In this video, Sonja Kapadia and Simrat Jassal, 4th year students at UVA have been working on a year-long project eGlobal Experience with UGHE.
I lead two lives, and Covid-19 has brought them together. One is a life of unknowns, and the other is marked by predictability and stability; let’s call them Unknown Life and Stable Life. Unknown Life is lived in disaster zones overseas, while Stable Life is lived here in the US. These lives converged for the first-time last month when I was deployed at an emergency field hospital in Lombardy region, Italy (one of the epicenters of the Covid-19 pandemic).
Geeta Patel leaving with Balaji. Photo credit: Anannya Dasgupta
As a med student I am accustomed to waking up at 6 AM. I take a shower, have a quick breakfast and am ready for the first class at 7 AM. I finished my day on campus around 5 PM. An entire day out of home, reading books, listening amazing stories, learning new things every day. You could say that my life circled around gaining experience from my professors and patients - typical med school experience.
Geeta Patel on the roof of the apartment. Photo Credit: Anannya Dasgupta
Coronavirus not only has disrupted our lives, but the lives of our global partners as well. Fifteen collaborative research projects in Rwanda were put on hold as the country closed its borders and imposed a tight lock down. The strategy has worked to contain COVID-19: so far about 250 cases and no deaths have been reported from Rwanda.
Photo Credit: Sergey Pesterev / Wikimedia Commons
As I sit back in my bed and write this post, I feel positive. In an alternate, non-pandemic reality, I would be excitedly assembling the remainder of my packing list to leave for Nepal. Instead, I am sitting in bed looking up pictures of the Himalayas, imagining what it would have been like if we had gotten to view part of the expansive mountain range in person. When the trip was cancelled, I tried to grasp how this all happened.
We have been sheltering in place for eight weeks now. I gaze at the vista outside my study window and absorb the splendor of spring. I trace the lush horizon marked by swaying trees and the tender green of the leaves on that one tree that sheds its leaves every fall. No sign here of any illness, not at least through this portal. Catastrophe it seems can appear in such idyllic form.
Like so many of us these days, my wife and I have learned to live under what we call “house arrest.” We mean it ironically, anticipating the day we can look back back on this dramatic moment in humanity’s collective story with some distance and perspective. We are confined, but ours is a privileged confinement. We are employed, digitally-enabled, healthy, covered by good health insurance, and we have a home in which to shelter. (It has to be said, we’re sick of Zoom and email.) Our elderly parents are well (so far), upbeat and taking all the proper precautions.