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Lily Mugane (Kenya)

Lily is a wife and mum to 2 girls and 1 boy residing in Nairobi, Kenya. I am an engineer by training currently working as a project finance professional in the telecoms industry. My typical day revolves around my family, work and volunteer opportunities all around me.

Covid 19 came and made everyone rethink their lives.

For me, my office transitioned to full time working from home where the family is. It was initially a challenge balancing between being a mum, wife, employer, employee, friend and all the hats that I wear. The most difficult thing was transitioning between work & family which typically transit time between home & office offers. Now I had to get used to mum calls in between meetings & make the switch in seconds, guide on school assignments in between work action points, slot in volunteer hours in the hours at home and take care of the caregivers around since given the change of their employer being around 24hours 😊 To be sincere though, I feel there has been lots of family bonding and productive meetings as commute time is eliminated. The children have a better understanding on work and earning money as they are now full time at home and sees what we do on a daily basis. They have explored their interests more during this time and have bonded a lot. We have all have learnt to take a day and task at a time.

I volunteer with a down syndrome support organization called T21 Families Support Organisation (https://t21familieske.org/) and this too had to be factored in the changes. More virtual calls have been taken up and since family is around, they have been part of the conversations whether willingly or unwillingly. It is normal to hear “Shhh..mum is in a meeting” and lots of mute & unmute in the calls as different tasks are being handled. Some challenges seen in the down syndrome community have been: 1. Many children are not attending therapy as a result of stay home orders, therapists not coming around 2. Many children not going to school or meeting with teachers and this could be regressive especially if they do not have siblings 3. Some kids didn’t get routine checkups done due to doctor strikes and limited personnel and fear of infection 4. Corrective surgeries postponed; I know two babies lives lost since they couldn’t go to India. 5. Social interaction between mums or caregivers limited resulting to emotional fatigue

In a nutshell, there has been lots of positives and negatives too. I choose to focus on the positives and work at turning the negatives to positives through reaching out for collaborations, shared experiences & interpersonal support.

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