• Minette Dione Ebong

  • Cameroon - Calgary

Art by Emily Honderich

Minette Dione Ebong story

Minette Dione Ebong is originally from Cameroon in West Africa. She has been married for eight years and is blessed with three young children. She relocated to Canada to join her husband in 2013 and has been living in Calgary. She is a registered social worker and currently working with the Calgary Board of Education as a behaviour support specialist.

Coping With COVID-19 in Challenging Moments

As a working mom, student and mother of three kids and an immigrant, it is very challenging for me to cope with all these. The process of dropping and picking up my kids back and forth to the daycare, helping the kids with homework, cooking and feeding them, putting them to bed and getting up at midnight to study has been a nightmare. In the midst of all these, COVID-19 hit, and the effects have made things even worse for me. Dealing with the pandemic has been a terror around my work and family life.

However, as a Christian, I have chosen to live by faith and trust God’s protection in all my undertakings. As a support worker, I work rotating shifts in different schools, work with preschool to junior high students, which puts my family and me at higher risk of contracting the coronavirus. Driving to different schools often and working daily with different kids and staff increases my exposure. Chances of contracting the virus bring me a lot of fear and emotional distress. I can’t even hug my kids when I return home from work, and often the kids don’t understand why I keep avoiding them.

Although I endeavour to strictly follow all health authorities' recommendations, including workplace safety protocols, I always feel that isn’t enough. I literally will run straight to the shower when I get home, take a shower and change clothes before attending to my children, which looks weird every time my kids ask me, “Mom, why do you push us away from hugging you?” It breaks my heart because they don’t seem to understand even after explaining the reason behind it.

The worse part of my story came when I attended a funeral ceremony with just about 20 people. A few days after, a friend of mine called me and announced she tested positive. When I heard that news, I instantly felt sick with lots of anxiety, depression and loss of hope. It was a hard decision to return home that day because I worried that I got the virus. I managed to book my appointment, which took a few days for that to happen but meanwhile, I tried to isolate myself from my family, which was because my kids couldn’t survive without coming close to me. I did my best to wear a mask, sanitize as much as possible for my family to be safe. It was the hardest time of my life until I tested negative, then everything felt normal again.

The pandemic makes me worry about my kids in school, going to a store to get groceries and going to work. The uncertainty that there is no cure and that if my family members or I get infected. I am hoping to find a full-time job where I can maintain the same clients. In the midst of all these, Isaiah 41:10 says, “do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Therefore, I am holding unto God’s word, which keeps me going as I depend on it daily.

"I did my best to wear a mask, sanitize as much as possible for my family to be safe. It was the hardest time of my life until I tested negative, then everything felt normal again."

- Minette Dione Ebong