‘Detty decemba’ they called it. “You want to bamba?” 🕺🏾 was the tune of the moment – a catchy song which came out of nowhere to dominate the Afrobeat genre in late 2021 and compete with Ed Sheeran/Fireboy DML’s “Peru” as song of the month world over. You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this? Basically, I visited Nigeria in December which is probably the best time of the year to be in Lagos as the city is always so vibrant and full of life. But a week into my trip, the Rona came visiting – it started with a sore throat that fateful morning, subsequent to which I took a lateral flow test which returned positive. I was shocked to say the least. Me, covid? How? 😨 I’d been taking all necessary precautions (or so I thought) – meds, masked up, sanitizing, washing hands etc. But all that didn’t matter – I had caught COVID-19. 😭 In my shock I did two more tests that day and over the next two days, all of which returned positive. And that was where my travails began, bringing my holiday to an abrupt end.
Over the next few days, my health deteriorated. Symptoms included headaches, body aches, weakness, fever and eventually a bad cough which was the longest lasting symptom (over three weeks). I sadly had to cancel all my plans, which was annoying because I had only a few more days left in the country. Short on lateral flow tests, I rang pharmacies who said a pack of only two tests cost NGN15k (i.e. GBP20-30 depending on the exchange rate). Ridiculous! So I reached out to a few friends who kindly sent me test kits (bless them!). But you see, catching COVID on holiday in another country can be super disruptive/stressful and isn’t something i’ll wish on an enemy. So let me summarize all the issues that I was suddenly faced with while dealing with a challenged health situation:
- Changing my flights – I probably spent cumulatively over 12 hours waiting on the line to discuss my flight changes with the airline (so much so that I was humming to their tune for a few days longer 💔). This, plus the fact that I had to pay almost the cost of a new December return ticket just to change my flight date (you know how expensive those December flights are) , was annoying enough. 😡
- Changing accomodation – as I suddenly had to stay in the country for longer than I had anticipated, I needed to extend my accomodation. I needed to change accomodation so I could recover faster i.e. moving from one location with poor/zero ventilation to another well-ventilated location given local guidelines. This entailed additional unplanned costs.
- Medications – faced with COVID, I was suddenly faced with expenses on different medications which weren’t cheap.
- Additional feeding costs.
- Travel restrictions – perhaps the most frustrating issue was that I was suddenly faced with the risk of being unable to travel for some time as it was not unheard of that people often continue testing positive for COVID for many weeks, even after they’ve stopped showing symptons or being infectious.
I’m usually quite calm but this experience created so much anxiety that it was quite ovewhelming. With so many things seemingly going wrong at the same time, the thought that God may have removed his hedge of protection was looming before me. It was such a terrifying feeling that led me to one place – my knees. 🙏🏾
Now that the Lord has brought me out of that horrible experience (Psalms 40:1-3), I’m now able to look back and narrate the extent of His mercies and goodness towards me:
- Firstly, I’m fully recovered and back to base and for that I’m thankful. 😇 So all of my worries about being stuck in Nigeria for significantly longer than I would have liked were unfounded. (John 14:1; Matt 6:34; Psalms 34:4)
- Before I traveled, I took out travel insurance. You’re probably saying oh lucky you! Hear me out – this was the first time I’d personally taken out travel insurance to visit my home country – I mean why would I, I’d always thought? In fact, I now know it must have been the Holy Spirit that inspired me to take out that particular insurance package because I only learnt about it the night before my flight while randomly clearing my emails and was attracted by the low premium required. As fate would have it, the only way the insurance would have been valid is if I had taken it before my trip! Also, the conditions required that if I didn’t cancel the insurance package within 14 days, I would need to pay the premium for six months; therefore, to avoid this recurring cost, I had set a calendar reminder to cancel the insurance package before the deadline. But guess what, I tested positive literally one day before the alarm! (Just imagine how I would have felt if I tested positive after I’d cancelled the insurance??) So in a nutshell, insurance saved the day! All my additional costs on flight, accomodation, feeding, transport and cancelled events were covered! Infact the claim process was so smooth that all additional costs that I had to bear since I caught COVID have now been refunded! (Travel advice: if traveling during these COVID times, take out a COVID-friendly travel insurance!) – Isaiah 43:2, 19
- Finally, say what you might about him but Boris Johnson also saved the day! One risk that weighed heavily on my mind was that post the holidays, the UK government could tighten travel restrictions further on concerns about inbound travel as COVID cases were still rising. For anyone who catches COVID while traveling, getting a negative PCR test is one of the biggest headaches considering the risk of still testing posive even after you’ve recovered (which would prevent you from travelling) and high costs. But none of these risks materialized as Boris Johnson surprisingly removed the requirement to do a PCR test before travelling to the UK. Wait, what? How? What a new year gift – indeed, there is nothing too hard for God to do! (Jer 32:17)
So that’s it – another testimony. I wanted to bamba but God had other plans. I learnt the meaning of what Isaiah meant when He said:
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.”Isaiah 43:2
May His name be praised! Happy Sabbath!