Afropean Voices during Covid-19: The importance of choosing your perspective
Natasha Graham Douglas is a compliance manager with expertise in policy development and drafting.
She was born on the Caribbean island of Montserrat and now resides in the UK, with her Nigerian husband and two daughters..
Seemingly emerging out of nowhere to affect 220 of the worlds 251 countries and territories as recognised by the United Nations, COVID-19 became the teacher I never knew I needed. The most important lesson being the importance of choosing one’s perspective.
The narrative of fear and uncertainty triggered long since buried memories which have subconsciously shaped the paradigm through which I view the world. To understand, let me take you back, I grew up on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. I was 13 years old when life as I knew it was significantly changed following the eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano which had been dormant for centuries. The volcanic activity meant leaving the house I grew up in never to return, it meant days transformed into nights by heavy ash clouds, it meant living in fear of the sirens and having to move ever further out of the volcano’s reach. It meant schooling in tents, nights in the back of my dad’s truck and the loss of friends.
COVID-19 forced me to reflect on how far I have come and helped me realise that I have thrived through far worse experiences – YES… there has been death and loss but it has meant working from home with more time with my husband and children than I could ever have dreamed for. It meant closer bonds with extended family and friends forged by more regular communication. It meant saving more and reassessing my priorities for the better. It meant tapping into a level of compassion and empathy that has turned neighbours into friends. It has meant a constant focus on the positive.
I could have chosen a far more negative perspective as I have seen countless others do around me but to what end? My formative years have blessed me with a storehouse of resilience I never knew I had and brought home the fact that not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path. So, to that end, how are you looking at your storms?
This perspective is included in the upcoming Collateral Benefits Perspective Paper IV: Voices of the African Diaspora, a collaboration between Collateral Benefits , Fundación Manos Visibles and Afrøpean.