Today I want to share a little story with you which tells about the beautiful little flowers coming from this difficult time.
I live on the third floor in a 6-parties apartment house. Five parties, including me and my roommates are PhD students or people around their 30ties with different cultural backgrounds. We share a neighborhood chat to communicate about household stuff like the occupancy of the washing machine, etc., but otherwise don't interact that much with each other because usually everybody is busy and has their own life. You know how it is. The only non-digital older party is an elderly lady on the second floor who has her own washing machine. Usually we don't have a lot of contact either unless we happen to go out at the same time and so we chat for a minute or two about general things. This however changed now.
Since the elderly lady belongs to the risk group, I called her up on the day of our "lockdown" and offered my help. I learned from her that also the neighbor on my floor already offered his help to her. Later that day, I encountered my neighbor from the first floor. She asked me whether I would like to build a social aid team with her, especially for the elderly lady but also other maybe vulnerable people in the house.
We all had the same idea!
What happened next is that the non-digital elderly lady attached a letter to her door thanking us all for offering our help, promising that she will let us know with a little letter at her door in case she needs something. I took a picture of the letter and sent it to our neighborhood chat. Everybody was happy to know that the lady accepted our help. Yesterday I noticed another letter at her door: "I am healthy and well, just the dry air in the apartment makes me cough and sneeze, but don't worry, it's not corona :). I put my car outside yesterday. If anybody needs it for a bigger shopping tour, let me know". We offered our help and she offered her help! I took a picture and sent it to the neighborhood chat. Everybody was moved by the message of the lady.
This "lockdown" situation has turned our apartment house, where all the parties usually went their separate ways and barely knew each others' names, into a community which takes care of its members. We communicated with each other and overcame technical hurdles to do so. Every time I go down the stairs to empty the letter box or to wash something, it's a joy to discover whether or not our elderly lady attached another letter for us at her door.
Corona separates in a way. But at the same time, it gives us the possibility to grow together. It all starts with one seed we all bare in ourselves, I find. Can you guess which one I mean?