How did Covid-19 Shutter my “Danish Experience”?

Sarah at the airport in Zambia
Sarah in the plane en route to Denmark.

The trip and before

Travelling to another country is always exciting for me and better off going to Europe is something I look forward to. I always look forward to the transition even if it lasts for only a short time, the tall buildings, the beautiful sceneries, the Food and the culture experience. I enjoy taking pictures and posting on my social media pages. As an African with all visa barriers and travel regulations, you take extra precautions to plan your trip and ensure all documentations are in place before you embark on the trip. This time around I had to wait for confirmation from the school as to when I can travel.

When I was cleared to travel, I embarked on my journey via Dubai and I had to take about 3 covid-19 tests, 2 before travelling and one final one at the airport in Copenhagen. It was not the best time to travel due to the many restrictions that came with the pandemic. The ‘almost’ empty airports greeted me with a cold elbow and this is when it dawned on me that my danish experience this time around will not be the same. It should be noted that I have travelled to Denmark more than twice before this and this time around things were different.

My biggest shock was the many restrictions that came with the Covid-19 pandemic; the malls where closed, restaurants only served on takeaway basis, not many people in the streets. I was so looking forward to meeting friends and taking some outdoor chills, but I did not think this it was going to be possible this time around at least not at the moment or the very nearest future.

Sarah in quarantine.

During quarantine:

I had to spend four days in quarantine and take the test on the fourth day and wait one or 2 two days for the results before getting out to meet with other people. This was my first time to be in quarantine or rather being in a place where I cannot interact with other people. Coming from Africa, where we live in groups and families, we socialise a lot and share a lot of things amongst each other. Back at home I live with my mum, sister, cousin and my little dog so I always must talk to my family every day, this time was different, before I could adapt to the danish culture where people are more independent than where I come from, I had to go through the routine quarantine. Day one`s routine included, waking up and taking a bath, waiting for a knock at 7:30am for breakfast delivery by one of the students, Netflix and book reading, wait for 1pm for the lunch delivery and lastly the last knock at 6pm for supper delivery. In between I could video call my family and friends or stare at the construction activities going outside my window to kill the boredom and it went well the days.

Day three I think I got depressed, I wanted to talk to someone or just have that one-to-one contact with someone and I could not. The teachers came through to check up on me but could not really chat with them for a long time as they must check on other students.

It was a weird, crazy period. I yearned to the time when I will end the quarantine.

Day four came and I was so excited because I was going to go and take a covid test, I was so excited I was all bathed up as early as 8 am with my little make up on. I noticed the student volunteer delivering the lunch staring at me longer, she was probably amazed at the makeover because the past three days she found me pyjamas. I took the test and went back to the school and waited a day before my results come out. That night I kept staring at my phone for a message from the testing centre that says “Negative”, but it did not come until the following day. In the afternoon I checked my email and there was nothing also then I logged on to the Covid-19 results.dk website and my results where there: NEGATIVE.I was declared Covid-19 free by the teacher on duty and allowed to mingle with others and what was even more exciting was the upcoming costume party that day, such a relief to come out.

Sarah after finishing quarantine.

My disposition during and post quarantine

If I were to describe how I felt during this time, I would say lonely. I do not like to be confined to one place. As a person I like to do what makes me happy, eat what makes me happy and hangout with people so being in one place where I had no control of what I ate or who I talked to, was challenging. However, it made me see another side of me that I never knew, like the fact that I was able to accept what life threw at me during that time. Now that I am out of the quarantine, I can take walks around the school, make friends and sit at the dinner table with everyone. I know that the pandemic has changed most of our lives and I believe we must find a way to keep on keeping on as individuals. My only wish is for a time to come where my friends from Copenhagen can come to my school so I can show them around and hopefully that it happens soon.

About Sarah Nkandu.

Sarah Nkandu is a communication specialist working in the NGO sector to help improve communications efforts for different causes. Sarah has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication and pursuing her masters in the same field (thesis level). She is a Zambian national aged 28 and is deeply passionate about community mobilisation as she comes from a rural set-up in Zambia and understands the many challenges African children go through. This desire to be a solution in her community drives her urge for living. She is currently in Denmark, studying at the prestigious folk high school called International People’s college simply because she wants to be able to understand and learn the system of folk high schools in Denmark and hopefully integrate this into some her developmental works in Zambia.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.