Storytelling when used as metaphors for the common good and to aid unity.
People in Melanesia are fond of storytelling and indeed storytelling is part of the culture of Melanesian society.
I became accustomed to storytelling during my time in the Solomon Islands and also became aware that storytelling played a role in shaping positive attitudes to change, community awareness and even leadership.
Some aspects of storytelling, based on rumour and gossip had opposite effects on society and tended to work towards creating divisions, distrust and even, at times, hostility.
As the Solomon Islands is facing the threat of coronvirus spreading to its shores it is a time for unity and common purpose and no time for misleading stories that could work against the determined strategy of the Solomon Islands government and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to protect and counter the threats that the unseen virus poses to the country and all that is held dear.
There has been a myth going around that the COVID 19 spread will slow down in places where the temperature is above 27 degrees.
This myth is plainly not true and the World Health Organisation WHO has clarified that coronvirus is actively transmitted in places with hot and humid climates.
“There is no reason to believe that weather can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases. The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the external temperature or weather,” the WHO has said.
The Government has beefed up measures in the fight against COVID-19 but, perhaps by storytelling about the government’s tough stance on enforcing quarantine rules in place, some people have reportedly ignored the rules and this has led to the Government issuing a stern warning that anyone who breaches the advice or tries to evade quarantine will face legal consequences that could lead to imprisonment.
I cannot stress enough how very necessary it is to stay united at such a critical time in the Solomon Islands and to seek advice on the prevailing preventative measures in force and get information from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services on all matters relating to the coronavirus threat, including health precautions to take as a matter of daily routine.
Stories become metaphors for life and have the potential to help people connect, develop genuine understanding, and unite around common purposes.
To end this piece, let me say I was interested to read that the well know KGV1 School in Honiara is being considered as an official Quarantine Centre and put to effective us at a time of crisis.
I was brought up in war time Britain when King George the Sixth was the monarch and head of state. Buckingham Palace the home of the King and Queen Elizabeth, the late mother of our present Queen Elizabeth, was struck with falling bombs on several occasions but both the King and Queen, despite the dangers faced by nightly air raids refused to leave the Palace or the British people.
The King and Queen became symbolic of resistance at a time of adversity and their presence effective at a time of national need.
One can say the use of the KGV1 School is important for the story of its adaptation and use should help as a reminder that one should unite for a common purpose.