Lockdown is slowly relaxing in some countries, like France and the UK, but the pandemic is far from over in South America: “When I think about the present, I am fine, calm, content. But sometimes I think about the future and that scares me with insecurity and many doubts,” observes Belen, member of L’Arche in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Like their compatriots, members of the El Arca Argentina have been in lockdown for several months. Keeping to themselves has challenged them to find creative ways to come together and communicate: Dani says: “Here in our house there’s sometimes a surprise. A good surprise. Because I don’t know what the assistants will prepare.” Maxi agrees: “One afternoon we did a Hawaiian tea time; another day, we took a trip to the cinema—here in the house; and then we had a crazy day when we accepted a fun challenge from El Arca de Mexico and dressed up as clowns!”
Sandri is working out her programme for today: “I plan to read and pray too, and play Chin-Chon again—it’s a card game which I’ve learnt recently.” Maxi, meanwhile, is making his own plans: “I hope to do another Zoom disco. I will help clean the house, tidy my room and later I will talk to my girlfriend.”
But what will happen after lockdown?
Belen believes, “this is a time that we shouldn’t let pass. What can it teach us? Mainly I think that it is important to reflect on how we have been living and from there we need to realize how we want to live from now on.”
In the picture: Maxi and Sandra
Dani “never thought that this [pandemic] would happen in the world,” but the biggest change is the sad death of his father: “he died a few days ago. I feel a bit strange… but I am also happy because I am in peace for my dad: he is in heaven.”
Monika is simply looking forward to “going out walking the streets near our house. I haven’t been there for weeks now. I believe it will be a special feeling to spend time out there and see the faces without masks again.”
Dani, on the other hand, can’t wait “to have a party from the morning until the night. To embrace each other again. To say ‘I love you my brother, I love you my sister.’”
In the picture: Dani and Osvaldo
Some of the speakers above have an intellectual disability, some not, but that fact doesn’t seem to make any difference. In this shared experience, each person is making their own unique contribution: in a community, that is what really matters.
Find out more about the community in Buenos Aires: https://www.facebook.com/elarcaargentina, and on how you can support the community during this period: http://elarcaargentina.org/donaciones/como-ayudarnos/#recursoseco