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.