COVID-19 Creates a More Illiterate Society

The goal of literacy is an integral component of any human, but COVID-19 forced children to learn in a different way. As a result, literacy fell like a house of cards, with millions of children unable to pass basic reading tests. Many schools closed or had partial closures due to the Coronavirus. This prevented children from attending school. According to a research article, “100 million more children fail basic reading skills because of COVID-19,” written by the United Nations News, “460 million children [experienced] reading difficulties, [now] that number jumped to 584 million” (100 million more children fail basic reading skills because of COVID-19 2021). An interview with Robert Jenkins, Director of Education at the UN’s Children Fund stated the fact that before the pandemic “53 percent of 10-year-olds living in low and middle-income countries were not sufficiently or effectively reading and did not meet the minimum standards of foundational literacy and numeracy. That is estimated to be going up to 70 percent” (Interview: As millions fall behind, how can we bridge the growing education gap? 2022). Children from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Central and Southern Asia suffered from the consequences.

To reiterate, most of the Covid-19 generation are incapable of reading or writing a simple sentence. One study from the anti-poverty One Campaign indicates that “11.5 million children could be unable to read as a direct result of the impact on education of the Covid pandemic” (Ahmed 2021). This is at least a 20% increase in the number of children failing the minimum reading level. This wiped out 20 years of education gains, according to the UN Cultural Agency. The campaign claimed that even with schools running smoothly in Sub-Saharan Africa, 20 million girls would not return to school. Many poor children were unable to access online schooling because they lacked the technology. In addition to education losses, children also suffer physical and mental health problems, as well as nutritional deficiencies. Children no longer have access to the foods and supports they received in school.

Coronavirus affects students all over the world, so many are unable to read. Reading is the most crucial aspect of achieving success. It helps anyone find jobs, learn more information about something, make money, etc. Education is crucial to living a happy life. There is a common saying, “knowledge is power” by Thomas Hobbes. It means that not even the strongest or mightiest person could defeat a man or woman with such knowledge. My knowledge has always been spoon-fed to me by my teachers and parents, and most of the time I don’t pay attention to what I learn. In retrospect, it has long been clear to me that people have difficulty getting an education in any form.

Even though children are illiterate by age ten and above, it doesn’t matter when you can read. It matters what you can do with the knowledge gained from education. I deeply value the knowledge I’ve gained and I’m willing to share it with those in need. Millions of kids not being able to comprehend a simple sentence at the age of ten is an unforgettable thought. There will be no erasure of this traumatic experience. I believe that no matter the gender, caste, race, or ethnicity, children should always have access to knowledge. If we do not act soon, the younger generation will never understand words on a single page. Those who were able to attend schools and access technology are among the luckiest people because they can pursue their passions. With knowledge, anyone can do anything.

Keel-Billed Toucan

Taken at Curi Cancha Reserve

Also known as the “rainbow” toucan, this giant beaked bird is one of the comeliest birds on the planet. The paradise bird has four different colors on its beak, causing it unmistakable to identify. The beauty of this precious bird and its call don’t unite together. It’s like a frog croaking that has a dry throat. This pterodactyl is common in Costa Rica, although its population is decreasing. This Rainbow Toucan was on top of the bare tree singing its so-called angelic song to find its mate. This flying banana has a beak one-third of its body! This toucan chilled for some time and sang with its heart out. It flew away after a few minutes, and it was breathtaking each moment of it. I took a few snaps before it took off, and I was grateful it stood around for a few poses!

Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth

This mythical creature dwells in the pristine and disturbed forests of Central and South America. This shy furball is a nocturnal mammal that munches on its favorite tree called the Cecropia. The critter may seem like a harmless soul, but it is an aggressive living entity that can do some grave damage with its claws. The second laziest and the world’s slowest, the sloth is yet a relative to anteaters and armadillos. In Costa Rica, these beings are outnumbered by the three-toed sloths four to one. The elusive Harpy eagles thrive on these innocent sloths, but due to habitat destruction, the Harpy eagles are critically endangered. The wet rag spends up to twenty hours dozing in the viridescent forest. We shall leave it in peace.

Hoffmann’s Two-Toed Sloth taken in Costa Rica

Fruitless Labor

Fruitless Labor 

By Doglover

The cuddly careful courageous cunning bear

Suddenly gave this nasty glare

His mouth was a waterfall when he looked at the elk

Waiting when the elk will yelp

He silently waited in the bushes

When he popped out of the bushes, all I saw was a huge furry potato

He whipped out his claws, and it all went out into a flow

He caught the elk between his waterfall mouth and ran into the willow

Battered and bruised, killing the elk cost him an arm and a leg

And he headed south to his bear friends

He sat on the dinner table and he munched on the velvet skin of the elk

In fact, the bear bit off more than he could chew

He sang to his bear friends and mumbled to the dead elk

The bear closed its eyes as he imagined more food when he took each bite

Only to find out the dinner had jumped out of his sight

He stood up and looked where the elk had gone

Only to find out that his bear friends were really some cons

The cuddly careful courageous cunning bear

Turned into a raging radical reckless bear 

Behind the woozy and poofy and droopy hair was really a demonic bear

He was aghast alert aggrieved 

His stomps and grunts shook the entire world

But the stomps and grunts can’t do anything 

As he’ll always be starved 

Tried to accomplish stuff but life is tough

Mental Health

April 27, 2021

Dear beautiful creations of planet earth,

Did you know this month is Mental Health Awareness Month? According to BBC.com, just about “one in four young women had a mental health illness”. Imagine feeling forlorn and feeling left out and feeling like no one will help you. You feel like your world is falling apart without anyone to support it. It’s important to learn about these mental illnesses before it’s too late. There has been an increase in depression, self-harm, behavioral issues, and more because of the implications of quarantine: not being able to go outside and communicate with people. Many people don’t think of an unbalanced mindset as a deliberate problem, but as a matter of fact, it is.

First and foremost, several people misunderstand brain illnesses, including myself. Teen and kids generally don’t perceive how these issues work; there are too many to distinguish and deal with. Some of the typical afflictions include Schizophrenia: a mental disorder with symptoms such as hallucinations and chaotic thinking; Bipolar: switching moods in a matter of seconds; Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): obsessed to keep everything ‘perfect’ and overthinking. There’s an excessive amount of disorders to comprehend. People don’t know what it’s like when your brain goes haywire like a short-circuited computer.

Because of this, people that need assistance don’t know how to cope with their thoughts. This causes a risk of suicide. As reported by CDC.com, suicide is the tenth most common cause of mortality. One hundred thirty-two Americans have committed suicide. Suicide has increased for the past eleven years, and we need to terminate it. Countless amount of groups, such as The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention strive to save as many people as they can.

Consequently, mental disorders, like depression, are becoming more frequent. Each day, people get thoughts that overpower their minds. The aggregate of mental illnesses skyrocketed, especially for teens and young adults, during the pandemic. Since they can’t do any activities to keep their minds off from disturbing thoughts due to the coronavirus, their negative thoughts are more superior to the rest. It’s like pushing the beachball (disturbing thoughts) into the ocean (mind) and trying to make it sink and vanish, but it’s impossible.

To keep these innocent, young people from abusing themselves, we need to learn about all the diverse types of brain illnesses. We should create educational programs for future generations and their parents so they can comprehend how to not get themselves trapped in their minds. It’s time to put the brakes on this and focus on succoring the humans we’ve created instead of creating more. People are not recyclable; they’re living things with their unique mindset.

With all one’s genuine heart,

Me

A Texas Winter Like Never Before

I took my phone to check the weather for the next day, February 15th, 2021. The weather app gave a snow storm warning and had a 100% chance of snow on Monday. I was obliterated by the shocking fact of snow IN TEXAS. The last time there was a snowstorm in Texas that was severe happened in 1989! All night I had twisted and turned in my bed longing for the sun to rise.

As soon as my Google mini alarm clock rang, I got up faster than the speed of light and rushed to my window to see the snow. I was speechless. The blanket of snow made Texas have a true winter. I quickly brushed my teeth and put on my maroon, cozy hoodie and a teal winter coat that I’ve never used, and rushed out into Bob Ross’s art. The most beautiful form of water was laid out onto the side-walk, roofs, dead grass, and everywhere else where the sun touches the ground. The crisp snow underneath my cold shoes gave a surreal feeling like I’m not in Texas. My mom was out with me and we tried to make a snowman like Olaf. It looked like the deformed version of the Grinch. Can it get much worse than that? Apparently, there was a massive power outage that took over most of Texas leaving more than four million people without power. Unfortunately, our power left my family at 8:00 in the morning.

Blanket of snow
Me making a snow Angel

Instead of whining for no power, I went out and made a snow angel for the first time. Ironically, I didn’t expect it to look like an actual angel! I hurried back inside to have breakfast. My go-to meal was milk with Nesquik chocolate powder. After I finished my chocolate milk, my mom put on proper winter clothing and we decided to go for a walk on the white, frigid blanket. When I stepped out of the home, tons of birds were eating from my bird feeder. My mom and I walked cautiously to not disturb the birds. We started our walk around the block and felt the snow underneath us every step of the way. The snow crackled and made these abnormal sounds.

Northern Cardinal
Goldfinch

Near the end of the block, out of the blue, were three birds that looked like they came out of a rock concert. They had “mascara”, “Mohawks”, and they looked so colorful. The black eyeliner on the bird made it look elegant and exquisite, while the crest on its head looks wild and savage. The tint of the blue, yellow, and vibrant red looks like it popped out of Picasso’s art. It was called a Cedar Waxwing and they were probably the most angelic bird I’ve ever seen in my 13 years of life. I filmed them with shaky hands from awe and joy. After a few minutes of being awestruck, I ran to get a better quality camera, the Nikon camera, but when I came back they were gone. I came back home and my mom decided to go for another round of walking to see if I can capture a picture of the waxwings. Suddenly, I saw more Cedar Waxwings on a crystal, clear puddle on the concrete road drinking water. I took a picture with a push of a button, but the snow that surrounded the water and the birds reflected the light from the sun causing the picture to look white. They flew away after a quick sip and I watched them go to a tree on the opposite side of the street. I took a few pictures here and there and quickly crossed the road with my mom. Sadly, the birds flew away due to a threat of a potential predator(me and my mom). On the flip side, I did get some pretty great shots and saw these new funky birds.

Cedar waxwing
Video of cedar Waxwing

In the evening, I had to set up romantic fake candle lights to brighten up the home, since there was no power. We had NO WIFI, which was a nightmare, but we did do some “family bonding”, and thankfully the fireplace was working. We had plenty of food, and our stove was a gas stove, so making food wasn’t a problem. My parents slept in the living room while I slept in my room. The day next was similar with a little bit of melted snow, but it was worse because the house was cold as a fridge and there was no WiFi. We would go to Whole Foods occasionally and connect to their WiFi and see the news. We spent another 24 hours without power until at 3:25 AM when the power came back on. We had 43 hours without power.

I was overjoyed but I felt like exploding like a volcano because our water pipe burst and left us without water. The plumber came on Wednesday and fixed the pipe what turned out to be a sprinkler pipe. During these times, I learned that snow can bring us happiness but also danger. The most important thing I learned though is, Texas CANNOT handle two inches of snow.

Hawk vs Squirrel- 1/16/2021

Let’s just say that the squirrel wasn’t even close to winning…

I was slightly awake until my mom screamed at me that THERE’S A HAWK THAT KILLED THE SQUIRREL THAT WAS CHILLING ON OUR FRONT PORCH. I leaped out of my bed like a frog and rushed to the window without my contacts and squinted to find the hawk that strangled the defenseless squirrel. I almost exploded from deep anger because I couldn’t see where the hawk was until my mom zoomed in on her phone to show me. I went lightning speed to put on my contacts and I came back out. In a much clearer vision, I saw how the Cooper’s Hawk’s talons were right on top of the Eastern Gray Squirrel’s head like it wanted to pop its eyeballs out. The hawk then wobbled over like a penguin to a ‘secret location'(our front porch) and proceeded to rip it’s guts out of the squirrel revealing the blood, clots, and intestines. Right then my mom was out. Gone like the wind unlike me who was watching very intently. Did I mention that my mom lost her appetite? It was the same way I watch whenever I look at a BBC documentary or a National Geographic documentary. Eyes open and my connection to the world is gone. It’s like the feeling whenever I switch from transparency to noise cancelation mode on my AirPod Pro. I grab my Nikon camera and imagine that I’m filming a documentary for BBC and David Attenborough narrated it. The hawk was pretty cautious and very aware of its surroundings. One sound and its head was up scanning the area. After 20 minutes of gore and slaughter, the Blue Jays came to shoo away the hawk from their territory. First, one Blue Jay came and then another. After the hawk saw that he grabbed the squirrel by the neck, heaved the squirrel, and he launched out of the bushes and into the trees across the street. Seconds and not even minutes after the hawk went, Northern Cardinals, Northern Mockingbirds, Blue Jays, Chickadees, and more rushed to eat the seeds that they have been waiting patiently for. It was like nothing even happened. Now I see why these birds are omnivores and not carnivores. Couple of hours later, a squirrel came and sniffed at the same spot where the hawk was eating the other squirrel. I felt a remorse and was quite forlorn at the sight of this. That’s when it hit me. I was pretty inarticulate when I realized that was the squirrel’s partner. Now the partner was gone. Vanished. Into thin air. But this is nature. They will all eventually forget and also die. Nothing is meant to last long in this world. Only the one and only Mother Nature.

A feast for thy hawk. This is for mobile viewers

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1q4NcQCIMTNKQYcEr1GgjmguFs6ehEvgH/view?usp=drivesdk This is the link for viewers on a computer.