Senegal is the place I call my home country, but it is not actually the place where I was born. 

Though I was unaware of the fact that Senegal was one of the leading countries when it came to instant responses to COVID-19, I was proud to hear this news. 

This crisis has shown us that when you band together for the better of everyone else and everyone is on the same page, good things happen and they happen fast. 

The fact that Senegal is an underdeveloped country and does not have outstanding medical innovation such as the U.S. but is still capable of outstanding results really does warm my heart. 

I am proud to be Senegalese, and proud of people like my father, Adamson Phiri, a doctor working with his team on the front lines of COVID-19 to protect everyone else. 

What’s really astonishing to me about Senegal is the way they went forward with simple measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

From shutting down major transportation to putting out a curfew and the immediate demand for masks and social distancing, Senegal is showing their quick-wittedness. They also provided low-cost, 3D-printed ventilators for hospitals and testing kits worth $1, with results within 24 hours or less. 

In Senegal, there is a saying: “Teranga.” It translates to hospitality but also includes aspects of respect, community, solidarity and sharing. People care about other people’s well-being and they do their part in making sure that everyone is safe in whatever way possible. 

This is a great example of how Senegal has learned from previous health emergencies, such as Ebola. They learned that acting fast and being prompt with guidelines on what to do to prevent and protect the people helped to better deal with outbreaks. 

“Communication is key,” is a very well known saying, and a powerful one at that. 

The president, Macki Sall, and his health minister, Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, made sure to be crystal clear and transparent with the process that the country was going through. 

Regular updates were issued with infection numbers as well as casualties. This is something that most other countries do not get to have but it is something really important to keep updated with – showing that you care and are doing your best to help in any way that can be helped. 

Originally, I was supposed to be back in Senegal this summer. Due to flight cancellations, I was not able to go back and this, once again, shows the strictness and seriousness of the issue and how well Senegal did to protect itself. 

I will be looking forward to the coming weeks, or months, to see how well Senegal has progressed, knowing that everything is being done to make sure that people stay healthy and are protected. 

Senegal is my home, and it puts a smile on my face knowing that everyone is doing their part to protect the homeland.

Josiah Phiri is a junior IT major from Zambia, calling Senegal his home. He loves sports, martial arts and streaming on Twitch.