I am stuck between two countries, one that has become my new home: France and my native country, Nigeria. I am a medical doctor/epidemiologist and also a researcher in health-related fields. As part of my ongoing Ph.D. in interdisciplinary health-related research, I had to travel to lead a pilot study in Kano State, Nigeria. After multiple delays (my trip was rescheduled thrice), I made it home at the end of February 2020.
Heavily laden with experimental devices for air sampling and respiratory spirometry I proceeded to frantically zip across my home country meeting up appointments with partners and family. Then off to the field in Kano state (in unbelievable heat). I trained collected data across multiple local government areas and proceeded to write up my report. Then it happened: COVID-19 literally exploded globally. My flight was cancelled and research updates changed to zoom meetings. Stuck in lockdown only home state, I volunteered to assist with the COVID-19 response within the coordination and epidemiology and surveillance pillars of the emergency operations center (EOC).
So I now have paid rent for 2 months in France, packed a suitcase of dry African foods, redone my braids (at least twice), and can’t get a flight out. My greatest point of gratitude is I got “pinned down” with those I love and in a home with adequate space. In the interim, I will serve my people, my nation and uphold the oath I took to improve the lives of all humans, as we all wait to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am digging through it from both ends.
As a medical epidemiologist in the field in Nigeria and a health researcher via e-platforms (and an empty apartment) in France. The duality of disruption. See you on the other side!