Amidst the chaos and unknown, COVID-19 has brought solidarity to people from around the world to fight for a single cause. Doctors and nurses taking care of patients, business owners closing down their livelihood, students finishing their studies online, parents having to attend to their children in isolation. The world has quickly changed before our very eyes. Wherever you are, you are assuming some responsibilities for your well-being and the well-being of others. That is why the Campaign for Human Responsibilities has put together a collection called the Confinement Diaries. Written by global contributors, our intention is to share people's perspectives from all over the world on responsibilities in line with our Declaration for Universal Human Responsibilities’ four pillars: change, choices, capabilities and community, in several different capacities. Each perspective is unique, and together, shows how all individuals, globally and close to home, are contributing to the collective good in doing their part to combat COVID-19.
We welcome you to read, share, and contribute in this historic period of time.
Here I am, on a sunny Monday morning, merged on my own thoughts, questioning myself about how the summer of 2020 will be. I can already imagine my feet sinking in the sandy beaches, the burning sun crisping my skin and the cold, salty Mediterranean waters of the sea balancing that heat, making me feel in peace. After a 3-year study period that ended up with a small celebration in the kitchen, I couldn’t look forward to finally give myself a rest. But this break doesn’t come without “If’s” and worries. Covid-19 cases are increasing the same way as waves heat the shore.
The Portuguese are historically known for being people of the sea, true adventurers that challenged the unknown, leaving a footprint in the World for remarkable findings. But, despite our adventurous spirit in the old times, things have changed, and people are scared. With the outbreak of the pandemic everyone turned to themselves, assuming no responsibilities for the damage caused to others. The urge of rescuing life driven by a selfish desire of making up for the money lost, having joyful moments with others, re- scheduling meetings and events, blinded us for the reality. However, I can say that even though 2020 is an atypical year, I managed to escape this endless quarantine with a bottle of alcohol, mask and gloves and travel in safety in my country.
I spent the first 4 days of my 1-week trip, in a small and remote village, Alfarim, where my grandmother lives. Over there, I had an incredible time, exploring various beaches and restaurants and playing cards until late. The place itself was isolated which immediately made me comfortable and safe from the virus. But this false safety feeling came to notice especially when I went to supermarkets or to the village-centre.
On the 5th day, I travelled up-north, to the city of Braga where the unbearable heat locked everyone inside their homes or made them visit the rivers and parks nearby. I slept there and then travelled in direction to Viana do Castelo, where I stayed in a camping park for one-night. I was afraid for the camping site as it could lack control or enough cleaning, but I was surprised by its excellent conditions, as it turned out to be a wonderful place to connect with nature and fall asleep while listening the waves strike the rocks. I can’t reinforce enough how much careful I was.
Next stop (7th day), I visited the beautiful and oldest village of Portugal, Ponte de Lima, where kids played games on the streets, parents had a smile on their faces and grandparents were happily seated on a bench, catching the fresh shadow of an old tree. Spanish tourists toked pictures by the Lima River and enjoyed traditional dishes of the region while shopping local products at the antique fair and food market. It was 39o degree Celsius, and I was melting, wishing for a cold glass of white wine.
I loved this small village, for the fact that it made me forget about the pandemic but as I took the train back to my hometown, I was shocked for the lack of concern that can be easily seen, as some people keep on disrespect the safety rules.
What can we, as citizens do, to improve life in community, prevent Covid-19 from spreading and future epidemics?
Now more than ever, we need to connect with each other and form an alliance capable of improving the World we live in. We need to create awareness for global issues and promote social cohesion by endorsing respect, tolerance, solidarity, equality and trust. We need, in fact, a Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities because it is our duty, as citizens of a broader community than our own, to protect each other and our environment.
Ana Rafaela Batista | July 16th, 2020
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