Juanda’s untold story of love and hope in the times of pandemic

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Malaga, Spain – May, 2020

I’m scared: of catching it, of spreading it, of losing anyone else in the family. This virus has no treatment, it’s like throwing firecrackers at a concrete wall. I don’t live in fear, but I’m scared. I’ve seen my father get infected and leave us in a mere 26 days. He was a healthy 68-year-old man, with no pre-existing health conditions. He just went from his house to his farm and that was it. We still don’t understand how. He didn’t use public transportation; he wasn’t exposed to anything. My mother was negative in every COVID-test. I’m having a really hard time but working helps because it clears my mind. I’ve been really bummed out, but since I’ve got back to work, I’ve changed my attitude, I get home in a different mood.

Being active and in a workplace where I’ve been for 15 years is supportive to this very complicated situation, it helps me a lot. When something like this happens, feeling the support of the organization you work for is very important. And it is complicated to work in this situation. The facemask is very uncomfortable and more so for my line of work, near the oven where the grilles come out at 180°C. My glasses fog up, but I always wear them since I don’t want to take any chances. Nowadays, I just leave home for work and when I get back, I change my clothes on the porch, before I step in.

I take off my work clothes and go straight to the shower. I just do the shopping twice a month. It’s been a real shock, but I’m getting a lot of support and everyone is being very considerate. Back in the workplace, when we sit outside at lunchtime, the guys never bring up COVID-19, they do so out of respect for my father. They talk about different topics so that I may forget for a moment about the situation. And I notice, I appreciate that very much, that they support me a lot. I consider many of them not just coworkers, but friends. We used to hang out before this situation, frequently. I have gotten support messages and calls from all of them. Geez they are like family to me. I just hope that I don ́t affect their mood a lot.

On the other hand, the work pace and orders keep coming in, and we all try to stay positive. Just like in the previous economic crisis, if we must face another one, I will be there to help, as the company has been there for me. And I’m convinced that all of this will strengthen us, prepare us even better and make us more respectful towards others. Personally, I think we will appreciate what we have more. Because life is too short. Friends, family. Now, I talk to them each day, I call my sister and my mother very often, and I appreciate these things even more, things that seemed silly to me before. Now I listen carefully to every word my mother says when she calls me and when this is all over, I will go see her every day. Now I can’t stop saying I love you.

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