Ngozi Onyinye, Edmonton AB

COVID Across Canada: Short Takes

November 2, 2020

Life Indeed is a Gift


Ngozi Onyinye


Sitting in my living room in Edmonton, looking out the window, staring at the almost empty streets, watching the very few pedestrians and cars I could easily count, I listened to the reiterated announcements on the news. Stay home as often as possible to curb the spread of COVID. This is more real than I thought.

I wondered what had become of the flashy cars that used to speed past, and also looked at my parked car, which I now barely drive. Before, I had bothered about so many things. Just last Christmas, 2019, I had worried so much about the kinds of Christmas gifts I would present to my family and friends. I glanced at some of the gifts still in their boxes, undelivered, as my sister had cancelled her flight due to COVID travel restrictions, and from my mouth escaped the words of wise King Solomon: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!”


“Whenever my eyelids flutter open from sleep, I am grateful to God for being awake, alive, and healthy.”


Now I spend most of my time online researching to set professional examination questions for the human resources organization where I volunteer. The pandemic has changed my mindset. I have had a paradigm shift, become seldom encumbered about anything. Whenever my eyelids flutter open from sleep, I am grateful to God for being awake, alive, and healthy. I have become appreciative of even the minutest things and kind gestures, such as a phone call from loved ones.

I admire the Canadian government that immediately swung into action, offering relief programs to everyone qualified and in need within its borders. I am unusually grateful to the courier services that keep my mail coming. I say an extra thanks to the attendants at the grocery store and the health workers at the pharmacy whenever I am brave enough to go shopping. These and all the other essential workers are undeniably true superheroes.

I have heard the saying that life is a gift, but it is now more meaningful to me.


Ngozi Onyinye immigrated to Canada in 2017 as a permanent resident. She has earned certifications as an international and senior professional in human resources and volunteers for an international human resources organization. Ngozi is also the local coordinator for The Shoe Project in Edmonton.


PAINTING by Emily Honderich


We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.