About Pandemic Prowling: In this series, Pandemic Prowling, I share stories about my travels across 4 continents (Asia, N. America, S. America, Africa) amidst the outbreak of Covid19.
(October 2020 – February 2021)
6 Countries, 6 variations of the new normal.
Thailand in February 2020, when folks began to take notice of the new virus and masks were introduced
Philippines in March 2020 when I was handed curious slips of paper asking about fevers or other illness symptoms
Indonesia in March 2020 when tourist attractions began shutting down and social distance became a thing
The States in March-April 2020 when the streets were emptied
Mexico in April-August 2020 when everything was closed and I was shouted at for not wearing a mask
Brazil in August-September 2020 where modern day breadlines were ever prevalent.
And now here I was in Tanzania where when you stop and ask 9 Tanzanians out of 10 they would say, “No Covid in our country.”
Of course it is not for me to judge the policies of another country. And it took a while for me to adjust to the “old way of life” having lived in so many variations of the new normal with the countries I’ve lived and visited during such times.
It was a bit of a shock initially and despite all the health concerns expressed by those around me, it was a nice refresher having such a life that many people in the other countries I was in were not able to enjoy. Things such as:
- Walking around with no mask
- Church service
- Community events
- Very little racism from the virus
- Public transport in normal operations
- Most businesses remaining open
All in all, it was just life as how it was before the pandemic with minimal changes. The very few restrictions on socially isolating people were one of the key pillars on what made the experience the most memorable. As mobile as I am, I was still limited in the way in which I could move due to all the restrictions.
When it all gets boiled down to its essence, nothing could replace the feeling of being able to reach out and shake someone’s hand then pulling them in for a hug. This is a basic human behavior that was nice to have again. No amount of elbow bumps and Zoom meetings can take this away from the human psyche. It’s built into us.
The lone wolf cannot be alone forever. In the former six countries mentioned I was alone, inside I knew for a fact something was missing, and the community in which I surrounded myself in fulfilled a part of my life that so many of us lacked.
Friends, Family, Community and Belonging.