April 6, 2020

I have not written in a while and want to provide a quick update. About three weeks ago, I left South Africa and travelled back home, ending my semester program at the African Leadership Academy early. The School for Ethics and Global Leadership decided that we should be with our families during this time of uncertainty. While I completely understand and support this decision, I was so sad to leave. I had been looking forward to this experience for a long time and am disappointed that it ended so abruptly. Nonetheless, I am glad to be safe, healthy, and back with my family. Also, I want to share some of my observations about the anxiety I noticed as I was leaving South Africa. As I walked through the airport terminal, the fear in people’s eyes was apparent. I was part of a large group of students and people stayed as far away from us as they possibly could. While I of course understand the necessity of social distancing, it was jarring to witness people being so afraid of one another. In addition, I noticed a woman who was standing six feet away from her bag. When I asked her if she needed any help, she said that a man’s leg had brushed her bag and she could not touch it until it had been sanitized. She was visibly terrified and so my friends and I helped clean her bag. Nonetheless, she remained very agitated and upset; it was sad to see. This virus is terrifying to everyone and people predisposed to anxiety are suffering greatly. It’s so important that we remember to exercise self-care and protect our mental, as well as physical, health during this time.