Follow These Steps

admndaretwrtWriters at Home and in Isolation

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Follow These Steps


Washing your hands is a simple way to protect yourself from Coronavirus.

Wet your hands in running water

She queues two metres from the next woman at the borehole, carries a full jerrycan on her head, then slops water into a bucket. Her hands shimmer like the skin on an aubergine when she dips them in.

Use soap and lather

She wonders when the next soap distribution will take place. Water laps her wrists as she twirls her hands.

Scrub for twenty seconds, while humming happy birthday twice

Looking into the far distance, she remembers the home she fled. On her palms, the lines are testament to her survival.

Dry your hands

Now this she can do. She swings her arms and droplets fall from her fingers. Air is free.


Every day I think about the women of South Sudan. And every day I think about how I left without saying goodbye. #Repatriation



Gail Aldwin writes fiction and poetry. Her coming-of-age novel The String Games is a finalist in The People’s Book Prize 2020. She was repatriated from her VSO volunteer placement at Bidibidi refugee settlement in Uganda due to Covid 19.

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