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QUARANTINE DIARIES: A Day in the Life of a Frontliner

MATALAM, North Cotabato (MindaNews / 15 May) —   She is a registered nurse.

She left today at past 4 a.m. to report to a COVID Checkpoint where she is assigned. She should be there from 5 a.m.  to  1 p.m.

She left her children (a 7-year old and a six-month baby)  under the care of her mother until her husband drives back home. Her husband drives her to and from work every day. When her husband assumes the baby-sitting job, her mother, another frontliner (an officer of the Department of Interior and Local Government), prepares to report to work in the next town.

Nurse Maryam Johannie Sultan Mosaid-Gavilo (nurse) at her assigned checkpoint

More often, her parents can’t avoid harboring fear or the apprehension that the longer this battle with COVID-19 lasts, the fewer are her chances of missing the bullet. But she is brave and she wants to serve this country. That is what her parents can be so proud. Indeed, in times of great need, the human instinct of heroism in most individuals would tend to show more than personal considerations.

At the checkpoint, she confronts every vehicle’s passenger to do a thermometer scan check. That is, after the police would allow the vehicle and its passengers to proceed. It is to be noted that at the height of the general lockdown, only those with Quarantine Passes are allowed to proceed to buy basic essential needs such as food and medicine. Other than these items, it would be difficult to access the public market even with the quarantine pass. The idea is to limit the number of people to as few as possible to lower the chance of getting infected or transmitting the disease.

Nurse Maryam Johannie Sultan Mosaid-Gavilo.

The local government unit where she is assigned does not allow entry for anyone without a quarantine pass, valid ID, face mask and a border pass if coming from another town. And the only valid reason is to buy basic essential needs.

In some instances, the police would ask her to intervene especially when the interviewee does not speak Tagalog or Bisaya. She argues with those Bapa and Babo (Maguindanawon words which mean uncle and auntie) who would insist on their way into the Poblacion for several reasons which more often are not within the valid reasons. She takes it with a heavy heart while those Bapas and Babos are told to make a U-turn.

Those assigned in COVID Checkpoints are lucky enough to be provided with snacks and meals by the local government unit. When the snack would include something which is one of the favorites of her 7-year old daughter, she would spare the same as a “bring home” surprise.

Upon reaching home, she would not touch anything or anybody, not even her crying six-month old baby. She would dispose her clothes and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to a safe area and take a warm shower. She then puts on hand sanitizers after changing clothes to meet her children, talk to the seven-year old daughter and cuddle her six-month old baby, also a girl.

Upon reaching home from another day at the frontlines, murse Maryam Johannie Sultan Mosaid-Gavilo.would not touch anything or anybody, not even her crying six-month old baby. Not yet.

After breastfeeding her baby and having a little respite, she would then share with her parents and everyone in the house those more often stupid, funny anecdotal experiences from the COVID Checkpoint.

Yes, she is one of hundreds of thousands of health workers in this country who risk their own safety to make others safe. Her father once told her that the highest calling in these difficult times is to serve at the frontlines which she acknowledged with a slow nod. But like any real combat, the frontline is where you face the enemy fire at close range. The longer the battle continues, the lesser is the chance of missing the enemy bullet. And this is where the parental instinct of being protective would find its way out.

This is the story of my youngest child and only daughter, Maryam Johannie Sultan Mosaid-Gavilo.

[MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Maugan P. Mosaid, PhD (FB account: Maxim Sense) is a freelance writer. He is a planning consultant and teaches Statistics in the graduate school. He posted this on his Facebook page last week but would like to share this with the public. “Let this be a general representation of how parents feel for their brave sons and daughters on the frontline,” he said]


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