JulieB By: JulieB
Lecturer in Global Health
View profile and Diary

28 Mar 2020 : I'll give this a go

Owain sent me a link to the Covid19 Global Health Diaries project he had mentioned. Seems like a good idea! In contrast to Owain, I have kept a diary over the last decade or so, but it's mostly travel related and/or mundane life stuff, so not the kind of thing I'd share with others really - or the kind of thing others would want to read. I write it mostly when I am in airports or hotel rooms while on work travel [which is frequent]. ... well, there's not much chance of any of that for a little while now. 

I have a few ideas of what I would like to add to this space, the question is will I be able to get things across clearly? My mind seems to be quite frazzled this last fortnight, although the second week was better than the first. I am in awe of all those who have maintained their sanity throughoug this time, especially those on the "front lines" - but perhaps everyone appears well on the outside yet internally is just as frazzled as I am. I read almost all of Owain's entries this morning and found some common thoughts, feelings and reflections. I also hosted a ScHARR Alumni Covid19 Global Online Meetup yesterday, which around 30 of my former students joined, from literally around the world. Hearing the similarities - and of course some key differences - between those based in different parts of the world gave me the strength I've been searching for these past week. Those who joined are currently based in China, UK, Spain, France, Belgium, Australia, Russia, Israel, Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and a few more places - everyone spoke candidly and was grateful for the global platform. As a true globalist myself, having lived, worked and been educated in 10 countries, across 4 continents (and being of two nationalities), all this "closing off" of the world's borders makes me really uncomfortable; it's a feeling I have deep in my core. And not to mention the air industry, which I'm terrified even thinking about... my last flight was to China in (early) December 2019. Usually, I fly inter-continental (for work) at least 4 or 5 times per year. I actually LOVE being in airports (!) yet now I am wondering if I will fly at all this year. How will I afford it? Will the air industry bounce back? Will people have to self-quarantine after every flight for monts to come (like Owain is currently doing)? I dare not think about it right now. 

I want to come back to the phrase "front line" in a later entry, to try and trace it in medical and IR literatures. There is so much mention of war now (war against a virus) - and I find it really raises my feelings of fear and anxiety so much; I was touched by how Jacinda Arden made a point of saying that the NZ response was the biggest "peace time" response ever - brilliant Jacinda, a truly inspiring leader and human being. All these thoughts are swishing through my brain and I hope to write some thoughtful reflective entries on such things for this project in future. For now though, I have to go and set up a zoom family re-union for my cousin's twins who are turning 13 tomorrow. Such is the new coronalife... 

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