COVID-19 EXIST BUT WE ARE EXEMPTED.
A cultural interpretation of indigenes in Sekondi-Takoradi.
Everyone is still in limbo as the novel virus known as corona is in existence. Probably as one of the ‘bad” viruses among humans. Many activities since with the inception of the virus are still on halt. This comes with a strategic easing of restrictions on some variables such as the economy, sports (contact and non-contact). Also, education and resumption of hospitality services i.e. hotels and restaurants. The pandemic has brought ripple effects on lives and activities. Changing the ways of life of individuals and groups and bringing about the “new normal” of adhering to protocols with their sanctions attached to them.
The impact of the pandemic is still ignored by many. Who perceived it never or somewhat existed regardless of the increasing rate of infections. Although precautionary and basic protocols have been rolled out to curb the spread of the virus. Some people feel the danger of the virus are not associated with them as earlier perceived. It is against this background. That this write up seeks to describe the perception of covid-19 from the perspectives of the indigenes (women) in Essipong. An ‘urban poor’ community in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis.
Even though there has been steadily improvement by the government in the fight against the virus. The effort to eradicate the virus is not enough. This because the story of the indigenes (women) in Essipong is entirely different. As a result, their narrative about the virus informed me to apply the emic perspective. As coined by Kenneth Piker (1954). According to him, an emic view of culture is, at the end of the day. A perspective that focuses on the inherent cultural distinctions. That are meaningful to members of a given society, often considered to be an insider’s perspective.
Studies from an emic point of view often include more detailed and culturally rich information than studies from an ethical point of view. As observers place themselves within the culture of the intended study, they are able to go further into the details of the practices and beliefs of a society that otherwise, would have been ignored.
During my interviews, questions were asked and these were their responses;
I asked whether or not they (indigenes) are aware of the existence of the Corona virus?.
Here are the responses from the discussants, “She admitted that ‘Corona virus has come’ and she is pretty sure about the existence but to her, she is poor and therefore corona wouldn’t infect her and her household. She also said people come around to where she sells without nose mask but she isn’t bothered of contracting the virus from her customers [due to their cultural beliefs and work environment i.e. working with fire]”.
Another respondent said, “She is always busy with her duties although she adheres to the protocols but her work keeps away for believing the virus exist their setting. Going on, she indicated the effects of the virus on her business but doubt the virus has existed and even if it existed, because they were fishmongers, they use salt or bath the sea to cleanse themselves from the virus”
Moreover. I probe further to know if anyone has been diagnosed of the virus and the responses were in a surprising voices as stated in the comments below;
RQ2. Do you know about anyone who has been diagnosed of the virus?
I also queried where they heard the virus and why most people do not wear the nose mask in the area.
The responses to the above questions are below.
“According to her, she heard the virus from the TV stations, education by the town council, by military and naval patrols in the area. She said that she is very happy the way sensitization of the virus is going on and she added that most are not with nose mask on because they cannot breathe and mostly the nose mask cannot make them speak properly.”
My question on whether someone among them has contracted the virus came with big shout. Discussant 4 said,
“’ooh ddaaabi obiaaraa eny3 bi ye.’ It means none of them has contracted the virus due to the sensitization programs roll out in the area and perhaps they are careful with dealing with people”.
RQ3. What strategies have been adopted to deal with the virus?
“She adheres to the protocols by wearing her nose mask, washing her hands under running water and eating healthy foods to boost her immune system.” Also one discussant said she wears the nose mask, applies salt, bath with sea water, and does some mixing with water before using it and this is her response below
“I wears a nose mask and put Dettol in the water before usage and often uses salt or bath the sea. She also recounted using hand sanitizer when her hands get dirty”
By and large, it can clearly be seen that the indigenes(women) of Essipong have cultural interpretations. Which verify theoretical underpinning that an emic view of culture is, at the end of the day. A perspective that focuses on the inherent cultural distinctions that are meaningful to members of a given society. Which is often considered to be an insider’s perspective hence they believe Corona virus is real or exist. But the culture such using salt/bathing sea water.
The heat in the nose mask making it difficult for them to breath says otherwise. Although there was a positive indicator which the sensitization and education that have being roll out effectively. Also, more need to be on the cultural interpretation/perception on the Covid-19 pandemic. With the knowledge of the cultural and the scientific community, I think the pandemic will be defeated and eradicated in the country.
KWEKU OPARE ASANTE (F_M).