications of COVID-19, I have learnt that human beings are interrelated in this world. What happens to one person in a unique location of the world affects people in other areas. It shows how human beings are interconnected. The world, like our Marist family, is indisputably and concretely related.

I also think our world, with its institutions and structures, will surely change. The aftermath of COVID-19 will create a new world order. This new world order was prefigured by the XXII General Chapter in Medellin, Colombia, where there was already a conversation on how the world and Institute will be in ten year’s time. I see COVID-19 accelerating the outcomes of that conversation.

Another positive outcome of the coronavirus is that it is promoting communion and fraternity among Brothers in the District. We have lived model communities and practiced interiority as envisioned in our Marist Constitutions and Statutes. Brothers are helping to cook, cleaning the compound and some Brothers even helping health professionals in creating awareness of the menace in some local communities.

The experience of the lockdown occasioned by COVID-19 has promoted the use of Skype to improve communication in our District in particular. Skype and other technologies will facilitate our meetings and helping in reducing costs. Eventually it may as well be used in education in our schools (the associated challenges notwithstanding).

Above all, my experience of COVID-19 has displayed to me the fragility and powerlessness of the human being. The virus terrorised the entire world and showed its dominance over the human being.

Amidst the tumult, the episode of Jesus and his disciples in the boat, as recorded in Mark 4: 35 – 41, gives me encouragement. The author showed that the storm was strong and the disciples were extremely afraid, helpless and hopeless. However, as soon as Jesus was invited onto the scene, calm was instantly restored.

This story reminds me that COVID-19 is a windstorm which has brought untold fear, worry and uncertainty to humanity. I am, thus, encouraged to trust in Jesus even amidst a stormy COVID-19. Jesus will certainly take us through the stormy waters. It is also certain that the pandemic will come and pass like other plagues. More so, Jesus has encouraged us not to panic, for God is a faithful God. He will never abandon us to the epidemic. I am so certain of this because, as Don Moen sings, ‘God will make a way for us, where there seems to be no way. He works in ways we cannot see …’.


Br Cyprian Gandeebo – District Superior, Marist District of West Africa

Marist Preparatory/Junior High School - Ghana


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