I panicked. Full-on panic-attack-style, feeling-completely-stuck panic. It was a couple of days after lockdown had been announced in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We had felt the decision coming, as we closely followed news from Italy and Spain and as cases rose in neighboring Croatia and Serbia. My Dutch friend and I had started to make plans to move in together so we wouldn’t be alone for however many weeks lockdown endured, but suddenly she was required to return to the Netherlands. With this, a rift began to destabilize the contingency plans I had made. My mind then went into overdrive, and I fast-forwarded the next few months: living alone, with no physical contact, my family thousands of miles across the other side of Europe, with work ground to a halt, and so many unknowns ahead. And I panicked.
TEXT BY SARATU O. SAMANDE, ESQ. STREET PHOTOGRAPHS AND CAPTIONS BY DESMOND OKON
A Nigerian teenager hawking masks in traffic. Mask hawkers have become a common sight in Nigeria. Since the mandatory wearing of the face cover was announced by the government, many Nigerians survive by selling masks.
TEXT BY IRENA DRAGAŠ JANSEN
PHOTOGRAPHS BY MANUELA THAMES
As I observe the global pandemic unfold from the comforts and safety of my Washington, D.C., metro area home, I am transported back to the basement shelters where my parents, sister, relatives, neighbors, and I hid from the daily deadly mortar attacks during the most recent war in Croatia.
TEXT BY LAURA CHAVARRIA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NASHVILLE HUMANE ASSOCIATION
Animal sheltering can be difficult, y’all.
But it’s also one of the most fulfilling careers on the face of the planet. Who wouldn’t want to play with puppies and kitties all day and be the voice for the voiceless? (True confessions: Cuddling the animals is just one little part of our jobs at Nashville Humane Association!)
Living a few blocks from one of the most iconic bridges in the world, I often stroll to the harbor’s edge, spot the Sydney Opera House, and watch ferries come and go into the Circular Quay. Add the backdrop of the crisp, blue Australian sky as sun glistens across the water, and a poem should practically write itself each day.
But when the pandemic hit and we were told to self-isolate, going out only for essentials, the last thing I felt was inspired.
My telework home setup has all the trappings of the modern knowledge worker lucky enough to be able to work from home during the COVID-19 sanitary restrictions in Mexico City—A computer loaded with at least four different video conferencing apps. A work cell phone. A larger than strictly necessary coffee mug. Large binoculars and a camera with telephoto lens….wait, what?
On Day 23 of quarantine I stood in front of a black iron gate, coaxing open its sliding lock. This gate was not mine, nor was the yard or the building inside. They didn’t belong to a friend either, or even to a neighbor. Essentially, I was attempting to trespass on a stranger’s property in broad daylight.
Lockdown for me has revealed a strange sense of calm living alongside the fear and uncertainty in the world at the moment. Towns and cities lie deserted, and there is empty space where humans once were. Lockdown has given me the time to pause, become more aware of my immediate surroundings, and see the beauty that exists within this stillness. The following photos capture small moments of peace I have felt during lockdown.