Thejini wins Gold | Sunday Observer

Thejini wins Gold

28 November, 2021

We start our Achievements Corner today with Thejini Gamage’s achievement. Do send us your achievement so that we can showcase them in the Junior Observer from time to time.

Thejini Gamage, 11 years, a Grade 6 student of Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo won a Gold Award in the Junior Category of the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2021. The competition is over 100 years old and is open to all 54 Commonwealth countries.

This year, over 13,000 students took part in the Junior Category which is for students under 14 years. Thejini is a member of the school choir, engages in announcing and tennis and is also a Little Friend. Here’s her winning essay under the topic, ‘The year is 2050 and you’ve been asked to write about the Coronavirus pandemic for a museum. What story would you tell?’


The unforgettable Corona


Thirty years ago, in 2020, I was just a little girl in Sri Lanka, a tiny island country in the Indian Ocean. We were having a lovely time; going to school, shopping on weekends, visiting family and friends and going on holidays. One day, after I had a music class both my parents came to pick me up. I was very happy as usually only one of them comeS.

When I got into the car I was surprised to see loads of groceries and finding a place to sit was a challenge! I asked them why they bought so many goods. They replied that it was because they had heard rumours that the Government was going to lockdown the country since the first Covid-19 patient was discovered from Sri Lanka on that day. At that moment, little did I know life was going to be on a roller coaster for the next five years.

We had some idea about the Coronavirus by the time it entered Sri Lanka. This global pandemic originated in the city of Wuhan in China, in December 2019.

Then, as the year 2020 ascended the Coronavirus began spreading in every country and caused many people to lose their lives. First, we watched over television many people dying, setting up of huge hospitals and streets of Wuhan becoming deserted due to lockdown in China. Then, we saw thousands of people dying each day in Italy. It was the beginning of one of the greatest disasters in tworld history.

I went to school on Thursday, March 12, 2020, the day after the first Covid-19 patient in Sri Lanka was reported. I remember that day exactly because it was our class teacher’s birthday. Our teacher got many telephone calls from parents. It was unusual for them to call during school hours. First, we thought they had all called just to wish her a happy birthday.

Later, we learnt that they had telephoned to inform about the rumour on school closure and wanted us to bring all books home. Finally, we got the official announcement that the schools were closed indefinitely. We went home very happily!

Monopoly and Scrabble

Thereafter, our country was placed under police curfew and all offices, shops, supermarkets and restaurants were closed and nobody could go out. We were lucky as we had a lot of food stored in our house. Both my parents were at home. I played Monopoly and Scrabble for hours with my mother and played badminton with my father in our garden.

The Government placed new health regulations. Accordingly, everyone began wearing face masks and kept a distance of one metre. Everybody washed and sanitised their hands frequently. In addition, people drank various kinds of indigenous medicines to develop their immunity.

Good experience

Then the curfew was lifted temporarily for people to buy food and other items. Our gardener came and asked to work but my mother refused because of the fear of Corona. Then only we realised that many daily wage earners had lost their jobs and life was difficult for them. Hence, we started donating food and money to needy people we knew to lighten their burden. We had virtual school lessons as the schools were closed. It was a good experience for us. We learnt a lot about modern technology by doing online studies. Nevertheless, we missed going to school, playing with our friends and all the clubs, games and sports we used to take part in.

Some students who did not have facilities for online studies failed to have a proper education. That was a great disadvantage to the society.

Corona too had its fate. Although the number of patients and deaths increased in 2021 and 2022, the numbers gradually decreased in 2023 and 2024 as everyone got the Covid-19 vaccine. Finally, after a long struggle, in 2025 we were able to eliminate the virus. What a relief that was to the world!

Now, it is the year 2050 and we have eradicated the virus from the world. We are living happily and peacefully. During those long five years, 2020 to 2025, we were worrying about the Coronavirus from morning till evening. Though it was a challenge to live during the pandemic, we also gained a lot of experience.

The main lesson I learnt was nothing is forever.

Therefore, whenever I go through a difficult time in life now, I tell myself that, “This too shall pass”!