These past few weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster. I own and operate a small tour operator that focuses on safaris and expeditions in South, Central and East Africa. Coronavirus reached South Africa at the beginning of the month and the infection rate of the virus acted as the catalyst of a drastic series of events for the country, including a travel ban, follows by a total lockdown as of today. The uniqueness about this situation however, has been the overall reaction in which these measures have been met: acceptance. Acceptance that this must be done to protect those most vulnerable; lives must be saved. Acceptance that it is our duty to help and share the burden.

My dad’s favorite Italian saying goes “calma e sangue freddo” which roughly translates to “keep calm and keep your blood cold”; it has become our mantra in the last while.
Within the drama and uncertainty of the future, I have also tried to take in the humor; after all, laughing can boost the immune system. I have gone through the deafening silence of a shaken worldwide tourism industry, I have gone through the panic stages of an uncertain future. I have also gone through bouts of optimism, and optimism is what I’m choosing to hold on to; this too will pass and it’s within our reach help carry the wight of the world, currently sitting on the shoulders all health care workers worlwide.

I have despaired, thought about learning how to crawl along the walls, been laughed at endlessly for not knowing how to color within the lines but I in all this, I have also deeply come to understand that controlling how we feel, especially when we’re about to despair, can benefit us and those around us. Panic will only spread more panic (and apparently a worldwide need to hoard toilet paper). We are a global community and now more than ever, it has become apparent that we are all interconnected in this wide web of global events. If we chose so, we can bring support and solidarity around us during these trying times instead of only panic and fake news.

I have witnessed many cases of people offering to help those who need it in exchange of nothing; I have seen people go out of their way to be there for someone else, perhaps even a stranger. I have seen people around me (and far away from me), help and support others in the small ways they can. This has made all the difference in keeping me sane, in keeping me believing in the goodness of people shining through hardships.

“Doing a transfer tomorrow, if you can contribute to fuel that would be great. Otherwise don’t worry we got you”

“Just sending you love today Ale Cat! (and always) If you need company/sounding board/a rant/anything at all, please know that you can call me! x x”

“I am a teacher, if you need help in explaining how the e-learning platform will work for your kids, please feel free to contact me on…”

“We ran out of powder, our company is using our 3D printers to print face masks for health workers. Our new batch of powder will arrive only on Friday, if you have any to spare, contact us”

“We joined an initiative to create a bot to help via whatsapp people that might be affected by the virus. That way everyone has access to the correct information and procedure”

….the list goes on.

I find it has been the little random acts of good that has had the most impact. In this modern world we have families and friends scattered across lands, and we are all relying on strangers to do the right thing, to keep us going when it has become a bit more difficult.

It’s not the time for parties, gatherings, meetings and ignoring sound advice. It’s the time to face this together and understand now that what you chose to do today can and will, impact a life many lives.

My brothers live in northern Italy where the virus has brought a colossal death toll and were hospital beds are short. Even though they are about to go crazy because they’ve been locked down at home for 3 weeks, they are rising to the task and doing their part and helping those in their community. Not a day goes by where don’t worry about them in the midst of this crisis.

My grandparents are older, and I would hate for them to get infected because of someone not seeing the value in their lives and claim that “Darwin” had a point.

I’ve had an immunosuppressed niece. Her well-being and life which is so dearly precious to me and everyone around her, is dependent on the society in which she lives.

If the virus hasn’t hit close to home, it might.  A stranger down the road is someone dear to someone else. We are all relying on the kindness of strangers for the lives that matter to us. If you can, rise to the occasion and be kind to a stranger. Stay in,  don’t spread panic, control how you feel, support those in need.
This might just be the biggest test to our humanity.

12 Comments on “Calma e sangue freddo”

  1. Ale – your beautiful words made me cry. I hope one day to travel with you. As you said #weareallinthistogether! Virtual hug 🤗 being sent to you and yours

  2. Ale. Only know that John, Christine and I talk regularly about our wonderful time with you and Tristan and that we wii be back

    I am sorry to hear your family is so close to the pandemic exposure in Italy. We will pray for their protection and health and hope they are clothed with an invisible protective cloud.

    Please take care and let me know if there is anything we can do from here while we are cooped up.

    Susan Olson

    • Hi Susi, that is a very kind offering and we really appreciate it. For now we can do nothing but sit tight and follow the advice and the rules in order to try and curb this virus as soon as we can. Please make sure you stay safe and away from all the madness!

  3. God bless you Ale. I love your blogs. You always say words from the heart. These are trying times for sure and our strength is being tested. Together as a unified world we will beat this thing and begin to live our lives as we did before if we comply and show this virus it can’t beat us. Stay strong love one another and pray! You both are in my prayers. Hugs and more hugs to you and Tristan ❤️

    • Thank you. I think we have an opportunity here to act together and defeat this together and come out stronger on the other side.
      Hope you stay safe and healthy!

  4. Blessings Ale…thanks you for the continued blog and be safe…”this too shall pass”…lots of love to the both of you…xxx

  5. I thank God we now live in a time of global communication. I can remember before we had the polio virus vaccine. My mother was a nurse and lived in fear when her first child was born and there was another break out that same summer. She lived through that over again 10 years later with three children. When the vaccine was rolled out I vividly remember lines and what’s for getting it. It was a huge success. Finally after centuries we had a cure for a killing virus and debilitating virus that reached around the world. We thought but was wiped out. But it still excist in three places in the world. Unbelievable! No telling how old this virus really is. We live in such a global world now. We have the capability to communicate and share the information and research. People have stepped up their game on finding the cure. It will happen soon. We have to practice now known good health habits. Save lives

    • Absolutely. Health care practitioners and researchers are working hard at finding a vaccine and correct treatment for the virus. The least we can do is help them by doing our bit!

  6. This virus hit us head on, from a whisper in a far away land that most of us had never been to, to the avalanche here in Europe.
    Every day, we get an update about the number of people that are admitted to hospital, that have died and that are cured and gone home. The numbers are staggering, hard to believe. It feels like a horror movie at times.
    Our goodbyes to loved ones are sent through a window or not at all.
    It’s not only the elderly that are at risk, some youngsters that defied the quarantine rules are now in intensive care.
    I’m a butcher at a supermarket, I witnessed the madness of panic buying, in a few hours’ time we had no stock left.
    I keep working, every day, because I try to make a difference. Some of my colleagues are staying home, scared and I don’t blame them, we all are.
    Our community is helping each other, we go shopping for others, shops are delivering goods and so many other kind acts.
    Together we will defeat this, and we’ll be able to hug our loved ones again.

    Stay safe Ale,

    • There is always hope and hearing that people are trying to help each other out in the ways they can is always encouraging. I admire you for still showing up for work in these circumstances! As they say, we are stronger together.
      Stay healthy!

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