I have some good news and some bad news today. The good news is that in many countries all over the world, the restrictions imposed during the Corona crisis are being lifted and people can go back to a «new normal» - whatever this means… The bad news is that I’m jealous! Indonesia lags a few steps behind western countries in its development of Covid-19. This means, that we are still in deep lockdown and the end of it seems a while away.
Personally, this is bad news for me in two ways. On the one hand, my daughter was supposed to come and visit us a in July. We were both very much looking forward to this, but as it looks now, we’ll have to postpone. On the other hand, as much as I am never homesick when we have guests and times are busy, I now feel like going home for a few weeks and seeing my family and friends. I miss them more now than during other times, because I have more time to think about them. For now, I am still hoping to be able to travel at the beginning of August and go to Switzerland for a vacation. But who knows…?
To be honest, I feel left out. Why is everybody else allowed to go out again, meet people, in Switzerland even go to the cinema (I MISS the cinema!)? In Jakarta, shopping centers are opening again, and we are still not even allowed to go to Sorong? Especially us here on Pulau Pef, who have been in a perfect quarantine for almost 3 months with absolutely no personal contact whatsoever with the outside world? I’m aware that the number of new infections is still rising in Indonesia and that the situation varies tremendously from region to region. That’s what makes it so difficult for the government to decide how to proceed. The country being so huge and many areas so remote, it is probably very hard for the authorities to make sure measures such as keeping your distance and wearing a mask are still respected, once restrictions are being lifted. Hence the reluctance to open up.
On the other hand, the lockdown has very dramatic consequences for many people here. Losing your job means no more income and, consequently, no more food. There is no unemployment money and government support is limited to some rice, sugar, tea and soap, which is by far not enough to feed a family. How are people going to survive if they cannot go back to work for many more months? They will die from hunger, not from Corona. Is this better? With the knowledge that we have now about this virus, I think it should be possible to lift the lockdown and open up slowly, while still making sure that the necessary precautions are applied. This is going to cost some money. But still less, I believe, than having the economy crash completely and many more people losing their jobs and their basis of life.
I am obviously neither a health expert nor a politician (thank God!). But I watch and listen to what’s happening around me and I draw my conclusions. They may be wrong, but nobody can predict the future. As much as it was probably necessary to take radical measures during the last weeks and months, it is now time to ease them up and start trying to fix what has been destroyed. As long as this is still possible.
And in the meantime, I shall continue to watch movies on the small screen…
I never even dreamt of working on a remote island in Indonesia, but life has a way of taking care of itself…