Covid in Greece by Carol P. Christ


Greece is on nationwide lockdown due to a surge in Covid cases in the fall. What does this mean? For three weeks until December 1, we can leave home only for essential reasons which include: going to a nearby supermarket; visiting the doctor or pharmacy; going to banks or public utility offices; helping someone in need; traveling to work if working from home is not possible; attending a funeral; traveling to see children when parents are separated; leaving home for physical exercise or to care for pets or strays. Masks must be worn at all times outside the house; SMS must be sent to a national number listing the reason for leaving home or a paper must be carried with the same information; a special document is required for work listing hours; the fine for violation is 300 euros and police are enforcing this, particularly in the cities. Restaurants and bars are closed; only a few categories of shops are open. A curfew from 12 am to 5 am was extended to begin at 9 pm; this is because young people have been congregating outside in groups. Travel in Greece is restricted; visits to second homes are not allowed. Primary schools are open, but secondary schools are using internet. Similar restrictions were in place in March and April in Greece and the country had one of the lowest virus rates in the world until recently. The hope is that the lockdown will stem the spread of the virus and that the restrictions will be lifted before the holidays.

This situation contrasts with the United States where the President has refused to acknowledge the extent of the health crisis or to take measures to restrict the spread of the Covid virus.

How does it feel to be on lockdown? It is lonely. As I live on my own, I particularly miss being able to meet friends in restaurants, and even getting together in our homes is not possible. For me visits from the cleaning lady who is also helping me to finish unpacking after my move and from workmen who are completing the final renovations on my apartment provide welcome human contact. Thank goodness for Skype and Messenger. I spend many hours each day talking to friends, and it makes a difference to be able to see their faces.

A friend in America and I connect each day to do the Yoga Moon Salutation together. We recite the words created to accompany it by Laura Cornell which begin: “I stand tall heart open to the world, body full and present in all of its beauty.” It is amazing how wonderful that makes us each feel.

Last week my landline stopped working. I thought it was the batteries in my cordless phone. The local supermarket did not have rechargeable batteries and my builder could not find them at the hardware store open to him because it is necessary for his work. I feared I would be without a landline for the duration of the lockdown, but luckily a friend found batteries for me at his supermarket, and writing that he was visiting someone in need, delivered them. Unfortunately, the phone still did not work.

I continued to have internet access for several days and then it too went out. On a trip to the minimarket across the street, I discovered that phone and internet had been out in my neighborhood all week, probably due to the torrential rains. I was assured that it would all be fixed by midday. It was not. I could not even report this to the phone company as all of their lines were busy. Finally, the friend who brought me the batteries used his internet to make a written report about the lack of service. I received a message on my cell phone that they were still trying to fix the problems in my neighborhood. Since I depend on internet to pass my time and for human contact, I was distraught. But my friend told me that I could set up a mobile hot spot on my cell phone and connect it to the computer. Luckily for me, I was able to take advantage of a special offer for unlimited data/internet on my phone for 30 days; otherwise the cost would have been prohibitive.

Despite all of these difficulties, I am glad that I live in a country that is imposing measures to halt the spread of the virus. And I am relieved that the United States will soon have a President who takes the Covid crisis seriously.

Carol P. Christ is an internationally known feminist and ecofeminist writer, activist, and educator who lives in Heraklion, Crete. Carol’s recent book is Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology. Carol has been leading Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete for over twenty years: join her in Crete. Carol’s photo by Michael Honneger.

Listen to Carol’s a-mazing interview with Mary Hynes on CBC’s Tapestry recorded in conjunction with her keynote address to the Parliament of World’s Religions.



Categories: Feminism and Religion

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9 replies

  1. Excellent article, Carol.

    Amidst the frustrations that do come up, those things like your Yoga Moon Salutation are important. I always had At least one daily ritual before, usually 2-3, and valued them immensely. Come COvid, and my Don’t Waste Trouble Gene perks up, I face into the issues, and learn how to adapt to laugh in the storms. Then, I discover as the chaff and snake skins of things no longer really necessary peel away, I do not immensely value those 1-3 daily rituals… they become sacred daily disciplines of the ritual that connect with my very Being, my Self that I intensely find Natural and necessary like breath. They become autonomic practiced until the mind forgets and the body remembers… and, then I add the 4th ritual. Scan my friends out there. I ask, “Who haven’t I heard from in the longest?” I check in with that person, couple, or family, see how they are doing and what’s up for them. Just one add a day. Not too much, though ants tend to move mountains a grain of sand at a time. And, though I MIGHT not have the endurance of an ant, I have yet prove that I don’t. I will keep reaching out into myself with daily ritual to connect further, daily, and daily reach out to connect to make sure people on the periphery can stay building back in to community as well so none of us float off into space.

    Thank you for your post. I have written the above in pieces and parts, though it felt resonant to allow it to all come together in the community of a several simple ideas I have now come to cherish.

    Blessings,
    Jordan

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Interesting to hear, Carol. The lockdown still doesn’t sound as strict as the one NZ had, and you will get through it and hopefully halt the spread. Good luck and stay healthy!

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  3. Dear Carol, wishing you Grace and Ease through all of this. Thank Goddess for your helpful friend, and helpful special internet deals. It is so sad what is happening in the US with Covid. I can’t imagine Australian heads of State playing golf while those in their “care” are dying at such a rate. Biden and Harris are inheriting something already way out of control.
    Anyway best to you, and hope you are being well.
    Glenys

    Liked by 2 people

  4. What is happening in this country is deplorable – The economy still takes all. In Maine that once had one of the lowest incidences of the virus has exploded and restrictions have been placed on folks coming into the state – but the economy is in stage four of re -opening – I can’t help wondering how important the economy will be when most are dead. Since I personally have chosen to be in lockdown ever since I came home ( have emphysema ) I have become somewhat used to the isolation but ever so grateful for Zoom and use of the internet inside, and all of nature outside. Early morning “meditations” I write spontaneously and post for the public with pictures of ordinary things like running brooks, or setting up my tree to honor all evergreens… what I have discovered is that this practice helps me to begin my day in the present – and often, on days like this one I feel enormous gratitude.

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  5. Bummer! Being forced to stay home and then having even your most basic means of communication (phone and internet) going unworkable must have made you enormously frustrated. But you sound calm. Good for you.

    A president who goes out golfing while people all over the U.S. are suffering and dying because the government isn’t doing anything to help us and said president doesn’t care for anything except his own ego? Double bummer!

    Here’s a laugh. At 6:30 this morning (half an hour before I get out of bed), my phone started ringing. It said the caller was “United St Govt.” What on earth?? And it was a 202 area code, which is D.C. I stopped it, then blocked it the number. Official spam?? Between pandemic and politics, the world has gone nuts.

    Bright blessings to us all that we can remain sane and do our daily spiritual practices and keep at least talking to our friends. Let’s all take good care of ourselves. Carol, I hope you’re feeling better.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m so sorry to hear about all your difficulties! Know that we are all thinking about you. Even in my state, which did a good job of getting the virus under control early in the pandemic is having daily infection rates 10x higher than this summer. This speaks to your earlier post with information about the importance of the upcoming Senate races in Georgia. Having a Democratic majority in the Senate will make COVID relief legislation so much more likely. Take care!

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  7. Most of us in the U.S. who are older (and believe in science) are living in modified lockdown. I’m grateful for my daily walk, even yesterday when it was 35° F. and extremely windy. I’m grateful for my daily meditation. I’m grateful for zooming with friends, First Unitarian activities, and family. And I’m grateful that in a few months we will have a President who cares about other people. I’m also extremely grateful that my spouse lives with me, so that I’m not as alone as I might be.

    Thanks for this post, Carol. I hope your communications technology gets fixed quickly, so that you can connect with those you love. And that you are healing rapidly as well.

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  8. Hi Carol, thank you for your post about your situation in Greece, I am kind of familiar with it, since my German friend had to go to Greece trying to solve legal matters about her diseased Greek husband. I am just throwing this out to you, in case you haven’t considered this option yet…. how about using Whats App on your phone, it is free, you can call, text and do video calls all over the countries, USA and Europe.. As I am using this all the time to connect with my friends in the world, especially Germany from here the US where I live. Just a thought. Stay safe and be well in this lockdown. Greetings from Cornelia

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  9. South Africa, where I live on the side of the Drakensberg mountains in Limpopo, went on hard lock down in March. Similar to yours in Greece but with the added restriction of NO alcohol or cigarette sales which added unnecessary hardship to an already difficult time. I am not a smoker but found the alcohol ban hard as I like a glass of wine at the end of the day. I had to learn to make pineapple wine… not very successfully I must admit :-) Yet none of this compared to my disappointment that my retrospective exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum, “Majak Bredell: the New York years 1981-2003” had to shut down a mere week after its opening! All that hard work entombed in the darkened galleries behind locked doors. So I returned to my studio on the mountain and buried myself in my creative work. Eventually the hard lock down ended late in August, and the museum, having cancelled all their programs for the rest of the year, decided to keep my exhibition up until mid-January. A blessing in disguise.
    I wish you strength during this difficult time…

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