How Has Covid-19 Changed ATN?
As we have dealt with this virus over the past few weeks, it seems like everything has changed. As individuals we have had to drastically change our lives and dealings with people. Companies and their employees have either been deemed "essential" or "non-essential" by government officials and their lives are much different based on the designation they received. Some estimates have up to 20% of Americans losing their jobs. Churches have been forced to conduct business and services online. The "at risk" population is being asked to isolate themselves even more than anyone else.
I am in no way complaining about any of this. I am completely on board with people who are trying to save lives and doing the best they can to get our country through this crisis. My point is simply that things have changed...For everyone.
Things have changed for All Things New as well. Here are a few things that have changed:
- Our kids are staying inside the gate almost exclusively. They did take a trip to Raymond and Gina's land recently, but other than that we are trying to keep them inside as much as possible.
- We cannot even contemplate a trip back down to Haiti to see our kids.
- We have told each of our employees except for 2 house moms, Gina and Lener to stay at home. The 2 house moms are staying at the orphanage 24/7 and taking care of the kids.
- We had our first coder graduate the training program on at the beginning of April! This was a huge success for us, but we have not been able to followup with it and look for jobs for him yet because of the virus.
- Schools in Haiti have closed. After missing almost the entire first 4 months of school this year because of manifestations, school started in the middle of January. In the middle of March, schools were shut down again. At this point, I do not know how the 2019-2020 school is anything but a missed opportunity.
- The Gourde (Haitian currency) continues to drop at a mind blowing pace.
- With people not being allowed to sell good on the street and many markets closing, food continues to raise in price.
- In addition to a rise in prices across the board, most Haitians are making less money than ever, and that is a crazy phrase to even type. A country full of people who were living below the poverty line of $2/day are now making even less.
- The President has a planned press conference and many people think he is going to reopen the country.
- Many of the social distancing practices and other things like wearing masks, staying inside, etc. are not being followed in Haiti. While only around 60 cases of the virus are confirmed, there are almost 1000 suspected and Haiti is still a few weeks behind America in terms of when cases were first detected.
The world is different. Some things have made us think and contemplate what "normal" means and how that term may change in the near future. Other things we are just waiting to be able to do again. I for one cannot wait to get back down to Haiti, hug our kids, visit my family in LaGrange, get our coding program started, go to a restaurant, take my wife out on a date, have a night away from my kids (no offense to my kids), and many many other things that I could list.
I have listened to at least parts of 4 different sermons from yesterday, and 3 of those 4 focused on "making a new normal" when everything ends. As I write this, I would have to agree. There will be a new normal, and it is up to us to allow this new "normal" to be better than ever before. To allow Jesus to shape what normal looks like rather than our job, family, etc. In a sea of change and when things seem really difficult, we have a chance to come out of this closer to Jesus than ever before.