A COVID-19 snapshot

This is a WhatsApp exchange with a friend from another SEA country. I felt like I should put it up here because it holds in suspended animation this unprecedented time in human history.

Even though it’s hard to imagine, I know that things will return to normalcy and that we will look back at this time in 5, 20, a 100+ years from now.


Good morning Joel. Long time no see or talk! I hope you and your family are well. What’s the situation like there in Pune? Have you been hit by Covid-19? I could update you quickly on our situation here in Manila.

Our government is taking no chances and is enforcing what’s called an “enhanced community quarantine.” Everyone is to stay home. Every night there is a curfew, from 8pm to 5am, to further limit the movement of people. We’re taking the policy of social distancing quite seriously.

The β–†β–†β–†β–† leadership has also directed the members not to meet in the time being. We are now using a lot of social media and other communication platforms to stay in touch, have prayer meetings, and share our faith online.

Thank God for social media and the technology (such as video conferencing) to keep in touch with one another, even if we can’t get together physically!

Our upcoming major β–†β–†β–†β–† events, all through Easter, are canceled for the same precautionary reasons, and also because in many cases the public facility is closed down anyway.

Classes are called off for a month, so I suddenly have more time than I’m used to.

Masses are also not being publicly held. Yesterday morning we tuned in to a live-streaming of a Mass at the Manila Cathedral. It wasn’t bad, and we even had communion from the consecrated hosts kept in our adoration chapel.

Overall we’re learning how to live with this strange and unprecedented situation. Our hope is to ride out the storm with serenity and peace, by the grace of God. Living with the brothers is a blessing during these unusual times, and the brothers and sisters in community are such a comfort. While everything is so uncertain, we are given this opportunity to be even more full of faith, hope and love.

Keep well, my brother. Let us keep praying for one another. God is merciful. πŸ™


Hey bro β–†β–†β–†β–†! It’s so nice hearing from you!

A lot of what you said applies in Pune too – we’re attending Masses virtually, we’re doing community meetings via video calls, and our government has imposed a strictly enforced 100% curfew in the country. No going out at all for the next 3 weeks (at the minimum). Getting supplies has been challenging, but not impossible, but I can’t imagine how the situation is for the poorest members of society who don’t have the same level of access to supermarkets and chemists (these are the only places, alongside hospitals, that are allowed to be operational).

Maharashtra is the most affected state in the country, and Mumbai is the most affected city in MH, followed closely by Pune. We have about 215 confirmed cases here but the isolation seems to have slowed down the rate of infection. Either that or the number of tests are not as high as they should be.

Anyway, basically the economy is on pause, people (who can) have been asked to work from home. There’s a lot of uncertainty, restlessness and hopelessness because of the isolation and loss of income.

I have been home for the past couple of weeks, working my usual hours every day because my company is a remote-ready company (thank God!) I’m not sure if you know but I didn’t do well enough in my MBA entrance exams to get into a university of my choice, so I decided to go back to work to my previous company. They were happy to have me back and even offered a half-time (4 hours a day) job profile that pays very well. I can comfortably manage the KKP men’s household that I have been leading, spend time with family, go to work, attend community/outreach meetings and still get paid a good salary at the end of it. God is good.

I can imagine it being a great (if subdued) time of bonding for you bros at β–†β–†β–†β–†. You bros are in my prayers. I am a bit bummed that β–†β–†β–†β–†’s India plans are potentially cancelled, but I know it’s only a matter of time before I see them again.

Please say hi and pass my love to β–†β–†β–†β–† for me πŸ™‚


Part deux: A c***d snapshot (II) – Joel’s Weblog (joelabreo227.me)