This is a report by former volunteer Miriam from Quillazú.
It is simply unbelievable how quickly everything can change! Nothing to me, nothing to you the pandemic breaks out and suddenly the freedom to move freely everywhere takes on a completely different meaning.
On March 1, 2020 I landed at the airport in Lima and happily fell around the neck of my friend Matthias. At that time everything was still possible: walking in the park, visiting restaurants or ice-cream parlors, going shopping, going on motorcycle trips, getting to know Huancabamba or – as strange as it sounds now to consider this a speciality – taking the night bus to Oxa.
About a week later the virus spread more and more throughout Peru, so that the regulations were tightened.
The start of school was postponed. When school attendance will be possible again is still unclear, as the number of infected people is increasing and President Vizcarra has repeatedly extended the declared state of emergency. In order that the Quillazú girls did not have to remain completely without lessons, they received regular tutoring in math from Matthias, Magdalena gave them some lessons in comma placing and reading and Akemi, the new Consejera, taught them how to use the PowerPoint program. Since the end of March, teaching units have been broadcast to the students via television and Internet platforms.
After that, the “Toque de queda” (curfew) was declared and a little later the “Estado de emergencia sanitaria” (state of emergency). The curfew starts at 6 pm and ends in the morning hours. But what exactly can one imagine by “state of emergency”? It means that most shops close and only the most necessary things remain, i.e. banks, hospitals, markets and pharmacies, military forces are everywhere to control the streets and you are only allowed to leave the house with an authorization. In addition, there was the regulation that only one person per household is allowed to go outside in order to limit the radius of infection. In between, it was stipulated for a short time that there would be a curfew on Sundays and that on Monday, Wednesday and Friday men would be allowed to go out and women on the remaining days – but this measure was lifted again on Easter Saturday. Either way, face masks are always compulsory when leaving the house.
How exactly did these restrictive measures affect the project?
Visits are no longer possible, regardless of whether the girl´s visitors are the parents of the girls or not. Egg sales now only take place at the entrance gate. Bakery owners currently swear by the project’s eggs, because at least with us the supply is secure – even during the Corona crisis.
As far as the weekly shopping is concerned, Edgardo is now taking care of it for the girls’ project as well, although Magdalena is still doing some of the shopping – at least for part of it. For her, however, this proves to be very difficult, as she is not mobile without a car and is therefore dependent on the only means of transport still in use, the motos. Nevertheless, she masters it excellently and pays a lot of attention to the necessary hygiene – and not just a little bit: face mask, gloves, rinsing of all food when arriving at the project, disinfection of hands, changing clothes. If she doesn’t even take a shower right away …
All this is not necessarily the easiest approach, but it is necessary at the moment and serves above all to protect the girls and boys.
In the project itself, you don’t really notice anything of all the government measures – except through the news. There, as always, we have the privilege of being able to get a varied range of food and to use sufficient forest and meadow areas for walking, playing or working. During a curfew, which lasts for weeks, I think we can be very grateful for this.