From printer’s ink to planting pak choi
July 1, 2020
A dose of Intentionality and Grace
July 1, 2020

Phew! Thank God for Phase Five!

By Jamila Cross,

Phase Five, we are back to normal! Or as is being referenced, the ‘new normal’.

My article published on March 29, exactly three months ago, was entitled ‘Mindful mornings, remote work, and family workouts’.

On June 22, we marked the beginning of phase five—beaches, rivers, amusement parks, zoos, gyms, and team sports without spectators being allowed to recommence.

There was a collective sigh of relief for those persons accustomed to training with their teams, going to the Sunday beach or river lime who would finally be able to enjoy what had become non-essential activities, as part of our national response to the global pandemic.

First off the starting blocks for my affiliated sports groups was the Trinity Masters swim club; the WhatsApp group was buzzing as persons began eagerly anticipating their first Sunday morning swim at Maracas beach. “We meeting by the lifeguard booth at 7.30, and we celebrating a birthday as well!”

Yes, the indefatigable Gordon Borde who swims most mornings at CIC pool, and Sundays up at Maracas, we both share the same date of birth.

I celebrated 40 years of life, and GB, as he is fondly called, celebrated his 82nd birthday— he is a true swimming legend and someone whom I admire for his tenacity, competitive spirit, and encouragement in and out of the water.

On the other side of the country, my 868triathlon family held its first team session at the National Aquatic Centre, Couva. The skies opened and rain poured the previous day, as if to clear the hot, Sahara dust-filled landscape.

I wanted to start my birthday well and chose to do the 7 a.m. swim workout. It dawned on me how quickly my entire life routine had changed. The adaptation was instantaneous and how grateful I was to have the option to return.

The drive to Couva, jumping into the pool for the first time in 90 days, and spending two hours in full camaraderie were blessings. I was thoroughly enjoying every moment and, from all accounts from my club mates, the sentiment was shared.

There were some minor adaptations as we all adhered to public health guidelines. We were not able to stay too long on the wall in between sets, and we respected social distancing in each lane as part of our adaptive process.  The session was fun! Just getting back into the water and getting my entire body into action, plus breakfast after the workout is always the best!

As we re-enter the workplace, spaces of worship, malls, cinemas, and our daily routines; I wanted to share my top five COVID-19 lessons learnt:

  1. Working from home is an option for many persons and should happen more frequently.
  2. Access to technology should be enshrined as part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (lol). Especially important to be able to contact family, friends, and work from home if necessary. The Internet is the only way to do so.
  3. Essential workers are not compensated adequately enough for the crucial role they play to keep our world going.
  4. Learn how to be content alone. Learning to be still and do nothing is not for everyone, especially for extroverts. It can be exhausting and lonely, but it can also teach you a lot about yourself.
  5. Remembering Phase 1, May 10–May 23: Members of the public may engage in restricted outdoor exercise—walking, hiking, running in groups of no more than five people. No contact or team sports. Masks must be worn during all outdoor activities.

We have come a long way in three months.

Jamila Cross is a triathlete, former professional footballer for Sevilla FC women’s Club Spain, and mother of three boys Tishad, Akim and Santiago. She is the founder of the Mariama Foundation, a registered non-profit organisation raising the storytelling bar for the Caribbean’s female athletes.