Life in The Middle of The Pandemic (グーグル翻訳による日本語翻訳付き)By:Google Translate

People wearing medical mask | Free Vector
Photo credit: Freepik 

Not so long ago, I went out of our gated subdivision to withdraw some of my hard-earned money. I needed to pay my house rent. This was when the National Capital Region (Metro Manila) was still under the Enhanced Community Quarantine caused  by the deadly Coronavirus- Covid-19. Under the Enhanced Community Quarantine or ECQ, only one person from one household could go out in order to buy essentials or run errands. 

I walked leisurely on the deserted road to the bank, under the leafy acacia trees. It was early in the morning and I wanted to get some much-needed sunlight. Everything looked gloomy. The once busy street outside our subdivision was now almost deserted.

At one point, I stood at a corner and for a while I watched the few people going by. All were in a hurry to reach their destinations. On strategic locations were some policemen and policewomen who were alertly watching the people hurrying by, making sure that each person had a mask or a face shield on, and making sure that social distancing was properly observed.

At the entrance of the building where the bank was located, my temperature was checked. Anybody with a temperature of 36.8 over was not allowed to get in. The lady guard sprayed my hands with sanitizer. (In all fairness to me, even when Covid-19 still belonged to the distant future, I always had a bottle of 70% solution Isopropyl alcohol in my pocket, and another in my bag, and a lot more in my house.)  Anyway, I joined the line at the door of the bank. Only 3 people at a time were allowed to get in.

When it was finally my turn to enter the bank, the security guard checked my temperature again and sprayed my hands with sanitizer again. This has become the Standard Operating Procedure in all establishments—in convenience stores, in drugstores. This, as they say, has become the new normal.

On my way home, I passed by a big church, the St. Peter’s church. I instinctively looked around, and there---I saw—a policewoman kneeling by the outside pew, with her head bowed down, deep in prayer. She was wearing a blue-green camouflage uniform, which means that she belongs to the Philippine National Police Mobile Group Company. I also said a silent prayer for her and for the frontliners out there, in the whole world.

Filipinos in general are merry people. We love laughing and talking while walking (or while doing anything, as in anything) we love socializing, we love hugging when we meet our friends, we kiss them on the cheek as an expression of a warm greeting.   It was, therefore uncommon to see people walking two or three meters apart instead of cheerfully (and noisily) walking in groups. It was uncommon, yes, but it did not bother us in any way. We all understand that this is not a political thing, it’s not discrimination, it’s not an issue that we should take to court. We all understand that we have to wear masks so as not to spread or spew out our saliva or droplets when we talk or sneeze. We understand that we have to practice social distancing to prevent close contact to people who MIGHT be asymptomatic Covid-19 carriers. We all understand that we have to stay home, under community quarantine, to limit the movement of people, thus, limiting also the chances of transmission. We understand that this deadly virus is a global problem and as citizens of the world, we are under moral duty to do whatever we can to help stop or slow down the spread of the virus.

I dropped by a supermarket to buy some essentials. Again, I had to fall in line, because only ten shoppers at a time were allowed to enter. After a long wait, my temperature was again checked with a thermal scanner. At the entrance, I was made to clean my shoes by stepping on a disinfectant-sodden rug. My hands were sprayed with sanitizers again.

Inside the supermarket, the atmosphere was different. Customers were moving a little faster than usual, being mindful of other shoppers. There were absolutely no senior citizens there.  There were a lot of "restricted products", such as bath soap, sanitizers, detergent bars, and the like.  To make sure that all shoppers who need them can also buy them, only two of those products could be bought. The cash register was reprogrammed to automatically reject the third item when scanned or punched.

As I was quickly walking from one aisle to aisle, I also noticed that the music was different. Prior to the Covid-19 attack, the radio would spew out pop or hip hop songs. At that time, however, worship songs were being played. I remembered the policewoman at the church. 

We all have our own way of worshipping, and we call this religious diversity. However, whenever we are faced with extreme difficulties, we, generally, all need a Higher Being  to turn to, a Supreme Being to pour our hearts to, Someone we can talk to whenever we are overwhelmed with fears, anxieties, and uncertainties. In the face of the pandemic, our differences don’t matter anymore. As the say, we all heal as one. Again, I said a little prayer for the frontliners out there and for all the people in the world.

I quickened my steps when I got out of the supermarket.

At the gate, the uniformed subdivision guards were there, also checking the temperature of the people who were coming in and going out of the village. They were checking  car stickers  to make sure that only the residents of the subdivision were getting in, thus preventing, or at least minimizing, the possibility of infections.  
When one of the guards saw me approaching, he politely greeted me while he opened the gate, and I got in. I spent about six seconds cleaning my shoes by wiping them on the disinfectant-sodden rug again, under his watchful eye. At the big gate, the tires of one car were being sprayed with disinfectant.

Before the lockdown, I did not interact with the guards that much. I’ve always been a very busy person, and I did not have the luxury of time to chat with anybody for more than a minute. Besides, the guards have always been there at their posts, opening the Entrance Gate or The Exit Gate when a car would come in or get out, or opening the small gate for the people who don’t drive cars, just like me. I would just respond with a little smile or I would say “Thank you” with a slight bow. All of those were just done mechanically, on autopilot. At that particular time, however, I realized how important their job was, and how dedicated they were to their tasks. The village guards are fathers, brothers, sons, uncles, husbands—not just uniformed humans who would open and close the gates.  I vowed to buy them some coffee the next time I’d go out again, a thing which I did after two days.

We are now under General Community Quarantine, or GCQ. This means, anybody from a household can go out BUT still, he/she is required to wear a mask and of course, social distancing is still strictly implemented. The skeleton staffs of the companies can now go to work by using the shuttle buses provided by the companies they work for. We don’t know when classes are opening. The president said, “No vaccine, no school opening.”

We don’t know when this virus is going to disappear. We don’t know if things would be just like the way they were before.  

But anyway, despite the pandemic, life has to go on. 

Japanese Translation:
Credit: Google Translate




土手があるビルの入り口で、体温をチェックしました。体温が36.8度を超える人は入室できませんでした。婦人警備員が私の手に殺菌剤をスプレーしました。 (公平に言うと、Covid-19がまだ遠い未来に属していたときでも、私はいつも70%溶液のイソプロピルアルコールのボトルを私のポケットに、もう1つを私のバッグに、そして私の家にはもっとたくさんありました。)とにかく、私は銀行のドアで列に加わりました。一度に3人しか入場できませんでした。











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