By Andrea Tudela Bustamante
Here in Lima, Perú, it’s a must to be tuned everyday at 12pm to the national television to watch and listen to president Martin Vizcarra. The message includes updates on daily ordinances, the latest number of coronavirus cases, cash support information, curfew, and so on.
March 06: The virus is officially here, and it’s the most commonly used word everywhere. A 25-year-old man from Europe was the first COVID-19 positive. The president recommends social distancing, to circulate responsibly and just for essential needs. People seem to behave in the same way, the streets are as noisy as always. The sky of Lima, known for being grey and cloudy, is now mixed with autumn, the new season is almost here.
March 11th: The official lockdown begins for people who don’t work on basic needs and therefore must stay at home. There are no classes until March 30th. Travellers who come from Europe and China can’t go back as they must be in quarantine. 13 cases have been registered after six days. Suddenly, my very busy street is becoming quieter as the number of cars has decreased considerably. In fact, I can now see a mountain from my window that I couldn’t see before. I realise that pollution has covered it the entire time.
March 12th: No more concerts, or public events with more than 300 people. People are still in the streets and beaches but the sound of horns is now replaced by birds that I'd never heard from my room before. This city hasn’t seen a sky like this probably since 1960. Blue. Deep blue.
March 16th: Since the population didn’t obey the ordinance, the republic of Perú declares a state of emergency over Corona virus. No one is allowed outside. Let the strict lockdown begin: Who doesn’t obey will be arrested. 117 positive confirmed. I’m getting used to the silence and the surprises through my window, but this one in particular was completely unexpected: a RAINBOW. Perú has a lot of amazing landscapes, but none are in Lima, the capital, because of the pollution. So a rainbow never seemed to be a reality. After 11 days of lockdown, it’s nice to see my city from a new perspective.
March 18th: Police and the army are now in charge and make people stay home. There are images of people getting arrested. No more private vehicles, only public transport for authorised citizens. 145 cases. A friend of mine shares a story - seagulls walking and flying down the beach. A free pass to the seashore. My sister and I have decided to create new life on the windowsill, we planted two beans, a chickpea and a butterbean on a big pot filled with soil. Let’s see what happens.
March 20th: Vizcarra announces the first four deaths in Perú. No more faces. I can’t see people's expressions anymore when I go out to get food, only face masks and gloves. 263 positive tests. One small green plant stick seems to come out from the pot, I don’t know which bean was born.
March 28st: The air, land and water frontiers are already closed. Its 12pm, I turn on the TV, the president announces that the government is going to give support to locals who travel back home. I switch channel and a reporter near the beach describes dolphins jumping and playing crossing the beaches near my home.
April 2nd: More restrictions, 1414 is the updated number. Another update: only men are allowed to be out in the streets on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Women will be allowed to go outside on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; and obviously, they need to have a very good reason to be outside. Sunday everybody must stay at home. We have decided to separate the beans so we put them in different pots.
April 5th: 1746 positive citizens. Yesterday was Saturday, so I went to the supermarket to get some food. Lots of women are lining up to get into the market too. After a while, I finally get in. Everybody is taking their time to pay attention to their lists, everybody is wearing face masks and gloves, keeping their distance and not seeing each other. A supermarket worker announces through the speakers that someone has lost a hundred-dollar bill and asks to whoever finds it to deliver it to the client attention counter. All of a sudden, everybody is in a rush, everybody still has their eyes glued to the floor, but are now hunting for the 100-dollar bill.
Finally, we see which bean is growing in the individual pot: it's the Butterbean.
Life in lockdown. Womankind approached its community to write about life in lockdown around the globe, notably a three-day diary of everyday life under the threat of COVID-19. Womankind is publishing these stories freely to show how the pandemic is affecting women from all over the globe - from New York, to Barcelona to Glastonbury.
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