An Inside Look Into The Lives of an Essential Worker Family During Quarantine

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Published May 18, 2020
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The Montclarion
Sam Wathobio (left), Bernice Ndegwa, Alex Ndegwa and Betty Wachira (right). Photo courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa Photo credit: Bernice Ndegwa

Families around the world have been forced into a stay-at-home quarantine due to the COVID-19 outbreak. For this suburban New Jersey family, things have stayed intact even when the world seems to have come to a complete stop.

Unlike most families, both guardians in the household have been deemed as essential workers. Betty Wachira, mother to Bernice Ndegwa and Alex Ndegwa, is a nurse in a local group home. Her husband, Sam Wathobio, is a maintenance supervisor.

Wachira expressed how she felt about working under the circumstances.

“I am very grateful to keep my job during this outbreak,” Wachira said. “As much as it scares me leaving the house every day, it also allows me to keep my routine.”

Bernice Ndegwa, a Montclair State University freshman pre-major, photographed a week with her family as they battled through their second month in quarantine.

May 3

Sam catching up with friends on the phone Photo Courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

Sam Wathobio catches up with friends on the phone.
Photo courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

 

May 4

Alex frustrated with his schoolwork. Photo Courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

Alex Ndegwa is frustrated with his online schoolwork.
Photo courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

 

Alex after a tough day of online work. Photo Courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

Alex Ndegwa exercises after a long day of online learning.
Photo courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

 

Betty catching up on some news before going in for her nightshift Photo Courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

Betty Wachira catches up on the news before going in for her nightshift.
Photo courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

 

May 5

Wachira washes the new groceries from the store to ensure that they are safe for consumption. Photo Courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

Betty Wachira washes the groceries from the store to ensure that they are clean and safe to eat.
Photo courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

 

Bernice on a Zoom calls with her friends. Photo Courtesy of Matt Murray

To practice social distancing, Bernice Ndegwa
hangs out with her friends on Zoom calls.
Photo courtesy of Matt Murray

 

Sam doing some yard work Photo Courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

Sam Wathobio does some yard work.
Photo courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

 

May 6

Between Zoom calls and Facetimes, this is where you will find Bernice. Photo Courtesy of Betty Wachira

Between Zoom and FaceTime calls, Bernice Ndegwa spends most of the day in her room.
Photo courtesy of Betty Wachira

 

Bernice on a Facetime call with her best friend Michelle Pastuna Photo Courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

Bernice Ndegwa on a FaceTime call with her best friend, Michelle Pastuna.
Photo courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

 

May 7

Bernice wearing gloves while handling that day’s mail. Photo Courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

Bernice Ndegwa wears gloves while handling the mail.
Photo courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

 

May 8

Bernice doing chores while her mother is at work. Photo Courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

Bernice Ndegwa does chores around the house while her mother is at work.
Photo courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

 

Betty and her daughter Bernice passing the time by making fresh empanadas. Photo Courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

Betty Wachira and Bernice Ndegwa pass the time by making fresh empanadas.
Photo courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

 

May 9

Betty prepping samosas so she is still able to make breakfast for her family without it impacting her schedule Photo Courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

Betty Wachira prepares samosas for her family’s breakfast so it won’t impact her schedule.
Photo courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

 

May 10

Betty and Sam during their online church service Mother’s Day morning Photo Courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

Betty Wachira and Sam Wathobio attend a virtual church service on Mother’s Day morning.
Photo courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

 

Every day after work Sam goes out to the garden and makes sure everything is in order. Photo Courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

Every day after work, Sam Wathobio goes out to the garden and makes sure everything is in order. Photo courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

 

Betty out on a Home Depot run looking at some flowers. Photo by Bernice Ndegwa

Wearing a mask, Betty Wachira ventures out to The Home Depot looking for flowers.
Photo by Bernice Ndegwa

 

For Mother’s Day dinner, the Ndegwas enjoyed some ribs prepared by Sam Photo Courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

For Mother’s Day dinner, the family enjoyed ribs prepared by Sam Wathobio.
Photo courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

 

Bernice studying for her final the next day. Photo Courtesy of Betty Wachira

Bernice Ndegwa studies for a final exam.
Photo courtesy of Betty Wachira

 

At the end of the week, the Ndegwas sat outside drinking tea, telling stories, and laughing. Photo Courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa

At the end of the week, Bernice Ndegwa and her family sit outside drinking tea, telling stories and laughing.
Photo courtesy of Bernice Ndegwa Photo credit: Bernice Ndegwa

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