Thursday, April 23, 2020

Testimonies from communities about how they are being impacted by the COVID 19. Third part.

COMMUNITY OF LLANO LARGO, MUNICIPALITY OF JUTIAPA, DEPARTAMENT OF CABAÑAS 

DIFFICULTIES AND OBSERVATIONS: 

• Food supply: 
Most of the suppliers of the local stores in the community have stopped their work, so we did not find the main foods of the basic basket available, and we know that some of the families in the community live day-to-day. 

• Lack of transportation: 
People looking to buy to supply their homes with food now find it very difficult since most of the public transport stopped working weeks ago and only two pick-ups are working. It is worth mentioning that the traffic police have limited them to transporting only 12 people since they are abiding by prevention measures to avoid crowding of people, and families who have vehicles do not help the rest to move because they are afraid that the police will fine them and even take them to the detention centers as punishment. 

• Businesses have declined greatly: 
The community is known for having enterprising people. The pandemic has affected all their jobs. Those who sold food have not obtained suppliers and have closed their businesses, and even if they could find it, they would not have sustainability because now they can only sell at home. We know that this virus has affected people the same worldwide, and some of the families that received remittances have stopped receiving them, and now they have no way to support themselves and even to buy basic food. 

• We have not received help from the authorities such as the mayor’s office: 
In most of the nearby municipalities, the mayor's office has helped families with food, masks, disinfectants and other articles for daily use. 

In our municipality we have not had the same luck. We know that the government launched a program to benefit with financial aid to the neediest families in the country, although here in the community there are many people who live day to day who, unfortunately, were not benefited, and it is very sad to see that the authorities do not provide their support. 

• The fear of leaving our homes: 
Most of us are scared all the time. The police make rounds in the community many times a day, hoping to find someone outside their home to take them to the detention centers, and even when people go to their work in the fields, they are afraid because they always catch their attention. 

**One positive thing is that the families in the community are abiding by the preventive measures. There are no crowds of people and they are leaving only to carry out necessary activities. Many families in the community are very united, raising their prayers to God daily so that this pandemic ends.


TEHUISTE

The youth from the scholarship program of Tehuiste (Up and Down) present the same obstacles. 

In the case of university students, they have difficulties with the use of online platforms, as these are new systems for them; the virtual modality is being implemented in universities to avoid delay in the school cycle. However, most young people living in the countryside do not have residential internet, and they lack the technical tools and competences to work in the world of Information Technology. 

The pressure of teachers to receive regular assignments makes the situation more complicated. Most students mention the lack of tutors to clarify doubts. So it is more difficult for them to understand the topics and, therefore, the homework in general. Besides the problem of internet access, students lack computers and other means. 

The solution, for the moment, has been to do their tasks on their cell phones. Although the deadlines placed by the teachers are very short and the internet connection is constantly lost. The bad signal provided by telephone companies in the area where they live complicates the situation even more. 

On the other hand, universities, despite the central government's call to waive payments, are still requesting payment of the fees. For example, the Lutheran University has sent a message to all its students, inviting them to make their payments. In it, they are informed of the bank accounts and the places where they can make such payments. 

Everyone knows one measure to reduce contagion is to obey the state of emergency for 2 more weeks, so leaving our homes is risky since the armed forces and the PNC are on the streets controlling those who do not obey the measures implemented by the central government. 

The fact of being quarantined and not have the full freedom to leave the house, in the voice of the young people, puts one more burden on all the aforementioned problems. Most students report going through episodes of depression and discouragement, mainly with their studies. Being used to a face-to-face methodology and, suddenly, being involved in a radical change has had a negative impact on their performance in class. 

Another point is the job instability of their parents, siblings and other family members, it is a concern that generates hopelessness in their studies. The few resources they have are being used up and there is no possibility of acquiring more. 

Text quoted from Jessica Servellon "Every day that passes we have the concern of how we will survive this pandemic, my family is concerned, bewildered, since at the moment no one is working, nor do we have help; we are running out of supplies and we do not know if we will be able to acquire more, the situation is very ugly, we do not know what else to do, we cannot go out looking for work, most work places and companies are closed because of the pandemic. All that's left is to wait... and have a lot of faith that things are going to change for the better." 

No COVID-19 contagion has been confirmed in Tehuiste so far, but all government measures have changed the lives of its inhabitants. 

The transport service (Pick-up) works with irregularities, agricultural work has been drastically reduced and the supply of food at the market of San Rafael Obrajuelo, where most people get their supplies, has decreased their products and increased their prices. Free movement and market entry without proper permission and the use of a mask is prohibited. 

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