JulieB By: JulieB
Lecturer in Global Health
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13 Apr 2020 : So many days in one

It's Easter Monday today, and also the first day of Nepali New Year 2077, as well as Sonkran (New Year) in Thailand. Those three days don't always align but this year they have; it's like "so many special days in one day". And across the world, most people have marked these special occasions at home under quarantine. In 11 days time the month of Ramadan begins, and we are still likely to be in quarantine or some form of lockdown then, at least here in UK. Likewise, the Chinese were in lockdown during the Chinese New Year in early February.

To billions of people around the world, these are important times - Easter, New Year, a month of fasting, and I am trying to imagine how they all do this during the pandemic phase we find ourselves in. No doubt it is/will be hard. No doubt some of these rituals and practices will give peope hope and strength to continue. I can really see the value in cultural and faith-based traditions and the importance they play. Every day now I count my own blessings to have lived an international life, to have learnt first hand about different countries, cultures, ways of life. To have celebrated Songkran when I lived and worked in Thailand (2010-11), to have seen in the Nepali New Year during my work visits there every year since 2014, to have spent several months of Ramadan and Eid/Koriteh in The Gambia while on project visits, to have often welcomed the Chinese New Year with my collagues, and to have had beautiful Easter weekends together with my European family for many wonderful years.

To me, there is nothing more beautiful than seeing and experiencing different ways of life, people of different cultures coming together and collaborating on things. I simply cannot wait for international life to kick back in again - and the thought of it is what keeps me going right now. I guess one could say it's my own religion, one world, sharing it's glory together. But for sure 'globalisation' has it's dark side too; perhaps coronavirus will allow us to think up and create a better global life system together. As the saying goes, in every crisis there is an opportunity - we must not let this go to waste and instead must build a new, more interconnected, healthier and more balanced world. And on this first day of the Nepali year 2077, I hope we rise to that challenge... 


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