Many Bahamians breathed a sigh of relief after making it through five days of lockdown. But what made it even more dismal for some was the fact that the lockdown happened during Holy Week, the most important week on the church calendar. Easter for Bahamians this year was definitely unlike any they had experienced before. But families rallied in many instances to make the best of the situation as the country fights to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“The experience was fine for me,” said DeAnne Gibson. “I think it’s all mind over matter if you make yourself understand this is what it is. And then you make preparations for being in that situation. I’ve seen some of the WhatsApp messages where people are freaking out, and one gentleman said he didn’t like his family – well I don’t have that issue. I love my family, and being with them is great.”
Social distancing measures remain the best measure to reduce transmission and slow the spread of COVID-19.
The Bahamas has 49 confirmed coronavirus cases with eight deaths as of Monday, April 13. Worldwide there are 1,904,566 confirmed cases and 118,459 deaths.
The country has come out of its second lockdown, and first five-day lockdown over the Easter holiday with lockdowns expected every weekend through the end of the month.
Many used the lockdown opportunity to engage in activities with family.
Gibson said she did not dread going into the five-day lockdown with her husband Dwight and their 20-year-old daughter Daria who is home from university.
She said her husband made himself very comfortable.
“He needed a break, so he took the time to relax, as he’s been juggling a lot of things.”
For their daughter, she said the lockdown wasn’t so cut and dry, and the university student found herself challenged – so much so that as soon as the lockdown lifted, she headed out to work in the family business on Tuesday morning.
“As a natural planner and organizer, in my mind I saw that we had already pulled out the games and stuff from the weekend before. Everybody has their little programs that they watch and so you either came in and enjoyed what somebody else was doing, and there were times when we intentionally did things together.”
One thing they did was take all meals together.
“Usually we would do dinner together, but being home, we did breakfast and lunch as well so it was a really nice time,” said Gibson.
Devout Anglicans, the Gibsons worshipped virtually from home dedicating time to each of the services on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday as they could not physically attend church. Nightly the family came together for prayers for which they connected with their sons – Deon, 31, who lives in Eleuthera and Daniel, 22, who lives in Baltimore, Maryland.
During the five-day lockdown, she said her husband took time with friends in chat rooms and she also used the opportunity to connect with elderly relatives and friends that were home by themselves.
Easter Monday, she would normally go to her mom, Rosamund Williams’ house where she and other relatives would engage in games among other activities. This year they couldn’t.
“We watched movies, we played games. I did some coloring … some reading.”
Coloring books which most people associate as a children’s activity is something Gibson enjoys somewhat regularly and wasn’t just a lockdown activity for her.
“I engage in coloring somewhat regularly when I just want to get away from everything. I find that pulling colors and trying to figure out how I want it to look takes me away from everything else. I’m very focused on that and put a lot of attention into it,” she said.
She didn’t purchase her books for the lockdown. She always has them and can pull them out at any time.
Gibson said she shared with her husband and daughter that it helped that they were only three-deep in a space of almost 1,000 square feet, which meant they weren’t on top of each other unless they wanted to be. She said she was cognizant of the fact that some families do not have the luxury of quarters that aren’t so close.
During the Holy Week lockdown, she said she also used the opportunity to reflect the message of the week and the love of Christ to reflect on different things as she prayed for the world and the country, particularly people who may be challenged with suicide, loneliness, depression, reality, uncertainty of future.
“My words to everybody are I will trust in the Lord ‘til I die,” said Gibson.
For Tosheena Robinson-Blair, the key to maintaining her sanity during the five-day lockdown was ensuring her children had things to do which they enjoy.
“To prevent my four-year-old son from tearing up the house, we played soccer in the backyard as a family, that and watering the grass and plants – which lends itself to water fights – kept him happy, since he loves outdoor activities,” she said.
Family movie time, she said, served a dual purpose. It kept her son Roman entertained while she worked on her teenage daughter, Sierra’s hair or vice versa.
Her 16-year-old daughter and four-year-old preschooler son also star in their own YouTubel cooking show – Sierra and Roman’s Cooking Show. They’ve posted two episodes and have two waiting to be edited to be uploaded.
“I also think working on their cooking show together was vital to suppressing the sibling bickering which could cause a parent to snap. Since the closure of schools, they’ve gotten serious about their Sierra and Roman Cooking show.”
During the lockdown Sierra Blair perfected her baking techniques whipping up “the addiction” – her mom’s nickname for Sierra’s homemade bread. The 16-year-old and her little brother also made a pumpkin spice swiss roll which will be featured in a future segment for their YouTube Channel.