Written Story by Mondonkilibe Tchadja

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on my life in many ways. The virus, which first emerged in late 2019, quickly spread around the world and was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2020. Since then, it has had far-reaching effects on my health, finances and social interactions. Being an over the road driver, my face to face interactions were at a minimum except if I was getting fuel, buying and taking a shower or getting something to eat. I didn’t experience the surge of Covid or anything that came with it until a year into it. My means of provision came from the number of successful loads that were delivered with no damaged goods. As time passed, loads that were paying a huge sum of money for deliveries to and from the east coast, became a fraction of what was expected. As if it couldn’t get worse, fuel prices had doubled, if not tripled the amount it was prior to. Not only am I paying for fuel, meals while on the road, truck payments, I also had to worry about rent. It became almost impossible to make ends meet. Before I could get myself situated to get back on the road, things took a turn for the worse. 

My invisibility quickly wore off the trip before my last when I was diagnosed with Covid. I had a severe cough that made it impossible to sleep, my chest was tight and breathing normal became a daily challenge. Being an immigrant, I don’t have access to medical care, so seeing a doctor about my symptoms were out of the question. I had to resort to self-medication, teas, herbs and things alike to regain my strength. The virus had me off the road and in bed for nearly one month. Because of it, it has had long lasting effects on my overall health. I don’t normally fall ill, but now, I have become a cold and flu magnet. Sometimes I can’t tell which I am suffering from. My livelihood was in my trucking business, and due to not being on the road, it had significant economic effects on me. It reduced my business operations as a result of the lockdowns and other restrictions, until it finally ended in a permanent shut down of my business. For some time, finding employment was a dread for me. Every application and interview, ended in denial or rejection. 

The pandemic has really affected my social interactions, with social distancing being implemented earlier in the spread of the pandemic, mask-wearing (which has finally been lifted), and limits on gatherings to slow the spread if the virus. These measures lead to my loneliness, isolation and mental health challenges. Overall, the pandemic has had a profound impact on my life, finances and economy as whole. The aftermath of this ongoing pandemic seems to still be very rampant. Nobody knows if things will get back to “normal”. But, we should not be fooled thinking it’s over, when it has likely just begun. This has really taught me to have other options, in case things become difficult moving forward.