Poem from an FELTP Graduate: My Struggle with COVID-19

Mathias Besong, a graduate of the Nigerian Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP), is currently responding to COVID-19 in Lagos State, where he is leading a rapid response team in case investigation and sample collection. Mathias shared with TEPHINET a poem he wrote titled, “My struggle with COVID-19.” With his permission, we are sharing it here.
 
When asked what inspired him to write this poem, Mathias replied, “I got the news that two of my colleagues had tested positive. I just sat down somewhere waiting for the lab guys to remove their equipment from the car. We just got back from a big hospital to sample doctors and nurses. And I felt like I should stop and just go home. Then this started coming. I just took my pen and started writing. I can't give up now. The stakes are too high.”

My struggle with COVID-19
by Mathias Besong
 
I sat on the hood of the car
Watching the mirage on the tar
Thinking of patients lost so far
Who seem to be waiting not afar
 
Nothing came to mind but fear
For those that I love who are near
Who know nothing of the virus’s snare
Set so vast with none to spare
 
Then I thought of a local curse
Strong enough to kill its source
Yea, even to slow the demons course
But then the gods don’t even know its source
 
So, we chose the path of quarantine
Some of us behind the pines
Ever so close to the porcupine
Just to have some peace of mind
 
But then the cries of those in pain
Wallowing in the virus gains
Their noise enough to stop a train
And now I wish I was not trained
 
My calling I still chose to obey
Even in the long and darkest day
For COVID-19 can’t make me display
The distrust in God I threw away
 
I am an epidemiologist
My shoes have holes for a reason
I will never rest
I am a warrior
And COVID-19 I must fight