Tag Archives: corona virus

Fight, Flight or Hide: Danger, Covid-19, A Rant

North Carolina rates of infection are on the rise. We are in the Bruised Red, Uncontrolled Category. This is alarming. We may not be in the Top 5 outbreaks in the Southern States, but we are inching there. Wherever we are, whomever we are, we are at risk. And, in the face of what we perceive as danger, our normal response — according to the mental health experts — is to either run away or fight.

These days, many of us are also in hiding. I should be in hiding because I’m a fighter with a loud voice. No amount of precautions help me. No mask wearing. No frequent washing and using hand sanitizer. No six-feet of social distancing. Mostly because others don’t adhere to the guidelines.

NC Governor Roy Cooper extended Stay at Home Orders on July 16 to August 7, 2020. This includes:

WHEREAS, in Executive Order No. 141, issued on May 20, 2020, the undersigned urged that all people in North Carolina follow social distancing recommendations, including that everyone wear a cloth face covering, wait six (6) feet apart and avoid close contact, and wash hands often or use hand sanitizer; to reduce COVID-19 spread.

I made a mistake today. I went food shopping mid-Sunday morning to the Harris-Teeter supermarket in my Durham neighborhood. Why? I promised to help a friend.

Most were behaving pretty well. Everyone was masked. I stopped to allow people to pass me and made a wide swing around others when there was space. There were definitely more people in the store than at 8 a.m. on Mondays and Thursday, The Senior Hour.

In Produce, I hovered around the potatoes, onions and squash eyeing the best before touching. Okay. I’m not Speedy Gonzalez. A late 20’s-something (hard to tell with the mask on) swooped in three inches from me to pick an onion.

Excuse me, he said, as he reached in front of me, body leaning in my direction.

I said, incredulously, What are you doing? You are supposed to stay six feet away!

I said Excuse Me, he said, and turned his back on me, setting off.

Excuse me doesn’t cut it, I screamed through my mask. Do you think he heard me. I kept shouting, You are supposed to stay six feet away.

He went to another aisle, stone faced. I noticed he had a very short cropped haircut, shaved close to the neck. I wondered if that meant anything.

How dare you? I continued across the expanse of strawberries, peaches and blueberries, as if that would help lower my anxiety. Everyone else stayed far away.

I’m scary, right. I scream Stay Away.

Now, I’m smarter than this. I should know better than to go out food shopping on Sunday, when Duke students are starting to return, when the weekend habit of procuring vittles is ingrained in many.

There would have been any number of online choices: Instacart has been a delivery mainstay with choices such as Sprouts, Fresh Market and Durham Food Co-op. I have also shopped for pick-up at Harris-Teeter and at Whole Foods. I reconciled my decision based on some specialty needs for my friend.

Meanwhile, I must forgive myself, do better to calculate risk and remember to #stayinhiding and #staysafe and depend more on available services. I must stay conscious.

Life depends on it.

Oaxaca COVID19 Report: Moving Command Post to Durham, NC

I’m sitting in the Los Angeles International Airport starting my transit from son Jacob’s house in Huntington Beach, CA, to home in Durham, NC. LAX is nearly empty. There are eight United flights operating out of here today. Half are international. I’m connecting through Denver.

My thinking was to get to NC while air travel is still very light, the airports are empty, and while NC Governor Roy Cooper (D) has a stay-at-home order in place until May 8. Calculating all the risks, this seemed like a reasonable decision. I was to be on a one-week visit with my son, from Oaxaca to NC on May 12. Having mom for a roommate long-term was not in the plan! But we did pretty darn good.

There is lots to update you about our Oaxaca Mask Project. We are distributing to many more villages and continue to make masks there and send some from here. But this will need to wait until I get safely through the day and settled in to the Durham apartment.

It’s after noon here. I’ll get home after midnight. It feels strange, after having spent the last seven weeks plus two days with my boy.

The strangest is that my first encounter at LAX was the unmasked TSA agent who came over to inspect me after I sent the alarm off at the security machine. True to form, I stopped her in her approach. My son would be proud.

Why wear lipstick when it will only stain face mask? Me and Jacob.

Where’s your mask? I asked. You can’t inspect me without a mask. She went off and someone else took her place. The bins where I was told to put my carry-ons, unload my computer and laptop, place handbag and back-pack, jacket, shoes, were dirty. Everything got a thorough spray with alcohol before I unloaded them and put them on. I sprayed carry on bag, too.

I’m taking no chances.

Everyone, all 17 of us in the boarding area, is not wearing face coverings. Maybe 15% aren’t. I guess that’s a pretty good percentage, even though we hear that people here don’t have fear — just like in Mexico. Flight attendant passes. Her face mask is hanging from her chin. I just can’t be the coronavirus police.

Talk to you tomorrow, hopefully.

The Oaxaca Mask Project: Sew and Give to Keep Oaxaca Safe

Dear Friends: If you sew masks in the USA, I am expanding The Mask Project to ask you to mail me masks as a donation to keep Oaxaca safe. Our intention is to give out a FREE mask to all who will wear one in the city and surrounding villages — market and street vendors, customers, NGOs to distribute to their constituency. This will require a lot of masks!

How? You mail masks to me in Huntington Beach, California. I will collect the masks, put hang-tags on them explaining use, and send them via DHL to Oaxaca for distribution. When you SEND ME AN EMAIL, I will send you the mailing address. Thank you.

Send me an email to participate.

We are building a distribution network now — people on the ground who will go out and encourage mask-wearing. The government has mandated that everyone wear masks. Their use is not widespread. Perhaps this is because masks are hard to find. Perhaps, it is an unfamiliar practice. Perhaps it is because some people may not believe the gravity of the virus. We are in novel times.

Our job is to educate and disseminate. Our job is to help Oaxaca and her people. We can do this from afar, too.

Send me an email to participate.

I accept gifts of masks of any quantity, starting at ONE. The more the better!

Don’t make masks? Make a gift.

If you don’t sew, send a gift of money to support the effort to buy and ship masks. Send to: paypal.me/oaxacaculture We are buying masks made in Mexico — in Oaxaca and Patzcuaro, too — to fill the need. This necessitates money. Please give what you can. You can also send direct via PayPal to my account there — use Send to Family and Friends: oaxacaculture@me.com

Mask made by Rocio Bastida Cruz, San Felipe del Agua, Oaxaca

What the hang tags will say:

Protégete de la infeccion viral COVID19. Cada vez que salgas de tu casa usa un cubre bocas. ¡Si te cuidas tu, nos cuidas a nosotros!

Protect yourself from coronavirus. Each time you leave your house use a face mask. It protects you and all of us!

Thanks, Janet Chavez Santiago, for the translation.

Rocio in her workshop

We are using hang tags as an educational tool because many people do not believe there is a virus. It is something they can’t see. Many are uneducated. Many are poor and need to continue working to feed their families. Most have no savings to carry them through. Our help has no judgment.

Send me an email to participate.

Whatever you can do to help will be greatly appreciated.

Rocio’s Story

Rocio Bastida Cruz is a professional seamstress. She worked in a clothing store in Colonia Reforma and recently lost her job. Dave Crosley encouraged her to start making masks. She uses high quality cotton, double faced and elastic ear bands. She explains that to make the cubre bocas, she cuts two 17x20cm pieces of fabric. Everything is double stitched and ironed. She can make 450-500 mouth covers per week. My goal is to employ her and distribute this quantity or more per week, and perhaps she can hire on others to help her. This also expands employment opportunities for those who have lost their jobs.

Thank you for helping!

Dave Crosley is helping Rocio develop her mask-making business

#QuidateEnCasa: In Oaxaca, Stay Home Order Cancels Good Friday

Stay Safe at Home. Today, on Good Friday, I immediately think of the 1964 Simon & Garfunkel song, The Sounds of Silence, knowing that the traditional Semana Santa celebrations in Oaxaca and my town, Teotitlan del Valle, have been cancelled. For religion to be cancelled in Mexico, this is a very serious time!

On April 8, the Oaxaca Public Health Service (on Twitter: @SSO_GobOax) reported 37 positive cases of COVID-19, one death, and that 17 people who were diagnosed recuperated. These numbers are probably misleading since testing is not in place, just as the numbers are inaccurate in the USA, too. Reporting from remote villages is spotty at best. Comments on the Twitter feed note that numbers do not specify particular Oaxaca regions, like the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, for example. People are questioning.

The over-arching message is #STAYHOME.

Altar to spring greens and new life, Semana Santa — Easter

Oaxaca celebrates Good Friday in silence. This is usually a big day, one of the biggest on the annual religious festival calendar. A traditional day of processing through the streets to re-enactment the Stations of the Cross journey of Jesus to Mount Calvary along the Via Dolorosa — the Way of Pain.

A European-style procession brought by the Conquistadores

In Teotitlan del Valle, the community radio station broadcasts in both Spanish and Zapotec, the indigenous language of the village. It is the first language for most. Everyone is urged to stay home. All public celebrations related to Easter here have been canceled, starting with Lunes Santo (Holy Monday) and the church is closed. I replied to @TeotitlanDValle on Twitter that this was very good news, indeed.

We never heard of Social Distancing — Sana Distancia — when I took these photos

I have family and dear friends here. I want them to be safe.

Today, the church in Barrio Jalatlaco, from Winn Kalmon

My friend Shannon published a post today, Silent Good Friday, with her collection of past photos of the celebration in the city. You might enjoy seeing these.

There will be no onlookers in 2020 — the Age of COVID-19

In these days, silence is a good thing.

Stay healthy, everyone.

Watching the procession

Quarantine in Huntington Beach, California–COVID-19 Report

Saturday, April 4, 2020–I’ve been here for over three weeks. Jacob and I have been in quarantine since Sunday, March 29. We will be free on Sunday, April 12. That is, if we continue to show no coronavirus symptoms. So far, so good. How and why?

This virus is spreading like wildfire. Much closer than six degrees of separation. More like, one or two degrees of separation. Let’s just say that someone close to us may have been exposed. May have is the operative word here. The one who may have been the transmitter showed suspected symptoms but fully recovered after a three-day series of antibiotics. Is it coronavirus? Who knows? They weren’t going to waste a test on the 12-year old without him presenting with severe respiratory breathing difficulties.

Wetlands walk, temporary mask. Others making a wide berth around me.

Meanwhile, we aren’t taking any chances, so we are in isolation, me and Jacob, the someone close to us, and the other someones close to this person.

Let’s go back to What does free on Sunday, April 12 mean? Just in time for Easter? Despite misguided national direction, not science, services for the masses inside a church are just not going to happen. Just in time for Passover? Not around a Seder table in real time, for sure.

Paid 5x retail to get one. Kinsa. Our daily morning temps read normal.

I have begged my son to be let out to make a quick sweep through Ralph’s supermarket or CVS Pharmacy, just for the social connection [before we went into quarantine]. No, mom, he said. I am obedient. And, I know how to grouse. Please note: This is not a bird.

For now, my interaction is virtual. Likely yours is, too. I’m visiting with: Ralph’s. Amazon. INDIO for incense. MINNA for home goods. Office Depot. eBay. QVC. The Sock Maker by Melanie Koenig. Face masks from Hikawa Studio LLC. Hi, how are you doing today?

Cozy hand-knit socks from The Sock Maker, Melanie Koenig

I need FOOD. The delivery of FOOD to the front door. Perishables (like steak and cottage cheese and almond yogurt and lettuce. Yes, God, please, something green.) A book: Bless Me, Ultima. A Leonard Baskin Haggadah (we will use rice crackers for matzo, salsa for charoset). A microwave oven to replace the one I broke on Day Four with fastest delivery from QVC. A printer for mailing labels. Fitbit batteries. Jewelry making supplies (stay tuned).

And, of course, to improve the aesthetic of a bachelor pad, cozy sofa pillows and a faux wicker side table for the deck (ordered with bachelor review and agreement, lest his mother take over).

Bailey Hikawa making a face mask

On-line, I’m making donations to restaurant workers’ relief funds, immigrant hunger programs, and Chiapas human rights.

My North Carolina girlfriends are having a standing weekly cocktail hour. In the age of social distancing, we are learning a new form of relationship, five of us on-screen, each a minuscule square, drink in hand, each taking a turn at the wheel, so to speak. (I’m rationing my mezcal.)

Sometimes, it feels like we need a moderator! It’s never like that in real life. But this is real time, if not real life. The rules of social engagement are changing. We are learning how to navigate a virtual world that is pioneering. En masse, we yearn for burgers together at Alley 26 and ramen at Dashi.

Content to be with Great White Egrets

What are we learning from this?

For me, being on-screen with friends and family is a privilege, a luxury, because we have access to technology. But, it does not substitute for human, face-to-face interaction, a hug or a kiss, the comfort of being close.

What do you think? How are you coping with isolation and distancing? How will this change us?

Back to, What does free on Sunday, April 12 mean? We are practicing the ritual of isolation. I am getting used to it now. Not much will change. Jacob will return to seeing his girlfriend. I may buy a plane ticket soon to get to North Carolina in mid-May — if, the virus outbreak there has flattened like it has here in California because of early social distancing and face covering mandates. Thank you, Governor Newsom!

One can only hope!

California coast wetlands trail. Distant horizon.