THE moonlit night was cold. As I lay alone on a hammock in the bushy portion of a hill, I felt my stomach ache. It was bearable at first but got worse as the night got deeper. It was one of those moments when being in the comfort of home would have helped.
I sat down and weighed my options. The hill stood near a peasant’s house, but to get there I needed to follow the footpath downhill, then cross a grassy land. The light of the moon was grey, enough for a moving target to be visible from afar. The risk was great, but the need to ease the pain in my stomach was greater. I took the risk.
I knocked at the door gently and, in a low voice, called out the peasant. He opened the door and when he recognized me let me in. I told him about my problem, but local medication like herbs was not available. I did not also want to be too much of a bother, so he did the next best thing, which was to boil water. The hot water I drank did ease the discomfort enough for me to be able to go back to my hammock up the hill and sleep.
In life, we always go through risks. There are risks, for example, as we move to the waning phase of the pandemic when reported cases have lowered, lockdowns have been lifted and we prepare for mass inoculation. But the virus is still around and getting ill with Covid-19 is real. The importance is for us to recognize the risk so we won’t let our guard down.
This is more so because mass inoculation is a process and not all processes play out fast. So in the interim months, many will be vulnerable even as the virus and its ability to transmit itself through the populace remains. So the need to recognize the risks and in the process continue to strictly follow health protocols are important.
As I said, there are always risks in everything we do. That is why we need to recognize those risks every time. But it would be wrong to allow the risks to paralyze us. We all have lives to live. We should not let the risks immobilize us also. In the end, this will be all about balance. We take those risks while making sure we protect ourselves. In this case, protection means wearing masks, maintaining physical distancing and constant washing of the hands.
Unfortunately, there are sectors who do not recognize the risks either because of ignorance or because of a false sense of security. The ignorant are spreading the belief that the illness is not a serious one and that it is only the government that is making things up. This even with the deaths caused by the virus, the latest being former rebel soldier and Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Danny Lim. Then there are those who barter short-term enjoyment with living healthy and in monotony longer. The Cebuano term often used for that is “bahala na.”
These are the people who go partying or on a drinking spree like the coronavirus does not exist. They are even the reasons why the pandemic persists. The battle against the pandemic became difficult because there are those who simply don’t care.