We are currently experiencing a whole new terrain. Our society is not used to such drastic changes in our everyday lives, in such devastating ways. We are secure in our livelihoods and our vulnerabilities are not often laid bare. But the recent Corona virus has taken Ireland and the entire world by storm. Within a short period of time, the virus has stripped lives, jobs, and businesses and pushed hospitals and morgues to their capacities. Our economies and infrastructures are struggling. Life changed in an instant and, for most of us, this is something new to navigate. Our livelihoods have been challenged in an unprecedented way.
Though we are in uncharted territory, we are still fortunate to live in a country where there are social protections and systems in place, allowing us to bear through that uncertainty. But for many around the world, the virus may be another blow to an already precarious livelihood. Social distancing can be nearly impossible in places where there are over-crowded slums or packed minivans used for transport. Medical facilities may not have the equipment or medicines needed to treat patients and reaching them may be difficult for those living in remote areas. Some of those facilities may not have running water or electricity, making treatment challenging. A lack of access to clean water and soap eliminates the ability to wash your hands for 20 seconds. For subsistence farmers or day laborers, their next meal often relies on their daily income. There is no option to zoom into a meeting from their living room. The opportunity to stockpile food is non-existent. There are no benefits from the government to assist wages for lost income. All of these challenges were not created by a virus but a daily reality for many and a virus would only further exasperate them.
As we are living with so much fear and concern, let us not forget those continually facing the possibility of destroyed livelihoods. When we become fearful of the future and its challenges, remember that others around the world are experiencing similar feelings: a sense of instability and uncertainty. As we come together as a nation and eventually recover from this storm, let us not forget the many that are still battling, whether it’s from a virus or another disaster. Our daily lives will eventually resume and it’s easy to move on, grateful for our own recovery. Our world may move forward but many will still be living on the brink and as we regain our footing, let us not forget to help others regain theirs too.
Photo Credit: Amanda Prather, Tearfund Ireland. Image used with permission of Marion Medical Mission.