Our Life During the Lockdown 2; The Aftermath
It had been 6 weeks of total lockdown. The number of infections climbed to over 10 thousand with over a hundred new cases daily. Record high cases were reported. We were waiting for the decision although we could already feel that it wasn’t safe to go out yet. And true enough, it was extended for another 2 weeks, making it good 2 months of ECQ.
Areas were categorized into high risk, average and low risk. Metro Manila and the surrounding provinces and Metro Cebu were obviously at high risk so we remained on ECQ status. Other areas were put to General Community Quarantine (GCQ). Restrictions were eased, some chosen industries were back in operation, minimal intra-zone travels were allowed but still required special permits. We were jealous, but we thought it was for the better.
We were lucky enough to be working and being paid despite the situation.It was a great help. With the steady flow of income, we were able to fend for ourselves and our families without government subsidy. We prioritized basic necessities. But how about the others?
Poor people hit rock bottom. They depended on good samaritans help, donations and charity works. Supplies at stores were still okay, prices were frozen but who could buy? Not those who couldn’t go back to daily wage jobs for sure. Worst, many people went to streets, became beggars of some sort in the absence of alternative ways to earn coins.
In addition to the lack of food and essential goods at home, the population had to endure the extreme heat. It’s the middle of summer after all. Going out of the house was prohibited, but people in slums just couldn’t due to the lack of ventilation and space indoors. Some fires broke out in some residential areas making it twice as difficult
The people and the economy are suffering. It felt like doomsday. But even in chaos, there were a bit of silver-lining.
People became more aware about their priorities in spending. Luxuries were set aside.
More time spent at home meant more family time; more family lunches and dinners.
Busy bees had no choice but to stay home, laze around and rest at last.
Alternative and various ways to earn money were sought and done.
Gardening became a habit.Growing own food in the backyard became a fad.
The environment was able to breathe. Pollution was greatly reduced.Farmers were appreciated better.
Everyone paid more attention to health, hygiene and safety. Hobbies were enjoyed more than before.
Children got to spend more quality time with their parents; parents understood the struggles of teaching and educating their kids.
Affluent, famous and influential people used their wealth, fame and power to raise funds and give hand to the needy.
For the first time, economic gap were equalized. Rich and poor are both susceptible to the disease. The virus doesn’t discriminate. Money couldn’t buy back health.
The situation brought out the best and the worst in everyone. Hunger is a despicable foe.
Patience were tested at this trying times. Especially when the lockdown was extended yet again, for the third time in a row. But this time, only few places were covered. The ECQ became Modified, hence the MECQ. The difference? Not much but more businesses were allowed to operate in Metro Manila and other cities. But with no public transport available, how was it possible?
But Filipinos are known to be resilient. Few hours walk doesn’t matter as long as the ordinary Juans can earn a living for their starving families.But the biggest question was on education? The public is in quandary? No school until vaccine is available. Online, distance or blended-learning were in the works.But what’s the better solution? It was decided that schools should open August 24th, but with possibility of online or distance learning set up.Not everyone can afford or is equipped with it.This issue is still in question until this time.
The so called new normal became a household term. Less time outdoors, more time indoors basically. Are we going to go back to normal? But what is normal?
If normal means living in luxury, taking advantage of our resources, spending our money on unnecessary things, killing ourselves from working over time, neglecting our families and children over work, fighting over trivial things on the internet, toiling to the bones forgetting how to have a life while earning for a living, politician exploiting the poor, money working for the rich, is normal such a glorious thing to get back?
We are obviously overstaying in the office but it wasn’t much a problem to be honest. We are more concerned about going out finally. We were allowed to go out not because it’s already safe but for the economy to survive.
We’ll be moving in to a new place soon and the set up will be pretty much the same. We just need to find a way to spend our time wisely and productively. But in the middle of all this, remaining alive and healthy is already good enough. For the generations to come, we could say our biggest contribution to save the world was to stay home, go nowhere else and do nothing.It was the noblest task.