My wallet has been my companion for years.  Its many compartments are ideal for almost everything: from cards and coins to USB-sticks and anything else that will fit. But now the zip broke.  When trying to open it in shops or elsewhere I fiddle around with it for such a long time that it gets embarrassing.  But it is not really a problem.  It reminds me of an owner of a small pharmacy in Curahuasi.  Occasionally I would pop in to his shop and every time the owner, in his forties, asked me if I would sell it to him.  He died from Covid. Recently he was found cold and motionless in his car.

Cesar M. picked me up from our front door at 03:45 and we drove Cusco Airport.  He drives quickly and so we reach our destination in a good 2 hours.  Going through the 1,000 curves at night is even more unpleasant than in the daytime.  Within no time our conversation homes in on the current political situation and the pandemic:  “Now two of my relatives are lying in hospital,” says my taxi-driver, “one is on oxygen in Abancay, the other is intubated on a ventilator in Cusco!”

That afternoon sitting in our guest house in Lima I am on the phone non-stop, preparing for my upcoming appointments.  Daniel C gives me a lot of his time.  The Catholic Christian and his company donated the computer software for our hospital, valued at USD30,000.  We need a further module and I am hoping for the best price.  “This year two of my brothers died from Covid.” he suddenly remarks.  “I beg your pardon?” I ask.  “And how old were they?” “In their mid 50s and early 60s respectively.”  He then told me that the necessary emergency intensive care beds were not available in time.  Towards the end it all went rather quickly.  Respiratory failure. Death.

Yesterday one of RRP’s, one of the country’s most important information portals, headlines read: “Currently 2,000 patients are waiting for an intensive care bed!”  It is highly improbable that these who are currently gasping for air will still be alive at the end of next week.

Online and with a bit of good fortune I hope to find exactly the same wallet and entrust my old one to the dustbin.  I could also buy a second and give it to the shop-owner in Curahuasi, but no, he has been lying on the local cemetery for a while now.  He no longer needs it.

Hopefully my wife and I can get our second Biontech-Pfizer-vaccine. Daily we look into the eyes of Covid-patients and I would feel a lot better, if we did not have to doubt in her immune system. /KDJ

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