It all started with the Coronavirus 2020
The coronavirus threaten the world starting in Februari 2020 and life as we know it before Corona is not the same anymore. Will it ever be? Probably not, and we should prepare for big changes. What will happen with world economy, global agreements, political power, redistribution of assets in society and widely, changes in attitudes? And the list goes on! The decision to interrupt my visit in Mozambique and Tanzania was not easy to take. Fortunately my friends and home office helped two analyse and reflect on the situation.
How did it affect my life in Africa?
I was having a good African life in Maputo, Mozambique (Feb – middle March) among friends and beautiful beaches and hectic life. Of course the normal afrikan hardship apply, but the food is good and people still change cheek-kisses when meeting. Nice. And then suddenly the terrible news about the coronavirus is filling newsrooms and social media. Uma merda! Frightening.
My plan was to continue from Moz to Tanzania at end of April and participate in fundraising and program support for our EGSO project in Mtwara (Empowerment of Girls in secondary schools) until flying home to Finland in begin of June. I was really looking forward to meeting friends in Tanzania and contributing to financial support for our counterpart, SDA. Mtwara is a third home for me. I have been there a first time in 1996 engaged in differente activities. Since 2004 I am doing volunteer work for LiiKe Finland in Tzn under the slogan “Sports and Development”. I love it.
At mid March the news from China, Italy, Spain, USA and other countries began to affect me heavily. I realised that a big decision had to be taken – To stay or not to stay??
At that time Moz was a clean country with only 2 corona infected persons. And Moz want to fight the coronavirus by increasing health control and restricting traveling. When Moz revoked already approved visas, I realised that I could not stay there anymore. It would include too much negotiations with the Immigration authorities. That is a fight you only can loose, as long you keep up with “zero tolerans to corruption”. After discussions with my home office and my Mozambican friends I was ready to rebook my return flight. I was devastated. Leaving a hot and wonderful and flexible Moz for a cold and restricted life in Finland?! This is not fair!!
Qatar Air had already suspended flights from Moz the week before, but they managed to loop me to Johannesburg with the Mozambican Air, LAM. And from there I continued via Doha to Helsinki with Qatar Air. At Johannesburg Airport they had the day before returned flights from high risk countries like China, Italy, Spain and the USA, so I was really afraid. But all went well and the service at Qatar Air is one of the best that I ever have experienced.
After landing at Helsinki Airport on Monday the 23rd of March, I took a taxi to Porvoo, where I now live in quarantine for 14 days. Somehow I feel good and relieved to be back in Finland, but Jesus Christ what serious we are and how good we are at following rules and regulations. The hole community checks on you – no police or other authorities need to follow me up! All this end up in serious cultural chock – as it does every year for me. But of course I am happy to be in Porvoo. Bastante!
My two daughters take care of me now. They always do! My quarantine is not a prison – far from that! Maria and Lotten provide shopping service and social contact. Life is good. Only colder than in the tropics. People in quarantine are supposed to stay inside and not go out. But dog owners are allowed to walk their dogs twice a day. I like the fresh air, so in the morning I walk my Virtual Karo to the dogs’ park along the riverside. And again in the evening when only few people are around. Porvoo river normally is covered by thick ice and snow in March, but now I saw a sailing boat from Sweden in the Guest Harbour. Amazing.