Coronavirus Crisis: Towering Lessons from the Giraffe and a Crossover of Care and Caution

Towering at about six metres tall, able to run at nearly 60km/h, having good eyesight capable of discriminating colours, sleeping in short naps confined to five minutes up to a total of only 30 minutes in a day — sparing some 20 hours daily for eating on the go, naturally found only in Africa but boasting a long neck which, ironically, cannot reach the ground and forces an awkward squatting posture to meet nature’s need of drinking water, the giraffe symbolically communicates key lessons to humans in these times of worldwide coronavirus crisis and a forced lockdown of socioeconomic activities. Her long gestation period of 15 months has no less critical a lesson on how long it may take to birth the process of recovering from the coronavirus crisis.
As I write this piece, a tower of giraffes has just crossed the road, forcing us to decelerate with care and caution to ensure nothing bad happens to the animals or to us in the car. This is a journey across the Tsavo towards the border of Kenya and Tanzania near Lake Jipe.
This week, Kenya is courting the crisis of COVID-19 as the number of confirmed cases advances in double digits. A dusk to dawn curfew has been imposed as a balancing act of trying to contain the spread of the virus while simultaneously allowing the majority of citizens, who live off informal employment, to earn their daily bread.
The sight of giraffes crossing the yellow and white lines sparks a thoughtful moment. Succumbing to the novel spiritual spark which usually fires up any thought leader’s transformative journey of authentic discovery and foresight, I get immersed into the usual river of rejuvenation, emerging with a revelation of the following perspectives.
Foresight is built upon a foundation with many bends but no end, enduring long periods of demanding exploration and evaluation. Does your country have enough foresight to stand in times of crisis?

Foresight is built upon a foundation with many bends but no end, enduring long periods of demanding exploration and evaluation. Does your country have enough foresight to stand in times of crisis?

Towering stalwarts, like the neck of a giraffe, may appear invincible but in the face of a crisis that calls for going back to the basics, they expose their weak links in obvious points of vulnerability— Achilles heel of sorts. What has COVID-19 exposed as the weakest link in your country’s planning and development framework?
The vicissitudes of life will change what you have been conditioned to think of as a right into a luxury you cannot afford. We cannot imagine surviving daily on at most six snaps each only five minutes long, yet to the giraffe that is an effortless lifestyle. Is your government learning from the compulsive lockdown by embracing a culture of working overtime as the new normal for preparedness to confront crises?
Remember, without air, flags can’t wave and dance. Without the turbulent waters, your athletic gift and imaginative mind will remain at rest, but all breakthrough inventions lie outside the boundary of such a complacent state. It is a state which has seen many a talent go to waste. Will your country muster a new resolve to nurture talents for inclusive prosperity and coexistence after wading through the COVID-19 pandemic?
The long gestation period of the giraffe still has a beginning and an end. During the lockdown, thererore, start off small on acquiring new skills at home which will be useful and transferable in future away from home, even globally. Sustain the consistency and patient determination of a marathoner as opposed to the short-lived bursts of intensity which define the sprint of fleeting youth.

Nashon J. Adero

Nashon, a geospatial expert, lecturer and trained policy analyst applies dynamic models to complex adaptive systems. He is a youth mentor on career development and the founder of Impact Borderless Digital.