“From now when you look back, I can see that there are a lot of things that have changed. Our lifestyle and the way we do things'', Anna Maesioa recalls.

Anna is the General Manager of United Risk Services Limited. A company of insurance brokers and risk consultants that arrange insurance covers for their client groups that includes corporate, state owned enterprises, commercial, small to medium business enterprises, personal and domestic.

As all other businesses, United Risk has also had its challenges in the past year especially with domestic clients finding it difficult to make payments for their covers. Despite the challenges, the business was able to stay afloat during the pandemic.

Apart from trying to keep the business afloat, there were the life’s challenges that are the most stressful.

“My husband is in Brisbane at the moment. He left this year to go back to Australia for his annual health checks”, Anna says.

In the corporate world, being able, fit and healthy are part of the package. Since 2020 however, Anna and her husband were not able to travel together overseas for their usual trips. She says even for such an important issue such as health, the travel restrictions are not appealing at all.

“28 days in quarantine is just too much”, Anna says. She says it is just impossible for her to leave the business for such a long time.

She says in addition, administrative work for such a trip is also quite tedious.

“I think having access to the right information and direction would be the biggest challenge for me during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no clear direction in where we need to go for COVID-19 tests for example.

"We know we have to take COVID-19 tests before leaving the country but we do not really know where to go to get our tests. We had to do a lot of running around before we were able to get to the right place. Information was there but not really specific. When you have a business to look after, this takes up so much time”, Anna says.

But Anna says there were also some positive gains from the pandemic.

“It has made us accept modern technology. Not all of us are good with technology and digital stuff. But with COVID-19, we are forced to learn and adapt using the digital sphere for communication and also to do our work. In addition to modern technology, it has also made us go back to the way things were. Now we engage more in subsistence agriculture”, Anna says.

She says reflecting on the COVID-19 one year on, it has provided an avenue for her to pause and readjust herself and her lifestyle.

“I have my own garden at home. In some evenings, it is my favorite spot to just sit and unwind after a hard day at work”.

It was in March 2020 that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a health pandemic. For Solomon Islands, 25 March 2020 was when the Governor General made the first State of Public Emergency declaration on the COVID-19 pandemic.