The whole world is now affected by coronavirus.
Physically, we need to stay separate and apart as never before in modern times. Mentally, however, the situation brings us together in a common effort to handle and control the contamination.
Here are 200 words from around the world.
We have received texts from the countries marked with red. Further testimonies will be added continuously.
Usually this part of the year we have big preparations for upcoming summer season. But this one will be a bit different. As the virus is a big travel nomad, it found us on map (like everyone in the world) and Croatia is isolated in last month. Situation at the moment is hard and patience will be just one solution to beat pandemic.
We have to accept this life challenge like reality and go together through this hard life moments.
Last week black scenario about business future started affects my night dreams but somehow it disappeared very quickly.
Some positive vibes found me and all those canceled bookings I forgot at all (upcoming summer).
Common time with family and big faith don’t allow me to give up with all ideas for business future. We are conscious next winter will be sooo long. But, as the nation who passed 1991.-1995. war time, this small country know how to beat all life challenges (TOGETHER).
God bless all world doctors and everyone who is sacrificed to be on service in those hard world moments and we believe this will finish as soon as possible.
Alhassan Abdul – Ganiyu
COVID 19 has threatened our existence and challenged the things we normally do as civil society organizations. I have the fear that should the pandemic extend to the end of the year, and if we continue to work from home, many jobs might be lost in my sector. We have to justify our existence as civil society organizations. This terrifies me!
This calls to action, the enactment of new policies to protect vulnerable workers in terrible times like this.
To work from home was to be a relief for some of us, I thought. But it was not! Home is home and not an office. I feel women in civil society organizations will be more burdened during this period especially having to juggle between domestic chores and work. Painfully also, our movements are restricted and family relations can not visit.
My daily routine has now been to first work on one of my tasks, attend virtual meetings, then play lego or tantrix and do the chores with my family (wife and three children), put them away to watch cartoons while I get back to work. We all take a nap; they get to read or listen to a story. Sometimes we do tree climbing and play football outside our compound.
It can seem as if it is very important that I worry about Corona, otherwise I’m not a responsible human being. However, that makes it difficult for me to se that, the Corona that really worries me, is the one in my own thoughts.
The power of thought works like an x-ray recording of someone injecting contrast into the veins. It starts slowly, but all of a sudden the contrast shoots into alle the different branches of my veins, round the entire body. It works fast, and so do imagination.
What if…., then I’d have to…., and then…?
I can’t find a solution to worried thoughts about the future, because they can only tell me about what I think and feel in the moment. I’m missing an important piece.
The american psychologist Keith Blevens says; “ The future is an incomplete equation.”.
An X-factor is missing. That is; the help and the people I haven’t met yet, the thoughts and ideas I haven’t had yet, The situations I ACTUALLY will meet, and the state of mind and resilience I will meet the situations with.
It is easier for us to navigate Corona in reality, in the present. Not great, in this instance, but a lot easier.
Every day a press conference is live broadcasted, where the national commissioner of Police, the Chief Epidemiologist and the Director of Health play the principal parts. They are excellent at informing the population, telling people how to act and providing guidelines. They have become national heroes, as a matter of fact.
The corona virus has naturally had an impact on every Icelanders‘ life. My wife and I are elderly and are therefore part of the population at risk. We have very little contact with other people, but we go for a walk an hour every day. So many people have begun to go for walks around here, that there is a considerable amount of traffic on the walking paths. Therefore, we often go to the outskirts of Reykjavik, where there‘s hardly anybody.
Our son-in-law came home from abroad and had to spend two weeks in quarantine. So he is home by himself, and in the meantime our daughter is staying with us and our two granddaugthers are at their cousin‘s. This is the case for many people here.
The television and radio have changed their schedule to entertain people. For example there is a program every morning for kids between 10 and 16 years of age. It‘s a mix of fun and education for those who are at home.
The Minister of Education is encouraging people to read and a designated website ‚Time to read‘ has been made. Here people can log what they are reading and for how long. The goal is to beat the world record in reading.
A specific app for tracking of infection has been launched, inorder to find out who is in contact with whom, hopefully to find out how the people are infected with the virus.
Apart from that there is very little travel. We have all been encouraged to stay home during Easter and are all waiting for the epidemic to peak in a week.
Only two international planes a day with Icelandar to London and Boston, and I have noticed that Greelandair touch down around noon with two turbopropeller De Havilland aircrafts from Nuuk in Greenland and Copenhagen in Denmark. It seems to be the only connection with Greenland.
Anna Olivia DeYoung
We live under curfew from 7pm to 5am and all travels in and out of Nairobi and other hotspots in the country are banned. The airspace, borders, together with institutions and government officials closed down and people have been advised to self-isolate where possible.
Two weeks ago I had the privilege of isolating with my friends down the road from the Danish ambassador. We get groceries delivered, study online in the sun and practice yoga daily. That is a privilege that most people do not have.
Since the measures were introduced, it has been marred with fears of a humanitarian crisis, evidenced by several accounts of police brutality and excessive use of force. The reluctance of many to abide by the measures introduced by the governments should not be understood as arbitrary defiance. Rather, the reality for many people here is that self-isolation is a luxury that few can afford. The informal sector accounts for 83.6% of total employment. A lot of people within this sector are reliant on their day-to-day income in order to survive.
When people talk about being in solidarity during this pandemic, I think that they forget that our realities differ and are not the same, even within national borders.
As I am waiting outside the apartment, two men meet on the street in front of me. They greet each other shaking hands. One of them catches my eye, smiles and yells ’mafi corona’. No corona here. I smile and shrug my shoulders, thinking it is far from true, but my limited Arabic does not stand a chance.
It is ten to six. It is the daily commute between the office at work and the office at home. The government has imposed a curfew at 6pm on weekdays and 12pm on weekends with substantial repercussions if not respected. Currently, this is the prime motivation for remembering which day of the week it is.
Whether it is the kitchen, the bedroom or dining room, all are now part of the workplace. Post-it’s on the bedroom wall and half-finished notes are everywhere. In Syria, Covid19 has so far mostly been evident in long working days becoming longer, while we hope for the best and plan for the worst.
From time to time, I dig holes in the garden and place in mandarins without no other purpose besides giving me a brief interruption from emails and meetings. However, as time passes everything flows together. Yesterday, I discussed unemployment assistance and hygiene support over skype while chopping a broken pomelo into pieces and burying it with soil.
One week after prime-minister Mette Frederiksen closed down Denmark, our first child, Sebastian, was born. The birth took place at Copenhagen University Hospital under the care of some extremely competent midwifes, and we were so very grateful that we were admitted before the health sector was put under unbearable pressure. The first few days after the birth, we lived in a bubble of happiness and love for our new son and the world could have ended without us even noticing. But as the days went by and there were no visits from friends and family, we really missed presenting our new-born son and not getting any congratulations in the form of hugs and kisses. It is so strange to have one of the greatest experiences of one’s life and be alone with is. Not sharing it with family and friends. The picture shows a brief visit from the grandparents who saw their new grandson at a distance of two meters and for less than 15 minutes. Our family will probably get through the crisis and still have our good health and our jobs, and then we will have to catch up on a lot hugs and kisses. Until then, we give our son a great many extra kisses to make up for all the visits he is missing out on.
Miami Beach, USA
Elisabet Leibølle Fountain
We run a very active, international church in Miami Beach, the only to still hand out food (after the virus shut the city down), donated to us from the local health food shop, for people in need. We make sure the number of volunteers are below the ten, as stipulated by the government, while there is little social distancing among hundreds waiting outside. In the US, the financial plague is almost as frightening as the virus we are trying to hide from. In the long line outside the church kitchen, homeless people stand shoulder to shoulder with illegal immigrants and housewives and all of them prioritize their empty stomachs rather than the invisible virus ...
For employees and volunteers alike, there is no rest in sight. We try to check in with our approximately 400 churchgoers, which are more like a great big family far away from our native countries. Who has become unemployed? Who is sick? Who is unable to pay rent? Our services stream on Facebook, our meetings take place on Zoom, and our telephones transmit a steady stream of needs, concerns and prayers for all.
I lean back, bathed in the sun on a beautiful day off in Miami and warmed by the care and consideration that mark this new reality. We cherish life and cherish each other more than ever before.
It began as a distant and irrelevant news story from Asia. Now, several months later, we have a new corona death in Spain every time 100 seconds pass – round the clock.
White bio suits enter the house next door to pick someone up. Our ice rink has been converted into a morgue. And we hear of new distant lands where this invisible ghost begins to wreak havoc. This time around, the news is far more relevant.
Inside our apartment, we initiated the state of emergency with a curfew meant as long weekend, which turned into a small vacation. It was quite cosy. When our soft clothes had been washed for the fourth or fifth time, our everyday had to be restructed a tad more. Now with a subscription for language courses at home, accessed through an app, and another app for learning how to play the guitar, which had been collecting dust for years. The crisis creates new rhythms.
At the time of writing, it is the 18th day with a curfew. The long weekend appears to be turning into house arrest. Neighbours have been stopped by the police and asked to state the purpose of their walk and where they live. When I walked the dogs earlier, five different police cars passed by.
The situation is coming to a head ...
I’ve been home since three weeks. Even during the summer I have never taken so many vacation days all together and spending the days is not a simple exercise. I said to myself ’Come on, there are many things that you have postponed for lack of time and now you have that time!’. So I painted all the walls, I arranged the garden, moved furnitures, fixed the warehouse, I thought.
Yes, because the hardest and most painful job has been to think, trying to imagine what the world will be like when the emergency is over. And I have not yet been able to imagine it. Maybe we will all be better or maybe not, surely we will all be more tired.
Today I went back to work. In total safety because I am alone. 900 square meters of silent solitude for the next few days, or weeks? Nobody knows. For now I am trying to find a kind of normality, but maybe normality was the problem.
Friday, the 13th of March. Parties, markets, exhibitions cancellations happen one after another, like a domino-chain, and this time we are part of it: the wave comes closer, the tsunami arriving from Madrid is now hitting Barcelona.
Here, life happens in the streets, bars, restaurants, and plazas… where silence and emptiness now fill the space left open.
I am a potter and most of my clients come from the hospitality industry. Orders and shipments are on hold, some got cancelled and I don’t know how the future of my small business will look like. I would have loved to use this time to design new collections, try different materials and develop glazes, but I am not allowed to commute to my studio, too far from home.
I was supposed to relocate back to Belgium at the end of March, and this is on hold too. Such a surreal way of closing my chapter in Barcelona…
I keep hoping for the best and I believe that beauty and crafts will always play an important role in our lives. What if this pause allows us to appreciate the handmade cup, bowl or plate with a new perspective, after all?
It goes without saying that the corona affected everybody , for me I had the first month of work after 4 month of no assignments as a freelance and I couldn’t even find 1 day free and I refused some other jobs , in like a week jobs and travels went from postponed to cancelled and i had nothing in hand to do, but since we are all trapped in this I tried to be positive and search for alternatives, I started to document what is happening around me everyway possible , I workout online with a personal trainer, I wanted to go back to painting after 12 years and I did start painting again, I made croissant at home which was a small dream since many many years.
I dont know what I feel I try to ignore it because everything is uncertain , there is no deadline when this will be over and if you feel you will feel so bad for having no jobs , for not seeing your family who is in another city , for your 5 travel plans that got cancelled for the fear of getting infected , so for me it’s better to ignore feeling and just concentrate on being busy or direct my feelings somewhere else.
I cannot speak for the whole nation, but I will give you my point of view.
I am a military medicine student and a citizen of the Czech Republic. All schools are closed here in this time. Many people don´t work, most shops are closed, the borders are closed as well … all that because of coronavirus.
A state of emergency has been declared and we have taken many measures to prevent the spread of infection. We all have to wear cloth masks when we leave the house. People sew their own cloth masks out of what they have because there were only few not a long time ago. But now everyone has one, and who doesn´t have it, gets it from someone else. We follow the motto : „My mask protects you, your mask protects me“.
People are united in the fight against the virus. Anyone who can helps. Doctors, nurses, firemen, police, soldiers, scientists, students, volunteers… We help our seniors and sick, teachers teach their pupils online. Even politicians are pulling together, which is very rare.
You ask me what will happen tomorrow ? I dont´t know. But one thing is certain. Together we will make it.
Juan Giménez Denis
I am from Uruguay, a small country in south america, and we were one of the latest countries to have COVID - 19. In a normal day, we would go for a run, try to exercise outdoors, surrounded by nature, but, nowadays that is obviously impossible.
We are a big family of 9 members, and due to that, we are not that bored, because there are many children around all the time, so we keep busy by that most of the time.
Of course a lot of things changed, now we usually cook a lot, we play family games, and
watch tons of movies, series, etc. Apart from that, we like to help our siblings with school, trying to do exercises and stuff too, so they do not loose the habit.
I clearly believe that this is a possibility to value the fact of being outside, enjoying what nature and socialization has to offer.
My name is Darine Hamdan, and I’m 23 years old. I work as a freelance trainer for women’s rights in Amman, Jordan where I live. I want to tell a story of a solution for helping youth in a corona virus time.
The Ministry of Youth in the Middle Eastern country is trying to alleviate its citizens by issuing a competition ‘My Talent from My Home’ to encourage and alleviate talented youth and support them at the time of the corona virus. Did countries around the world think in this part? Jordan is a poor economically country, it doesn’t possess natural resources, especially after ‘4th Circle protests’ in Jordan, which chanted different slogans, among which was the chanting against dependency on the International Monetary Fund and the abolition of the income tax law. Certainly the government wasn’t expecting protest by Jordanian youth. Now that the government has truly believed in the role of youth, and seeks to support them and stand by them, especially in this difficult period that the whole world is going through. The competition includes many arts such as poetry, drawing, photography, short film, music and singing. Jordan is showing the world the importance of dealing with the corona virus, not only in terms of health, as well as psychological and educational aspects.
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a retired Canadian teacher and grandmother, mother, wife, and amateur musician.
We have been self-isolating since March 11, when our federal and provincial governments recommended we do so.
My family are musicians and artists. My son and husband (professional musicians) are not able to work and my daughter is laid off from her job in the restaurant industry. We have cancelled and postponed all planned concerts, events, and rehearsals for the foreseeable future. Of course this is financially and artistically taxing, but we have hope and faith in our medical leaders.
By far the most difficult aspect of isolation is that we are not able to see our one-year-old granddaughter, whom we adore, although we can “visit” with her via video chats. This technology has also kept us in touch with family in Australia and friends across the street.
Our little province is pulling together and we appear to be flattening the curve, although it is too soon for anything but caution. My generally optimistic nature is helping my mental health, but I still have down days. Any contact with the natural world is very helpful — the birds in my garden are telling me that spring is coming.
Katrín Ósk Einarsdóttir
My name is Katrín Ósk Einarsdóttir. I am 18 years old. I live in Reykjavík, Iceland and I am a full time student.
The virus has definitely affected the plans I had. I was supposed to have jaw surgery five days before they canceled it. Still, I am nothing but glad that the people that need medical help, can recive it.
Having school has definitely helped out during this time. It gives me something to do during the day and helps me set goals, like finishing projects or reading something. I am in quarantine with my family every day and we have been spending a lot of quality time together.
The most uncomfortable thing about this whole situation, is that nobody knows anything. We can’t make future plans or barely look forward to anything. The best we can do is wait, stay safe and hope for the best.
If only I’d been born a few months later, I wouldn’t be in isolation doing boring DIY. But I have weeded the patio – a mind-numbing activity which should only be done with the rhythmic assistance of Status Quo. But what next once you’ve finished all those jobs you never wanted to do in the first place? Read books you never got round to - War and Peace or, right now, The Plague by Daniel Defoe (free on Kindle) and its prequel, The Storm. Cheerful stuff! Yesterday heralded a new tax year (and daughter’s birthday) so I could start my 2019-2020 return. Then catalogue all my vinyl (I’ve a lot) and CDs. On wet days there’s always daytime TV. I never realised there were so many Poirots and Midsummer Murders. I recommend recording them so you can skip those depressing adverts for mobility scooters, care homes, funeral plans, will-making services or river cruises (really, right now?). On the plus side isolation means spending less (no trips to the pub). My missus is younger so she can do the shopping, although lending her my bank card was a mistake. She spent £117-85p. At least she got me a bottle of whisky - a drink to die for (or should that be for which to die as I hate ending sentences with prepositions). Cheers!
I am single and live alone.
Usually that doesn’t bother me.
I am a teacher with the youngest schoolkids and sing gospel with a lot of other gospel folks about 3 times a week. So I am often surrounded by people who likes to hug and be physically close.
So I am alone a lot but I don’t feel lonely.
But these days we are in a lockdown state. Everything but the essentials are closed down, so most people are working from home. Only the food-stores are open and everyone is asked to stay at home as much as possibile. And when it is not (when we have to go these stores) – to not get physically close to others and wash and disinfect often.
So I am more alone than ever. And the last days I have found myself feeling lonely from time to time.
When I stand on my balcony looking out on “my” street the world seems different. More void of people and noices.
But I also see a lot of caring, smiling, helping, and a strong common will to stand together - apart. I wish this lingers on when we get to the other side of this.
The age of the introverts?
My life hasn’t changed that much due to the corona-virus. I live in Copenhagen, Denmark, and had just given notice regarding my part time job as a project manager in the public sector, when the lockdown forced us all to work from home from March 12th until my last day on March 31st. Aside from that, I have been studying fulltime for my masters at the IT university since the summer of 2018, and I am now writing my Thesis. So, I was supposed to be at home alone for the next couple of months anyway. The difference is that I do not have physical access to the library, and I can’t meet my friends for lunch or coffee, as all sit-down cafés and restaurants are closed. So aside from virtual contact, I have seen two people in real life since March 12th, except for the couple of times a week when I go shopping for the essentials. I love to meditate and be introspective, and in some ways I see this period as a possibility of entering into an era of Introvert values, after decades and decades of Extrovert oppression.
It was always a little odd to be a happy failure with a strange absence of guilt for not minding having stepped out, and having ceded hard work to others in the family whilst retreating to the luxuries of a stay-at-home dad. Stay-at-home, just that. Well, now apparently it’s being a model citizen, I’m the most civic of everyone, at least in inclination. Anti-viral gold dust. Covid hates me. Boris Johnson loves me. Gosh, for now even Trump loves me.
Families are about, walking like never before, down the road, to the river, in the parks. Families blown out their door by a healthy draft of conscience, or boredom, or escapism. But lots work, harder than before, at home, huddled online, pixelated, juggling, teaching, meeting, working, adapting. Or risk their lives on the front-line. We applaud. And now I do feel guilty. Perhaps when it’s over, that will be what remains.
Five weeks ago, I left Thailand with my children. I have lived in paradise for over 10 years and, even under very unusual circumstances, always felt safe. But not now.
Leading up my departure were bad air quality, drought and Covid19. Everybody expected the outbreak to come in SE Asia. So, I packed and left my beloved husband behind to go to Europe. A few weeks later, my paradise struggles and the world is on lock down. However, I focused on being safe from the virus mainly. Never realizing another danger would erupt under the pressure of quarantine.
This morning I felt something was off, it was a bit too quiet with the kids.
I ran and caught my children giving out phone numbers and personal details to someone with a number from Sri Lanka. They ‘met’ this person in a chat of a game they played.
I read the chat, the exchanged texts with this person & I saw the photos. I’m shocked by the ease and the ruthlessness of this person approaching my children. Ultimately, this could happen at any given time. But I cannot shake the feeling that, as I allowed some more screen time than usual (due to quarantine) the predators have more screen time too….
My name is Gill Lake.
I am originally from England but now live in South West France, near Limoges. Before I retired I worked for a local council managing leisure facilities.
Spring comes early in the Haute Vienne. The first sign is ’le Grue’, the cranes flying overhead from winter in Spain or North Africa heading for their summer breeding grounds in Scandinavia. In early March the long lines of birds usually mirror the vapour trails of aircraft making their own migrations. Except this year the vapour trails have gone.
The sky is empty, the planes are grounded and so are we. The little villages of ’France Profound’ or rural France are usually quiet and empty streets are normal. On most days the shutters remain closed against the sun or the cold but now against a new enemy. The little bars and restaurants have been closed for several weeks, who knows how many of them will re-open? This is not a wealthy place, farmers will struggle to get their goods to market and tourism will be non-existent
this summer. We can only hope that by the time le grue make their
return journey in the autumn they will be joined by the vapour trails which mean life is returning to some sort of normal.
Under the Japanese law, government can “request” citizens to stay at home, not a curfew like European countries. So, at Shibuya station, normally there are huge tourist and Japanese, but these days, there are very few people. Many shops shorten their opening hours than usual. Unfortunately, some owners already decided closing restaurants, hotels etc. My company, Bulldozer ltd., is also affected by coronavirus so much, because we offer art thinking workshop for big companies.
In Japan, our economics is shrinking as other countries. However, Japan also face ultra-low birthrate and aging society in the long run. I think that current hardness is like a rehearsal for how to deal the future shrined market. People start to think what is the important and excess for them. Then, quality of life is changing. I found the connection and growth is important for me, so I start morning check in with friend, study group and body exercise with Zoom in additional to normal client meeting.
Typically, Japanese big companies are very conservative. But, this time is special. Many companies try to start remote work and they starts notice that they can change faster than they think. I feel the breath of innovation post coronavirus confusion at Japan. I try to make it bigger breath with others.
Auckland, New Zealand
Here in little New Zealand we have a minimum of 4 weeks lockdown. We are almost halfway there (without knowing what there will be). We are fortunate in New Zealand that our government cares more about people than economics (during this crisis). Unless you are a doctor, bus driver, supermarket worker (etc), you must stay at home, leaving only to get supplies, or for solitary exercise. We can no longer swim, a tiny sacrifice in a global pandemic, but one us islanders are unsettled by.
I normally work as a photographer and recipe developer, both for myself and in advertising. Now I stay home and cook for therapy. My interests in food and connection have grown in these last weeks. Afterwards, I plan to document our food journeys, to embrace sustainability, and to meet people who connect to the whenua (land).
We are the lucky ones. With good health and a roof over our heads. No doubt the underprivileged will suffer the most (as always). We may complain about being stuck at home but we have homes. When I think about people living hand-to-mouth in slums around the world it feels unbearable.
ARE WE EVER GOING TO BE NORMAL AGAIN
It started as a Chinese virus, where the world was feeling sorry for China, in less than two weeks the spread had gone to Europe. In Zimbabwe most of us were reluctant as the virus took time to be detected in Africa. From the interaction with our European colleagues, we realized the virus was coming and started educating people on prevention methods. As our country started to put protective measures we started to work from home. Life became a bit difficult trying to put an effective work station at home and developing a virtual office where we can track our work as an office.
The virus however gave an awakening call to the need to fight for good health system, which supports all citizens. The closing of boarders opened the eyes of the government to develop their hospitals and improve the health infrastructure. When we win the fight against this virus we shall need a strong counseling service to fight mental health issues as we have lost so much as a people to easily move on. The lives of our brothers and sister shall always haunt our memory on how we failed to protect them. The question that burden me every day is are we ever going to be normal again?
Esther Suriñach Vicente
I live in a medieval country in which corona does not only name a virus but also means crown. This virus has in fact crowned privileged families who take the test and evade fortunes in tax havens but do not foresee any investments towards science nor the wellbeing of the subjects.
I live in a country that applied budget cuts in health and social rights, and does not listen to the experts’ opinion.
I live in a country that discusses regional competition and closure of regions, but it does not protect citizens when it’s the time to do so. We feel abandoned in terms of health and economics, but luckily I also live in a country where the ordinary people are used save themselves, using solidarity and imagination. At home, we do not fear the disease or the worldwide failure of the stock markets. Only injustice and the incompetence of our politicians make us suffer. This, and how little we will learn from this.
Our whole trust lays in our professional workers (doctors, healthcare professionals, researchers) and our years of experience on overcoming hardship with courage and love.
This self isolation is harder for us than from nordic people because we miss family more than ever and we look at the silent bars, hoping we can go back and stay until the morning comes and celebrate life and happiness.
Marie Østergaard Lenler
I was on exchange in the South American country Uruguay when Denmark my home country shut down because of Corona. I got a million texts from friends and family back home, but the Coronavirus wasn’t yet a reality in Uruguay. That was until March 13th when the first cases occurred. I remember so clearly that I sat with my Uruguayan family and watched the new government explaining the shutdown of the borders and airports. My worst fear was a few days later confirmed - I was going home. I had 24 hours to pack my life down in two small suitcases.
In the airport I met two old ladies from New Zealand that after giving me a mask and some homemade hand sanitizer told me this was their 3rd attempt to get home. I, unlike many others made it to my family who live in California. But now it has been three weeks since I left my life in Uruguay behind and I still can’t process it completely. My life now consists of infinite rounds of card games and long walks in the American streets that to me look like a movie set. It’s a whole new life.
I have been working from home for the past 2 weeks, I like that, but at times it becomes hard to focus. I have read about past pandemics and I can’t believe I am living one now, mainly in 2020, I thought we are over that. I am not sure how this one will end, uncertainty is always stressful and makes one dive into dark thoughts sometimes but I try to stay strong and optimistic. My wife and I are spending a lot of time together now, we work, read, cook, and chat online with family and friends. We are still safe, no cases have been reported yet in Yemen. Living in a country at war makes one expect anything to go bad actually, even death itself, yet, this virus is something else, because you can’t see it or even know if you or others are infected or not, you just wait for 14 days, hoping no symptoms will show. After 5 years of war, only 50% of Yemen’s health system is working, while 4 million people are displaced in random crowded settelments, also, water is scarce and hard to afford by many, while handwashing is considered as a luxury for millions. Hospitals here are lacking by far the capacity to respond. We are praying and hoping that we will be safe, but nothing is guaranteed.
I’m from Venezuela and the quarantine is not new for me
In 2014 we had a demonstration against the government call “Guarimbas”, we stopped entire cities almost for 3 months, because we weren’t happy with our government. The situation made us help the people who needed it more and we got to know our neighbors more, nobody was a stranger anymore. The situation of the government didn’t change, but made us realize that when the society is united, it is stronger.
Now I live in Madrid and I have had 26 days at home, I don’t have a job, I don’t know when I can get a job again, because the future is uncertain.
I try to think about the present and how can I reinvent myself, I’m sure I will survive.
What really worries me is if the whole world will learn anything about this and if they will realize how fragile we are when we don’t work together.
We have to realize that the problems from others can affect us, and we must stop looking to the other side, we live in the same world, nobody should be a stranger.
The universe sent us a message.
It hit me, when we had to call off all public events. Our Easter-festival was just about to start, so this was quite a shock! Yet we don´t know, if our world-music-festival in July can take place… At first, working from home seemed quite comfortable and productive even (I don´t have kids, which might explain the latter…), but now being forced to take some days off (you can hardly call it a „holiday“) and short term work, the uncertainty of the future makes me fragile. I can hardly control my emotional ups and downs and I ask myself everyday: „Will it ever be the same again?“ The empty streets are an unusual sight, especially during these warm and lovely spring days, and I still have to get used to wearing a mask in the supermarket… I am aware that I am lucky and privileged in many ways (being healthy, still having a job and being able to pay my rent, having the possibility to (video-)chat with my family and friends…) and I´m very grateful for that! In that sense I try to keep up a good spirit and enjoy the little things in life! Let´s stay strong in this together!
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Hi, my name is Gustavo. I’m 35 yrs. old. I’m from and live in Guatemala City. The pandemic is just beginning here, yet, it has already created some tensions in my family due to different views of how to understand it (religious vs scientific). Death is near now for some and is hard to grasp that. Besides that, we all remain (virtually) united. I work in a public health civil society institution (although I’m an economist) so we continue to work in the field trying to help some municipalities to better adapt. Contrary to most, we rather have more work and funding now, although, we are also much more exposed. I worry for our older teammates and leaders, but it’s a risk we all decided to share. On the side, and with mere friends and strangers, we are trying to create a grass-roots network of solidarity aiming to produce food in urban lands and establish a donation system to support families in the slums. I worry about this every day. Yet, I’m convinced it will hardly be enough. We, as a country, are definitively not prepared. Our governments have not helped. I hope we can see this through.
New York City, USA
“This Spring will always remind me of 9/11,” my boyfriend said, as we were zigzagging through the sidewalks and streets of our Brooklyn neighborhood. “The sky that day was so blue.”
That afternoon, we were on one of our daily walks — a reprieve from our increasingly interior lives. Strolling in the sun, with 6-feet of distance between us and other passerby, I kept vacillating between distraction and angst, and thought back to that blue sky on September 11, 2001. Nearly twenty years later, I am feeling much the same way. It has been strangely, uncharacteristically spring-like in the city, rife with fragrant magnolia trees, flowering dogwoods, and daffodils on every corner. Friends are out on their stoops. People run errands for elderly neighbors. The windows are filled with children’s hand-drawn pictures of rainbows, bearing the message ’We’re together but apart,’ while ambulances sound in the distance. New Yorkers are bred to be in close quarters, and now we orbit around each other in the street, afraid of the imperceptible disease each of us might unknowingly carry. As the news here turns from bad to worse, as more people are put on whatever ventilators are still available, as hospitals run out of face masks and gowns, as healthcare workers grow sick and rundown, as more businesses lay off workers, as more and more friends lose jobs, the spring continues on, and so do we.
Busan, South Korea
Spring is here. Cherry blossoms are blooming outside, but everything feels different this year. We received SMS alerts not to go to crowded flower viewing sites. The social distancing campaign slogan here is “Take a break from social life!”.
Korea is not in lockdown but schools have been closed since late February. The government encourages mask wearing and social distancing however bars, clubs and saunas remain open which is quite worrying.
With kids at home, I’m turning into chef, preschool teacher, parent all-in-one while trying to work from home. My kids probably exceeded recommended screen limit and I spent a good amount of time googling quick meal recipes and easy activities for kids. My husband is still going to work and he would be the grocery shopper. Once he gets home, his belongings and shopping gets sprayed with alcohol spray (better safe than sorry!)
Although kids get on my nerves, I feel blessed to be able to stay home while many of my friends and family who are in healthcare are working hard to fight this pandemic. To beat the virus, everyone needs to play their part. Pray for the world to learn from this crisis and overcome Covid-19 together!
I live in the UK and work as a freelance journalist there, but my family is from Finland. When it became clear that it might become impossible to travel abroad with many European countries closing their borders and airlines declaring bankruptcy, I made the decision to go back home, to make sure I could be there for my family if needed.
I am currently (1.4.) halfway through my quarantine and I have been trying to pitch stories for media organisations that I could work on from home. The UK government recently announced the details of their relief package for self-employed people, but I am fairly certain I am part of the small group of people that will not qualify for it. So I’m trying to find other ways to support myself.
I hope I can go back to the UK in a few months time. On the day of my flight, I discovered that I had been granted my pre-settled status. It made me feel conflicted about my decision to leave, even though it’s just temporarily. However, I am happy that soon I can help my family with groceries and ensure that my parents can self-isolate at home.
Every day I take pictures from my window and create multiexposed city landscapes mixed with phone photo collection of 2020 moments. I try to fix my presence in the city, social networks and self-perception.
Being a precarious from the art means have being waiting a contract for 2 months and no one knows how long else, because of the virus. Work and personal plans, desires seem to be unrealistic not only today, but much further.
All social media and networks tell current Coronastory. It officially appeared in Kyrgyzstan on March 18, 2020. Several days later we moved to the state of emergency with chaotic government actions. That followed by the raise of more unsecured victims of domestic violence, people asking for a food, citizens unable to leave Russians airports for almost two weeks, five pupils committed a suicide after schools were closed and other news on the background of initiation a referendum to strengthen presidential power and violation the rights of Media to get free access to the information.
There is no horizon for the end of the liminal contemporaneity.
And you, feeling the incapability, continue to fix yourself by “location” on the dynamic point of our fragile planet.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Dr. Tigist Yeshiwas Engdaw
COVID 19 distresses everybody in one way or the other. We live in a very interconnected world. The world is one village. In this global crisis of our time COVID 19 reiterated that it affects all persons despite borders, social class, race, age, gender etc. It’s crazy, full of uncertainties and very scary time for the globe. So surreal, we have lost so many life’s in the world, I lost a good friend from Zimbabwe. COVID 19 affects me like everyone else in the world though the degree differs by context and from people to people due to different reasons. As a global goodwill ambassador, I want to pass a message to people all over the world let’s unite as a community, be kind to people, stay humble. Listen the experts, researchers, professors advise for preventive measures. Prevention is better than cure. People working at the front line doctors, nurses, cleaners, drivers, managers etc are our heroes and sherose of 21century. In solidarity and global cooperation, we will bit the #COVID 19.
This will pass too. Be safe and stay strong.
Ottó Geir Borg
My name is Ottó Geir Borg and I’m a Icelandic screenwriter living in Hveragerði, Iceland. For me personally Covid has not changed much in the way of my daily routine, which consists of staying at home and writing – going for walks and spending time with my family. I’m an introvert so I do not have the need to soclialize and practice social distancing most days of the year, all if I could. As a writer which is a lonely job by proxy my boss are my projects some of them my own creations and othes I’ve been hired to write; I work through them with dicipline I have somehow managed to aquire during the years using my skills for stringing together words and my creativity. I admit Covid takes a lot of my brainspace these days but I try to escape into my worlds to create something that might come into fruition in the future. The good thing is that I can do that as I only need my trusty laptop, my screenwriting program and a somewhat clear head. I do not know whether I will get paid or the projects I’m writing will ever be made but I cannot think about that right now – persistence is the key and the hope for a better future – Covid free but with some valuable lessons learnt.
I moved back in with my parents in February after travelling Australia and New Zealand for a bit. I wanted to take a deep breath before starting a new chapter. Now I’m stuck. I’m stuck on so many levels. After years of struggling with depression and now finally feeling strong enough, brave and ready to face life again, I was thinking to myself: COVID 19, why now?
But it is too easy to just focus on ourselves. We are in this together. The thought of thousands stuck at boarders or the thought of millions losing not just their job but their homes, their future, is what keeps me up at night.
I’m anxious about what is to come. I don’t know where this is going, where I’m going, but I need to breathe. I can’t lose my growth. So I look around and finally see all these beautiful places that I don’t need to take a long distance flight for. I look around and realise that despite the limited options we have, there are journeys to take: Our brains, souls and hearts wait for us to be explored. Yes, this is a dark time but it is full of light.
Lisbon & Montemor-o-Novo, Portugal
Frederik Pinto-Correia Eistrup
We were sent home from the office when a sister of a colleague showed symptoms. As a lot of younger educated office-workers in Lisbon, I quit my apartment and went home to my parents house in the countryside – where we have more space, fresh air, comfort, life quality and, even, toilet paper. And mush less hysteria.
Out here, cafes - Portuguese people’s social core - resisted for the first weeks and only recently were all shut down. The people are obedient and solidary, it is not hard to convince them of the right thing to do. But some groups didn’t stop – those who absolutely have to or just can escape the coarse police surveillance, keep on a soft working mode. Besides the elderly, normal people are mostly afraid of what is coming next: we barely started breathing and earning salary raises back before this new crisis.
Time is spent on daily 8h remote-working – my job was saved by the internet, most jobs weren’t – plus cooking incredible food and movie nights. Finally, there is time for my eternal stuff-to-do list, but it seems I never get them all done. Weekly family skypes and a daily hour-long call to a friend who stayed in Lisbon, with fear of infecting his elder parents, sustains my minimal mental health.
Missoula, Montana, USA
I’m a (mostly) retired journalist living in a university town situated in a beautiful mountain valley of western Montana. As I write this, six Montanans have died of the Covid 19 virus, but we are only in the early stages of spread. I’m in a highly vulnerable group (old) so I am sheltering-in-place except for my daily walks on favorite trails. The outdoors and nature are as much a habit for Montanans as eating and breathing and so are the sightings of other creatures we share this land with, including coyotes and wolves, whose howls often lull us to sleep or startle us awake.
To thank the many health care workers who are toiling on the front lines of this pandemic, every evening at 8, members of my community go outside and howl like the wolves to show our gratitude for those workers, and to express our profound grief at the loss of life. The thousands of howls echo off the surrounding mountainsides, uniting us all in a primal connection and release that is both comforting and startling.
The coyotes and wolves no doubt wonder why we have joined their symphony. But maybe, just maybe, they understand.
I am Pedro, a Portuguese national and living in the Netherlands for one year and a half. I work as an intellectual property analyst for a big company in Amsterdam (I live in Haarlem, 15min by train away) and since the 11th of March that I am working from home. I am very lucky to be able to do it, as unfortunately, I know of many cases of people being laid-off. In the meantime, I honestly wished I was back in my home country for now because I do not feel like the Netherlands is doing all it takes to mitigate this crisis: while in Portugal schools, restaurants, everything was closed even before the first death due to covid-19 happened and state of emergency was declared, here in Holland you still see almost as many people as in a normal day outside and the government doesn’t want to force a lockdown. In any case, personally speaking, I feel safe and by the end of June/my contract, I am coming back home regardless of everything. For now, I hope all EU member-states agree on the so-called Eurobonds. Because the EU is about solidarity when it matters. Be strong and be safe!
We are living in unprecedented times that feel like everything we know and understand has suddenly been put at risk. Less than one month ago, many of us lived normal lives, some of us even privileged ones - and yet, in the blink of an eye, a global pandemic shifted the narrative of our lives into one of global fear and uncertainty. I am always passionate about serving the community and have rendered outstanding services at a national and international level in the arena of social work, human rights and youth activism to promote Sustainable Development, Global Peace as well as Harmony. I, 2014, I established a youth led organisation “THE” Society – Together for Health and Education, whose mission is to support young people in realizing their aspirations and potential for materializing Health and Education for Sustainable Development. Last month under the umbrella of “THE” Society, I launched a global “COVID-19 Youth Task Force (YTF)”, which is focusing all efforts on supporting the governments, IGOs, UN, Commonwealth, EU, OIC, SAARC, Medical Professionals, Media and other organizations, in its approach to containing the spread of the disease, and to increasing the preparedness and capability to be able to effectively address issues surrounding COVID-19. Currently its chapters exist in Asia, Africa, Balkans, Caribbean, China and USA engaging 50,000 youth volunteers.
The task force has initially the following major objectives;
1. Establishing Consortium of Youth Organizations to address COVID-19
2. Engaging Youth as Volunteers to spread awareness regarding the prevention of COVID-19 in local and sign languages
3. Motivating and Helping people who are in Quarantine by various creative activities
4. Supporting people who have no access to livelihood particularly Transgender & PWDs
5. Online educational and entertainment programs for kids/adults and elder citizens.