LOCKDOWN REFLECTIONS AND HOPES FOR A ‘NEW’ NORMAL
Maia Woodward, SAT-7 International Communications Manager shares, in her words, her reflections during COVID-19 lockdown, and how SAT-7 ARABIC’s new program You Are Not Alone gives her hope for the future of the region and the whole world.
Perhaps it is because I have a very young son, but after the first couple of weeks of being in lockdown, I couldn’t help but start to look at the opportunity it could bring for the world. As a 3.5-year-old, my son sees nothing but joy in everything, and I want the world to be different for him.
I started to wonder if this actual virus would wake the world up to the sicknesses we create – like war, famine, violence, abuse, environmental disaster, poverty. Afterall, people began talking about hearing birdsongs instead of traffic, smog- fog caused by pollution disappearing in huge urban centres like Delhi. The appearance of the natural world healing because human beings being stopped was being noticed by people from all walks of life – everywhere.
Then there were the acts of kindness and messages of encouragement and support being celebrated and reported across mainstream media, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Hashtags like #stayhome, #staysafe #everydayheroes, #inspirationalpeople #extraordinaryneighbourhood, started springing up everywhere.
I found myself searching for these stories at the end of each day of work – stories that could help me, inspire me, remind me of the possibilities of change for the world – one person at a time.
These stories also invited me to reflect on how much I could contribute to this change and ultimately, reminded me that everything happening in the world began to feel like a personal invitation from God to be reminded about what kind of world I want to have. What kind of world do we all want to live in and be responsible for?
On a call last week, a colleague in Lebanon mentioned how she is being woken up at 4am – full of ideas and thoughts for programs. This tap on the shoulder – the rousing from our slumber, literally but also spiritually – makes me feel that God is literally also waking us up further – breaking us open and inviting us all to dig deeper in our own resources, whatever they are, to bring His Kingdom to Earth.
I have gone to bed at night with my head full of questions and my heart in agony of how children living on urban streets across the world are now able to survive when they have no one to beg from – no rubbish to sift through to find something to eat. I have woken up at 4am furious with social injustice right here where I live in Cyprus.
I try and go back to watching things that give me a sense of peace to stop my head going to these dark places at night – like watching a series on street food in Asia and marvelling at 100-year-old women selling amazing food on banana leaf plates, but last night I wondered how many of these women have survived COVID-19 ? And what does lockdown mean for women who haven’t had a day off for 90 years? Women who have survived tsunamis, genocide, war and famine and can now no longer feed their families or go to work. In some way it made me sadder to think of their spirits being broken than anything else.
On another evening recently, I read a tweet by an actor on a TV series I watch from time to time. He was responding to hearing people talking about going back to ‘normal’ and commented that going back to excessive greed and massive social inequality isn’t what he wanted to return to but said that instead, he wanted to return to an ‘abnormally’ fairer world. This really spoke to my heart.
Today I am listening to my heart a lot and I have to say that the work of SAT-7 is really speaking to it more loudly than ever. I take time to read the episode transcripts, not just wait for our team to write the articles and I have become a fan of one particular program, You Are Not Alone, on SAT-7 ARABIC specifically created as part of SAT-7’s programming response to the pandemic. The program gives people a voice and the opportunity to connect across professional and economic boundaries. It reveals the incredible diversity of people living across the Middle East and North Africa–all living through a crisis that has compounded their already challenging lives. It inspires me, and no doubt other viewers, with hope that we can and must work together to support each other in bringing much needed change.
Maia Woodward joined SAT-7 as the International Communications Manager in September 2019. She has visited over 40 countries and spent the last 20 years working in communications. With a passion for empowering marginalised voices to reach mainstream audiences, Maia has worked as a journalist, researcher, storyteller, trainer and facilitator within the Media, International Development sector and Academia.