When I first Learned about the Tragedy of Panic

@njielamin

As part of a routine, Basiru my friend monthly goes to beach for sports and swim. As a civil servant, young and single Basiru is a happy soul, so free in his skin that he practices almost all exercises ranging from jogging, football, gym and swimming. “when you’re in your prime, do not feel lazy to exercise, as though you’d would like to do it when you’re a grown up, by then your muscles are too weak” he said to me while in his zeal to take me to the football pitch for a “warrga warrga” Football match. Football has been one of my favorite games of all times – but i loose taste in the game, after a bitter quarrel between me and an extended brother in which we almost exchange blows, Bas laughs amazingly. “I was immersed in this game with my mind, body and spirit until i got detached and focus shifted to writing”. Having my conscience drawn to stories that portray humanity in an unconventional and raw reality, built with an unfashionable passion. Benz, i named him because of his athletic skills. He used to be a very fast runner and a consistent sprinter during our school days. Often, he had won trophies for our school at the time we were in secondary school. I told him I had lost interest in football, but he managed to take me to the pitch that day. Fortunately for us, we won the game.

At the Beach Site

Meanwhile, been a weekend, it has become a norm in communities like ours to organise a friendly football match among ourselves and later use the money for party at the beach site. On this very fine day, a day we had won a “warrga warrga” football match; I, Bas and young men in our neighborhood arranged to have a party at the beach site. “This was the day i learned how dangerous panic is: I mean tragic”.

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We went to beach this very sunny Sunday afternoon, around 16:00 hrs. This was summer time, a time when beach sites are a fund spot and stress relishing zone due to the frenzy nature of the environment. We arrived at the beach site just 16:45 pm exactly. Set up our music, a chicken grille with some beverages. I had invited some friends aiming to have an unpopular picnic. “Marvin, bro you will have to swim with us today, i know you’re a stone but today you will float” Bas teased me as we all put on our sweat-pants and begin to stroll the beach site. “I am going to break your record today Benz” , one of our friend provoke him jokingly. “Oh, seriously Madi, okay let’s go” Bas responded. The duos went on a 100 meters race, but as always Benz beat him. We walk along the beach; it was sunset, colorful and dear to the sight as we starred on the glowing sunset leaving us.

“The beach owner visits the beach once in a blue moon and when it does, people are not expected to be swimming in the river or else the thunder will strike them to death” the woman continued. I, Bas and Madi were standing worryingly before her; but why the fierce running of people for their lives? as not all these people were swimming – I was frightened because of the running, i gave a heckler to this story” Madi addressed the woman.

When Panic chase Us

“Run, run, run it is coming…..” from a telegraph I heard voices screaming all over the beach, abruptly I saw a handful of people running like they’re been chased by death. Suddenly, Benz held our hands, as we were three in number, [him] in the middle and grabbed we to run with him as others were doing. It was weird but rather scary! Back and forth, I asked “what’s going on Bas, what’s the matter, why are you dragging us like this”? Bas didn’t respond until we had run for about 500 meters and then he stopped. We looked around and behind, but no one was there. We all broke into despair and confusion as Benz himself was not sure of the reason people were running. To him, he was saving us from something but “what”?

Interestingly, we only found out when we got back to our people and met them enjoying themselves as if nothing happens. Intermittently, as we were on the way back to our spot on the other side of the beach, to our shocking surprise, there were two children who drowned because of the panic alert. I was baffled and sincerely sorrowed to learn that children drowned because of a panic alert, more dishearteningly it was all a mythology and a taboo yet alive. We asked a woman on our way back during the search for these children in the sea, this woman disclosed to us that, the beach experiences thunder and it is not safe if it finds one swimming in the river, a smirking mind boggling superstitious belief i could not just consume. “The beach owner visits the beach once in a blue moon and when it does, people are not expected to be swimming in the river or else the thunder will strike them to death” the woman continued. I, Bas and Madi were standing worryingly before her; but why the fierce running of people for their lives? as not all these people were swimming – I was frightened because of the running, i gave a heckler to this story” Madi told the woman. “My son, I can imagine, the panic and the fear are even more destructive than the thunder itself, every time this happens here, someone is either mentally retarded or drowned as a result of the panic and fear that accompanied the thunder”.

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To sum this up, the havoc and serious a crisis Covid-19 as a pandemic may post, panic, fake news or rumor mongers may cause worst. Although corona virus is real but it isn’t a death sentence. Thus, do not panic; do not break into anxiety, fear or depression. It will definitely become history like Spanish Flu, Cholera and Ebola. We must stay positive and calm with strong sense of solidarity, camaraderie, love and support. In a time like this, we must rely on each other, but most importantly, we must rely on God to protect us to survive this crisis that threatens our very existence. I hope this blog post has provides candor and consolation through my dimension, in my amateur scribbling zone. Please stay safe; stay clean, sanitized and avoid crowds. Unconditionally, stay at home; read, write, sleep or work from home. Together lets suppress the spread of the virus, as any where you may be reading this from. Follow and advise others on WHO precautionary measures, as you protect yourself, your family and love ones. Thank you for reading!