Our Neighborhood During This COVID-19 Time

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When Wuhan declared that there was a bat-snake complication coming from them that led to people getting so sick, some nations took the warning aggressively. Those getting affected by the Corona Virus or simply COVID-19 experience pneumonia-like symptoms but to a more extreme case, and they die after a week or so. It is so terrible, to say the least. At this time, there are about 138,000 people who have died because of this disease. The fear is that many could be carrying the virus, and yet, they do not know it. They could be infecting others without realizing that they are infected.

Unlike Italy and New York, which were hit very hard and with tens of thousands of people dead, other countries ordered their quarantine and lockdown early. They do not have that many casualties, and their countries are slowly recovering from this pandemic.

I live in one of those countries that COVID-19 has not damaged immensely in terms of cases. And I thank God every single day as I wake up that I am still alive and breathing. I can see my mother, my father, and my siblings every single day. They are healthy, and we are all still living amidst people dying from other nations.

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Since every country in the world was on lockdown, us here in Papua New Guinea are also in lockdown. It doesn’t mean that we have a low amount of COVID-19 positive cases in our country. We are relaxed. Our leaders are aggressive, and they have put our safety first. We are in a state of emergency, and they have released funding so that residents have some money to use during this lockdown time, but we all know that it is difficult to budget. Anyway, it was not a problem for us because our neighborhood is helping each other out during this trying time.

Anita, one of our neighbors, is a waitress at a local ice cream and coffee shop. She has two kids and no husband to assist her with the finances. Of course, with the lockdown, Anita was jobless. Her boss gave her half a week’s worth of salary when the lockdown was announced, which was very nice of him, but that was about it. Anita is going thin on the money, and she did not tell anyone about her problem. Good thing, her daughter called my daughter, as they are friends, and she told my Malina that her mom was getting anxious since their food and money would run out in two days. Anita also needed to buy medicine for her youngest because she was asthmatic.

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My daughter, the angel that she is, told their friends about the problem with Anita. These are thirteen-year-old girls who have been playmates since they were eight, and they grew up together. What these teenagers did was courageous and heart-warming. They all decided to talk to their parents and ask for help – to help Anita and her daughters, who are their friends. These little ladies said that whatever allowance they get, the amount to help Anita and her daughters can be deducted from it. They all gave us the amount of food that the family of three need for each day, and of course, the monthly supply amount for the medicine.

Our neighborhood works like this, and we assist each other the best we can of whatever we have. One of our block mates was a doctor, and so he handled at least three months of medicine for Anita’s daughter. There were ten of us in our community who were parents of the friends of Anita’s daughters, and we all shared $100 each to at least help Anita for two months’ worth of food. One of the parents also took care of her utility bill for the month, and another mother spoke with Anita’s landlord. She got them a rental-free month this April.

When times are hard, people are tested. And we should always emerge as one – a community with people who pulls each other up no matter how difficult and challenging it would be.