There is not a single country in the world that isn't currently experiencing one of the most trying periods of modern history. There is, however, one country where life has been particularly rough in the last six months. It's Australia! A beautiful, wild and, as of late, severely tested land.
If coping with the coronavirus is a problem for us, how do the people living in Australia handle it, taking into account all the recent catastrophic events? You may be surprised to find out that optimism hasn't left them yet!
There's no need to remind anyone of the fires in Australia. We still have the grim pictures of burned forests, high walls of fire and scared animals. An area larger than the Czech Republic burnt down, millions of animals died and the lives of many brave rescuers ended in the fire. Australian nature was crying bitter tears, and so were we!
Even after the fires were out, natural elements didn't let the Australians take a deep breath. Next came devastating floods and in some areas, the raging water took everything that came in its way. Australians shrugged it off; they are used to natural disasters. But then another blow hit the country - the coronavirus! It is as if someone up there decided they would put the country and its inhabitants through some serious tests!
We talked to Marta Koval, a primary school teacher in Melbourne, originally from the Czech Republic, about the current situation in Australia and how the locals perceive it.
No worries, mate!
"Australians are generally very positive people. Their motto is "no worries, mate". And they approach the coronavirus accordingly," says Marta, who has lived in Australia for 10 years. "There are people who kept themselves from seeing the seriousness of the situation for a long time, pretending nothing was going on. But many of the elderly began to self isolate from the very beginning."
And where do they isolate themselves? Cottage culture isn't a thing here, but richer families have their "holiday houses" by the ocean near the beaches. Many poeple have moved there now.
Marta, following the example of the Czechs, embarked on the mission of sewing face masks and she wears them, along with gloves, every time she goes shopping. Face masks can be seen mainly on Asian poeple here. Europeans and Australians don't worry too much about it. And so they may be overlooking that the whole situation can be traumatising for their children.
It's a huge shock for children, optimistic parents fail to see it!
Schools are closed here. Right now, children have 2 weeks of Easter holiday, but what will happen afterwards and how does the young teacher see this taxing situation? According to her, many adults fail to realize what a psychological stress their children are experiencing!
"It's complicated. For children, it is now the most important thing to maintain their mental health. They are in shock. Suddenly everything has changed. They can't go out, play with their friends, visit their grandparents. They can't go to school, kindergarten, they have to wash their hands all the time, they can't touch anything outside. They simply can't understand why this is happening. For the, it is a trauma which, if it lasts for a long time, can affect the entire current generation of children. As a teacher, I prepare how to talk about it with them, how to teach them to relax. Of course I am also learning to use various online teaching programs such as Zoom, Google Clasroomn, Compass and others." But most of all, she worries about children from high-risk families where it will be much more difficult. "These are families in which violence, alcohol, drugs or mental disorders are commonplace. Who will take care of them? Who will make sure they turn on the computer? Who will help them with their homework? Will they be safe at home at all?" The personable teacher concludes with a list of concerns that currently trouble her the most.
Coronavirus news from Australia
As of 5.4. 2020, there are 5,687 individuals in Australia who have been diagnosed with Covid-19. So far, 34 people have succumbed to it. Restrictions of movement are similar to those in our country: they can only go out in the most urgent cases and not stay in groups. The worst situation is currently in Sydney.