Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not His benefits. – Psalm 103:2

Abraham named the place Jehovah-Jireh (which means “the LORD will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” Genesis 22:14

It is that time of year again when a round-up of the good, the sad, the bad, and the down-right ugly is paraded. If the year 2020 was just way too much, the year 2021 was exhaustingly challenging. However, behind all that rain, gloom, and absolutely wretched eruptions, there was a lot that was good and for which to be grateful. Since this is the season to be jolly, the list of the cartful of things to be grateful for will be discussed first.

Starting with the good things does not in any way diminish the pain of 2021. But storing up all the goodness will strengthen some for the list to come. There were great things that took place globally, regionally, and locally, that still make people sigh that in spite of all the gloom, there is hope.

On the global arena, people sighed a heavy sigh of relief seeing US President inaugurated as the 45th president and celebrated his steering the US and the world in easier waters in the face of a global pandemic. German Chancellor Angela Merkel stepped down after a highly successful 16-year rule of Germany. Scientists in the fight against the global pandemic Covid-19 introduced booster shots and there are trials for treatment, that has lessened the death knell.

Here is a list of some 14 of the good things that may have been shrouded by the sad, bad, and uglies: 1. The US federal agency, FDA approved a Pfizer antiviral pill to treat COVID-19; the news on Tuesday was followed by President Biden ordering the company to manufacture 10 million. 2. Half of the global population has been fully vaccinated. 3. Medical scientists are killing off other big bad diseases at a fast pace. 4. Big corporations will now be taxed, thanks to a G20 agreement. 5. Seven million people, due to the pandemic, decision to quit their jobs, has led to corporations increasing pay packages for those that are still on the job market. 6. The US is back on the global stage, cleaning up its act locally and passing pro-people laws in Congress and by Executive Orders of the Joe Biden Administration and thanks to two senator Democrats from Georgia.

7. China planted 1.5 billion trees and eliminated malaria in the country. Drones are also working in Africa, spraying anti-malaria chemicals. 8. Many animal species were taken off the endangered list, a sign that humans are not preying on such animals as the panda bears. 9. Due to all the chatter at Climate Change forums, coal is finally being sooted out of the energy limelight; with a G7 promise not to fund the coal industry. 10. There is no more leaded gasoline (petrol), which saves the world from millions of deaths annually. 10. Electric vehicle use is on the rise all over the world. 11. The US survived its first major coup plot on January 6, 2021, engineered by a third-world type tyrant sitting president that wanted to remain in power. 12. Trump lost his Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook accounts, ending his backdoor tyranny of holding on to the power-grab on the American population. 13. The Black Lives Matter movement had some major wins in the US. 14. Australia survived its worst fire, and so did California.

Regionally, Tanzania has a new president, the continent’s third female head of state. South Africa added its scientific prowess onto the global platform when it announced its scientists’ discovery of the Omicron variant. The reaction (a downright ugly) of the travel ban to southern African countries, has inherently led to closer brotherhood among African leaders. Hooray! Are we becoming THUGs after all? (THUG is an acronym for The Hate U Give – a song by celebrated Tupa Shakur).

For Malawi, the government in January 2021 launched the Vision 2063 (Malawi Growth and Development Strategy – MGDS) that aims at transforming the country into a wealthy and self-reliant industrialized power. President Chakwera became the fourth Malawian head of state to be elected to the SADC chairpersonship. Malawians also continued to receive their COVID-19 vaccination shots, with many following WHO COVID-19 guidelines. Earlier in the year, Malawi received the first batch of vaccines. One million Malawians have been vaccinated, with 600,000 being fully vaccinated.

While the president did not attend the 2021 UN General Assembly Summit in person, he attended the Climate Change Summit in Scotland; he took along with him Malawi’s firebrand Natural Resources Minister Nancy Tembo, local authority leaders such as Paramount Chief Gomani and others, adding Malawi’s voice to the Summit. In other political news, Malawians this past November elected to parliament Overtone Kondowe, the first MP with albinism.

Two days before the Christmas break, the President in an attempt to throw stimulus to strategic parts of the  Malawi economy launched the comprehensive Covid-19 Socio-Economic Recovery Plan (SERP). Apart from being great for the economy, creating jobs, calling for every sector and citizens to join in on the government motivation, it comes with a hefty half a trillion Kwacha price tag. President Chakwera unveiled the 75-page plan and said that all Malawians “have a role to play in making this a success.”

Personally, there were many things that happened in my life, for which I am grateful. Among these, I am grateful for having continued to enjoy space in The  Nation for this column, I authored a number of books including five children’s books (Grandma’s Garden, Numbers In Our Hilltop House, The Purple Flying Turtle, and A Girl Called Gaborone – Exceptional, Gifted, Savant!) and a non-Fiction books (Intergovernmental Leadership – A Seat at the UN Table). I am also grateful for having achieved flying colors in my special education course.

Despite the doom and gloom caused by Covid, there is a lot that we can be grateful for the year 2021. Next week, we will look at the sad, bad, and the down-right ugly 2021.

Merry Christmas!

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