A Survival Kit for Life

During my time of fear, I realized that people around me helped me from the culture of fear to the culture of care…



by Mereani Nailevu

Yanny, as she is fondly called, is a Columban lay missionary from Fiji assigned in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

Due to this global pandemic crisis, getting used to a new way of living is necessary. However, it does come with challenges. Being confronted with this new reality has adversely affected our lifestyle, work, mission, schools and getting in contact with others. Bad news about our loved ones come crashing wave after wave. As this ‘new normal’ continues, millions of people around the globe are facing exactly the same worries and grappling with the same feelings of fear, anxiety, worry, anger and sadness.

I was overwhelmed with all these when I woke up on the morning of September 4. I woke up sneezing and coughing. My body temperature was elevated and I started to lose my sense of taste and smell. I started isolating myself from going out into the community and went for a test. The first thing I saw in my results from the Red Cross Laboratory was the print in red. I was terrified and emotionally drained with so many unanswered questions running through my mind. After a while, I received a call from the laboratory asking me if I was alright. Although worried and fearful, I pretended that everything was alright and tried to deny the truth from the people I live with. I think I was afraid that I would be brought to the local isolation unit which is known to be uncomfortable.

Twenty-one days of isolation with nothing to look at but the four corners of my room brought mixed feelings. I was disconnected from my activities in the ministry, attendance in church and there was nothing I could do except to pray within the four corners of my room. I turned to a passage from the Scriptures of  Isaiah 41:10:

“Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Difficulties do come in life, but to overcome it, I need to be strong and gain strength which only comes through trust in the word of God.”

In times of my great difficulty, the best thing I did was to keep myself busy and dedicate my energy into something positive. With prayers, I was able to deepen my self-knowledge, reach into the center of my tuner and regenerate that positive energy for survival.

Although I was far away from home, I am grateful that I was surrounded with people who had skills, ability and a measured approach in getting things done. Their guidance  during this time of uncertainty helped me tackle this sickness. Their hospitality made me realize that when ‘I’ is replaced by ‘We’, even ‘Illness’ becomes ‘Wellness’. Indeed, prayers, faith, trust and support have been my kit for survival.

Yanny 2

Back in action. Mereani with Deacon Jerry Lohera in one of the commu-nities in Barra sub-parish