I WOKE up to find this in my Facebook Messenger—all the way from Tatiana “Tati” Orgulloso from Colombia. The time stamp says 1:53 am. I was already asleep.
Right off the bat, she asked me, “Hi Ben, I hope you are well when you read this. Please let me know how are you and what’s going on with your health please.”
Tati is one of the hispanohablantes I befriended in my foreign travels and added to my Facebook friends to practice and brush up my rusty Spanish. But her reply was in English.
“Here is beginning. My roommate works with a girl with the flu. We are worried about it. Our health system in Colombia is really bad.” (sic)
I Googled Covid-19 on Spanish speaking counties. This is the advisory that the US Embassy in Spain and Andorra recently released:
“In an effort to contain the spread of Covid-19, governments across Europe continue to close land borders, limiting the movement of individuals and transportation. Limited international commercial flights remain available at the airports in Madrid and Barcelona. U.S. citizens are urged to work directly with their airlines, by phone, online, or app, to arrange flights should they wish to depart Spain.
On March 14, the Spanish government implemented a State of Alarm and issued a countrywide Royal Decree, valid for 15 days, that severely limits all movement and most commercial activity in effort to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus.”
Then from FAO I got this:
“Among the measures taken by the governments of many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean in the face of the rapid expansion of the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is the closure of schools and, therefore, the suspension of school feeding programs.
These programs currently benefit 85 million children in Latin America and the Caribbean. For about 10 million, they constitute one of the most reliable daily sources of food.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the suspension of school feeding programs will pose a challenge to the food security and nutritional status of many children, especially those from the most vulnerable groups.
Ensuring sufficient, diverse and nutritious food contributes to strengthening people’s immune system and increases their capacities to cope with diseases,” explained FAO’S Regional Representative, Julio Berdegué.
The news isn’t that good. Spain has become the fourth most virus-infected country in the world, surpassing South Korea with a sharp curve of contagion, and closing its borders is a “real possibility” being considered.
¡Muy malo! (very bad)! There is nowhere to go.