Dearest family and friends,
I want to start by saying that you continue to be in my thoughts and prayers whilst we charter this unfamiliar territory. Until this past weekend, we didn't have a case of Coronavirus in Guatemala and besides feeling deeply concerned about the safety of my family and friends in affected countries, my life continued relatively unchanged until Monday.
Monday still feels like a surreal nightmare that I can't believe was real. I remember walking to get groceries and watching my friends jump into taxis to try and get to the Mexican border before 1 am. The first time I went to the store it was unusually busy for a Monday morning but I was able to get what I thought I needed. Then the calls and messages started flooding in. Guatemala was closing its border and no flights would be able to enter in and out of the country, I had to decide then and there if I should pack my bags and get on the last flight out. I opted to stay in the end and did two more runs to the grocery store. I reasoned that if I tried leaving I could easily get stuck en route, since tourists were leaving Antigua there would be ample resources for the small population that permanently lives here, and I could finally focus on working on things that I'd neglected because I was running to meetings. I don't regret my decision but I also wasn't expecting to hear what I did when we all huddled around my friend's phone to listen to the Presidential announcement that evening:
NATIONAL CHAIN SUMMARY
Monday, March 16 2,020
President of the Republic
For this reason, as the duty of the state and the president, to guarantee the life and health of all, they make decisions and restrict certain rights temporarily, thus restrictively (from Tuesday, March 17 at 0 am, until March 31 at 24 hours):
1. Work activities are suspended, in the different state and private agencies (as will be dictated later)
2. Events and meetings of all kinds and any number of people are prohibited
3. All sports, social and cultural activities are prohibited
4. The operation of urban and extra-urban bus service is prohibited
5. Visits to prisons prohibited
6. Visits to older adults are prohibited
7. All face-to-face religious activities are prohibited
8. Hospital visits prohibited
9. All Shopping Centers in the country are closed
10. Hoarding groceries and necessary items are prohibited
11. The prohibited entry of foreigners
12. NO meetings in discos, bars, restaurants
13. Closure of area borders
14. From 9 pm to 4 am all commercial establishments must be closed, except for pharmacies and gas stations
15. PROHIBITED alcoholic beverages, from 6 pm to 5 am
1. residents of the country and diplomats, can enter the country, but with analysis and evidence
2. Executive agency personnel, health and defense personnel, and customs, immigration, and consumer service personnel must continue to work.
3. Gas stations, supermarkets, and markets must remain open
4. restaurant, can only for self-service and home delivery
5. banks, garbage services, distribution of food and beverages will remain open
6. media, radio, tv and written media, cable companies, internet, etc., will continue their activity
I MENTION SEVERAL ARTICLES, WHERE THEY INDICATE THAT WHO DOES NOT COMPLY WITH THE MEASURES ADOPTED, THE WHOLE WEIGHT OF THE LAW AND PRISON OF 6 MONTHS TO 2 YEARS WILL APPLY
WHO EXPANDS RUMORS OR FALSE NEWS, WILL BE PUNISHED WITH PRISON AND FINE
WHO SELLS THINGS AT PRICES OUT OF THE MARKET, WILL BE SANCTIONED WITH PRISON AND FINE
The president has received false messages, which closed commercials and it is not true. Many people are malicious who want to cause panic and chaos if they find these people the law will apply.
This is a disease that came to stay in the world, but you have to know how to work it and kill it
With these measures, the possibility of getting infected is reduced, leaving only doing what is necessary and not going to crowded places
If you become infected, DO NOT WORRY, go home, to avoid contaminating, take acetaminophen (2 tablets of 500mg every 6 hours if you are over 12 years old) drink a lot of liquids and it will happen soon if it gets complicated (breathing problem, very high fever) go to a collection center or hospital
As of today, there are hardly 6 cases and they have found more than 200 people, but this containment of the disease is everyone's job.
Last night the President also asked the country to withdraw from using hateful speech towards people of other races and nationalities.
There are hardly any words to express how grateful I am to be in a country that is looking after its own and those who have arrived from afar. It's also incredibly humbling to be vulnerable and unable to leave a country that so many people flee and are not welcomed when they arrive. This situation could be terrifying, considering we are basically on total lockdown, but I'm using this as a time of deeply needed rest and reflection, a time to reconnect with old friends, a time to catch up on some admin work that had been neglected, and to find new ways of being of service. I plan to continue working on grant applications for the renovation of a Church building which we hope to transform into a safe space for human rights education, collaboration, and research. The goal of this project is to be a model for faith-based human rights development, producing tools and resources that can be applied across the Diocese of Guatemala and Anglican Church in Central America. I will also continue planning future human rights workshops for the Center and our work with incarcerated youth, creating newsletters on Human Rights which will be sent electronically and creating a website for the Diocese of Guatemala. I have also recently moved home because our landlord wanted to sell his property so I'm settling in to my own apartment which I'm grateful has happened before these new rules were put into affect. Right now I feel uneasy, but not because of the Coronavirus, because of all the internal and outward shift I already feel within myself as I grow and learn from this wilderness I'm walking into.