A first sign of life from quarantine
I had originally planned to fly back to Peru on Monday morning with Lufthansa via Panama City. On Friday morning, quite out of the blue, I get a phone call from Peru: “Our Head of State has just announced that as of this weekend the Peruvian airspace will be banned for all flights coming from Europe!” So, if I do not wish to be separated from my wife Tina and Diospi Suyana for several months I must act, immediately!
A travel centre got three flight tickets for me: one to Sao Paulo – Brazil is still open for Europeans. A second, separate, flight from Sao Paulo to Lima. As a bearer of a Peruvian passport I hope that I will not be prevented from continuing my journey; but, to be honest, I am not 100% sure. Alternatively, everything could go pear-shaped should the Brazilians send me back to Europe. Thus, I have Plan B up my sleeve: a several-day-long bus journey through Brazil until I reach the Peruvian Border in the Amazon Region. But for that I would need some time; that is why I need to be able to present the Brazilian immigration authorities with a ticket that takes me from Sao Paulo to a third country. For such a case I have a Qatar Airways ticket in my inside jacket pocket with the following flight details: Sao Paulo – Doha.
Within a few minutes my hand-luggage is packed: I put in more underwear and three extra shirts. I have to leave my suitcase behind. But travelling light enables me to be able reschedule everything at extremely short notice. I expect a two-weeklong quarantine that I will spend either in a private house or in a South American hospital. I have to leave an extremely interesting book on the shelf, but instead I squeeze in two resuscitation bags for our intensive care unit.
Now I say my goodbyes. My son Florian, his girlfriend and I sit together and say a prayer. May God protect and guide us wherever we go. On my way out I stop by at sister who lives a floor lower and say goodbye. When we will meet again? No one knows.
The relative emptiness of Frankfurt Airport is not what I am used to. “Cancelled” is the word that dominates the large departure screens.
After a calm flight to Brazil I am obliged to spend five hours in a large waiting room. A young lady sitting behind me simply cannot stop coughing. Despite wearing a breathing-mask, I discreetly move away to find a new seat.
Around noon on Saturday our plane lands in Lima. Every passenger has to fill out a form answering questions about his/her health and country of origin. I am waved through the controls and later on that afternoon I have also completed my domestic flight. Health Ministry staff are waiting for us at Cusco Airport and take the temperature of all arriving passengers. In my case: no fever, no coughing and no fatigue. As a sole passenger a taxi driver brings me directly to my home straight into quarantine.
Two weeks in which I can sleep in, read and work: home office.
It cannot be ruled out that apocalyptical scenarios could be coming our way. Perhaps now is an opportunity to read the Book of Revelation. Could it be that the Bible is correct? We are just experiencing the biggest shutdown the world has ever seen in peace times. Hundreds of thousands will die, millions could lose their jobs and countless companies will be driven into insolvency.
The sea level is rising and whole swathes of land are being claimed by the sea (Bangladesh). Drinking water is becoming scarce, at least in The Andes, where glaciers are melting. In the south a new continent has come into existence, unfortunately made entirely of plastic rubbish. Faith in science has become obsolete. If we do not have God as our Authority everything gets out of hand. A few days ago German State President Steinmeier lamented the growing disinhibition in the internet. Hate-filled tirades abound.
We expect that our missionary hospital will also have to brace itself for dramatic developments. I hope and pray that whole groups of our staff won’t be sent into quarantine simultaneously. As for me, I will be free in 13 days, God willing. This sentence suddenly has immense gravitas: God willing.
I close with the last two verses of the Bible: “He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.”
Blessed is (s)he who has this hope. /KDJ