Im in the national public health laboratory in Dar Salaam for a covid 19 test and filming is not allowed.
The lady at the counter just handed me the certificate with the result and it is negative.
I asked her what happens if one tests positive.
You tested negative so you dont have to know what happens if you test positive she said.
There are many people wanting to travel now that the skies have reopened.
At the counter theres a photograph of president John Mcfully looming over the test applicants.
In June he announced that Tanzania had become the first country in the world to vanquish the coronavirus.
On the way back from the testing center I wondered
how I could have avoided becoming infected in the nightclubs we went.
Could Tanzania be really free of the virus?
Feeling sad to leave yet happy to go we threw a goodbye party on the beach.
The next day I checked in at the airport.
After having registered on the self-quarantined app established by Kenyas Ministry of Health.
The flight was smooth and I quickly found a taxi driver to bring me home,
but as soon as we cleared the gate of the airport I realized there was no other traffic on the roads.
The driver told me that its because of the curfew and that we were accepted because of coming from the airport.
Roaming through a dark and deserted Nairobi I started wondering where I had ended up.
The reunification with my girlfriend was wonderful and we were so happy having missed each other for so long.
The wake up call came the next morning with an sms alert from the Ministry of Health,
saying that it was time to file my health details in the self quarantine app.
Kenya seemed to be serious a realization that was driven home when I went out for shopping.
My familiar shopping mall has been converted into one big hand washing zone
with soap dispensers every 20 meters.
The floor is speckled with footstep stickers indicating social distancing space.
The tables in my usual coffee shop are sprayed before patrons sit down.
The menus have disappeared to prevent infection.
Instead there are stickers with qr codes for downloading the menu onto my phone.
Then there is the curfew and the closure of bars and restaurants.
Now I realize how isolated from covid19 I had been in Tanzania.
We are happy to be together now in a country where at least the virus is acknowledged,
and we are reminded to stay vigilant.
What really happened in Tanzania we will hopefully find out after the pandemic is over,
but I miss my friends on the beach.
The alerts for my health check will continue for fourteen days.
Brutalmonday for VOA news in Nairobi