Janelyn Dupingay Vergara

We Can Do Magic

One silent night of April, I found myself sobbing like a child upon reading the news on my phone about the sudden increase in the number of infected by the virus and forming different clusters.

I admit that the first thing I felt was "fear". The thoughts came rushing, unstoppable, flooding like an angry river destroying all my defense including calmness. This emotion was written on one of my poems.

I was afraid not for my life but for the people I love. I still want to see my family, hug them and cover the years of sadness that passed by without me at their side. I want to serve my mother and take care of her as she gets older. I want to see my daughter grow up into a beautiful lady. I can't loose my life in an unfamiliar place.

These negative thoughts occupied my mind at that moment. I cried until I got tired and slept. In the morning, I woke up looking like panda. I wasn't happy with what I saw in the mirror. The whole day, I was thinking on how I could eliminate those kind of feelings which was eating up my system. I've always been an optimistic person but that time was an exemption. I really felt weak and drained emotionally until I decided to call home and checked on them. I asked how was their situation and mom was happy to tell me that they're coping well with the strict implementation of staying at home. And before the call ended,  she left me a message saying, "take care of yourself there, we are waiting for you." That call made me feel better and shook off the unwanted feelings I had that day.

I realized that I have to do something to divert my attention. I went back to the Uplifters community where I took a break for a month. It is a nonprofit organization that provides online education on Money Management and Personal Growth for Domestic Helpers. Being a Team Leader, I made myself busy connecting with the students. I have listened to their worries and helped them with the lessons as well. It feels good to be an ear to all the burdens they're  sharing and at the same time to give them constructive advices especially on how to battle their anxieties. New friendships was formed and it feels good.I made social media a way of spreading positive words of encouragements and to make people see that there are still things that we can do and be productive despite this pandemic.

I spend my free time as well on different platforms where I could freely share my written compositions. I mostly appear on Facebook live videos reciting my poems or talking and connecting with the community. I, together with my team from the Migrant Writers of Singapore provide online activities through our Facebook Group Daily Life in Covid-19 that can help members to at least feel relax, get their mind busy on writing rather that thinking of the situation and to make them appreciate Literature.
I found my value in spreading love, humanity and kindness. It feels good when people come back to you and thank you for touching their lives. It feels genuinely good to see women lifting fellow women.  And most of all, it feels good to share our good things wholeheartedly may it be material or just an emotional support.

Every little efforts during this time to help the community, counts. We can do magic in our own simple ways. I know things are not easy for everyone at this moment but we have to keep our mind strong and find ways not to focus on our fear. There are many support groups that we can turn too if we need an ear to listen. All we have to do is to get the courage to connect and not to suffer in silence.

Here is the poem I wrote out of my real emotions when Covid-19 infections grew up:


for I fear not the angel of death;
nor the tomb where my corpse will be laid.

not the pyre where my body be burned;
nor the calmness of the ocean where my ashes be sent.

not the blazing fires of hell
nor the hard fist of the demon.

not the stairways that leads to glory
or reading of the judgment book.

but I fear, I fear to close my eyes
in the City called Lion.

and if heaven permits;
I would choose to be home,

where the sun rises from the east
and loses it's rays at the west.

a familiar place known to be,
pearl of the orient seas.
Janelyn Dupingay Vergara