Civil engineer restructures life during lockdown

Mildred Boneo photo by Jeff K Mayers -
Mildred Boneo photo by Jeff K Mayers -

Despite the negative effects of covid19, social media is overflowing with posts from people using this quiet time in an enriching way. There are posts about people now being able to spend more time with family, in the garden, building furniture and reconnecting to things they enjoy doing most. These activities seem more possible now that the typical day-to-day obligations of modern living have been slowed.

Civil engineer Mildred Boneo, 26, said while she doubts she will be able to balance her new-found activities if things return to the previous pace, she will try as best as she can to maintain the ones that have been most beneficial – especially those connected to health and wellness.

Boneo represented the Office of the Prime Minister during the final phase of the restoration of Stollmeyer’s Castle (now Castle Killarney), which was handed over to the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts in early April 2018. She monitored and oversaw the restoration process.

How are you feeling about the spread of the covid19 pandemic? Is it scary for you?

Not knowing when I will see my loved ones in person again has certainly been a challenge. I often find myself wondering about the lasting impacts of the virus on a social and economic scale even after we’re allowed to go outdoors freely.

During this time I have been able to spend a lot of time with my sister. She has been my quarantine buddy. We’ve tried new recipes together, cared for the dogs at home, revived a baby shark with the help of my older brother and battled a snake in the yard. It was a tiny snake, but nevertheless terrifying.

Constant communication with my loved ones, including my boyfriend, aunts, parents, siblings, and friends have helped curb any anxiety that existed. I am thankful for everyone who checked in and made sure we were safe.

Have you experienced a major change in your daily routine?

I work at a structural engineering/project management consultancy. Due to the restrictions imposed to control the spread of covid19 locally, the team has been working from home. Since being home, I maintain the same hours of work daily, but the major change has been not commuting to the office. Initially, adjusting to this change was a bit challenging.

Listening to music, "Work with me’" YouTube videos and work-along Zoom sessions with my boyfriend have encouraged me to stay focused for a prolonged period. At times one of my friends and I share our daily goals and track each other’s progress to keep each other accountable.

Is there anything you have been able to do now that you didn’t have the time to do before?

Before settling down for work each day, I get to spend more time tending to the garden I set up with my siblings and aunt in February. When I’m having a hard time focusing, I step outside and find relaxation in looking at the garden. Caring for the plants has also helped in reducing any stress.

During the time I would have used to get home from the office, I now exercise with my friends via Zoom calls. One of my friends has been planning routines and I appreciate the effort she makes to bring us all together to keep fit.

I have also attempted to find creative ways to stay social by leveraging the power of technology. My friends and I had a virtual games night, I hosted a pre-wedding party via Zoom and upheld my maid-of-honour duties.

Since I am balancing work and school, my schedule does not always permit attending social gatherings, so I appreciate being able to remotely interact with my friends.

Do you think you will be able to maintain some of these practices if things go back to an increased pace?

I would like to continue to work on my garden, and exercising, but with the increased pace, I may not be able to balance everything.

What do you hope others will take from this time of silence?

I hope people get some time to do the things that make them happy, reflect on their life goals and rest. I hope the patience and selflessness that I have witnessed will continue to enrich our lives.

Also, I hope the creativity, innovation and ingenuity exhibited by businesses and individuals forms part of our mindset going forward.


"Civil engineer restructures life during lockdown"

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