A short comment about ESC projects during the corona crisis and how it affected and still affects the life of a volunteer.
The corona crisis changed and changes our world. The economy got a break down and the social life of every person turned into a maximum of just a few contacts. And it’s still there. In some parts of the world, people still live with hard restrictions which affect everyone. In other parts we are coming back to a normalization.
Of course, also the project of the European Solidarity Corps is affected by that. To send volunteers all around Europe is even more difficult if there is no plane or train which brings you to your new country. One logical step was, of course, to postpone the upcoming projects for the moment. Even harder was the situation for volunteers who arrived shortly before the crisis came up.
I had that pleasure to have the first case. I had already booked my flights when the European countries closed their borders. That means that there was no flight anymore which I could take to get from Germany to Latvia. Difficult situation because now your project will be postponed but you don’t know if it will ever happen.
My French roommates were already in Latvia and had to accept to stay at home from now on. One of them arrived a few weeks before the crisis came up. That means if I ask him if he has already visited the local sights, I always get the answer: “No because of the lockdown I couldn’t”. I got this answer for a few times.
After a few months of waiting I’m finally here. The coronavirus is still there and we have to be careful. But the situation has changed. In the three Baltic countries (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) to travel is allowed. Restaurants and bars are open. Also, the mandatory face mask in public transport is not mandatory anymore. There are still some cases showing up but in common the situation is calmer than it was before a few months. If you walk through the streets of Latvia’s capital Riga you feel like nothing happened. People are having fun together. No more social distancing. The only thing which brings you maybe to think about if there is something happened is the hand-sanitizer in the supermarkets. The question now is how fast should we go back to a normal life? No-one wants to have a second wave.