France will start coming out of lockdown in 3 weeks time, on 11th May. But there are already some encouraging signs. Part of the field hospital in Mulhouse has been dismantled and in Chambéry, the local hospital has started dismantling the tents that were put up to sort out patients with covid-19 symptoms and separate them from other patients.
We’re still here, each new day brings its new challenge: homework, cooking, shopping. But we are managing quite well considering the size of the flat.
It is difficult to assess the local situation since we are in lockdown. The only news we get are from the media. Emmanuel spoke to a friend who works in the hospital last week. She said they had quite a lot of people with COVID 19: two wards were full, and they were about to open a third one. Although they could feel the pressure, they still had a small margin.
On Friday evening, 23 people had officially died in our area. 118 were in hospitalized and 178 had been released from hospital.
We have been in lockdown since 17th March. Schools had closed on the previous Friday and the announcement of the lockdown did not come as a surprise. We are all doing well.
We have now found our routine for weekdays. After waking up and breakfast, the children do their school work. The older ones receive regular emails from their teachers and can also log into the school online platform to get their lessons and homework. Benjamin’s teacher sends work for each day of the week over the weekend. He needs a bit of help and Emmanuel works with him in the morning. Clémence also receives homework from her teacher and works with Esther for a couple of hours each day.
The afternoons can feel quite long for the younger ones. Jean-Baptiste and Maxime usually have some work to do. Otherwise, we try to limit the use of videogames and television but it is sometimes difficult.
The flat is quite small but we have a clear view of the mountains and the lake in the distance and the weather has been lovely over the last 4 weeks. All this helps. We don’t have a garden but a small balcony.
Emmanuel and Esther’s families are all fine.
We are not supposed to go out. But, if we want to go out, we need to have a good reason to do so. We must also fill in a form with our details and the reason why we need to go out. We can go shopping. We can also exercise as long as we don’t do it for more than an hour, and within 1km of our flat. We can either print the form or fill it in online and download it on our phones.
Emmanuel still manages to go for a run early in the mornings. He would usually go out in the countryside but he can’t do it at the moment. Nevertheless, it is still possible to run about 10Ks within the limits imposed by law. All you need is a map reading skills and a bit of imagination. Esther also manages to go out for a run on a regular basis. The children haven’t gone out at all apart from Jean-Baptiste.
Emmanuel and Esther go to the local supermarket twice a week. We have given up online shopping because the website is either down because of traffic or there is no stock.
We are glad that a small supermarket is located just behind our building. So far, we have found what we needed.
We haven’t had many contacts with our neighbours in recent weeks. We live in a flat, and usually meet a lot of people, in the lift or at the bottom of our building. But now that everyone is locked down, we don’t get to see many people, and those we see are usually on a hurry. We’ve kept in touch with a few friends via WhatsApp.
Folks in the church are doing well. We have three meetings each week. We use videoconference for these. We have decided not to use Zoom because Emmanuel has access to Google Meet which does the same thing. It works very well, and we haven’t heard of security issues related to Google Meet yet…
On Sunday, we have chosen not to have an online service. Instead, we gather for a time of fellowship, sharing news, praying for each other and we listen to a short meditation on Scripture. On Saturday, I send resources for family worship with suggestions for a reading and a song. For easter Sunday, we’ll have a few readings and a meditation on Scriptures.
On Tuesday we have our prayer meeting and on Thursday we have a Bible Study.
Some of our members are working in the medical world and would appreciate your prayers.
One of them, a retired GP spent a week in Mulhouse, one of the worst-hit places. Two work in hospitals, another one works in care homes.
There’s plenty of time to read.
If you tell me you don’t’ have time, I won’t believe you. We’re on board for the next 6 weeks at least. I’ve started a few books. Here the shortest ones so far.
It’s been one week since we are officially confined home. The weather is gorgeous. The sun is shining. It is a bit cold though.
We don’t have to go far to shop. There is a supermarket a few hundred metres from our building. But we don’t want to go too often. So our shopping today required a bit of planning.
We have enough provisions to last for a week at least, but we needed some meat and a few other things to complement our meals. Usually, if we need something we simply go out. We also do one big shopping on the Internet once a week. But at the moment we try to avoid going out all the time.
Esther and I went out together so that we could bring back more stuff: milk, meat, yogourt…
The shop was quiet, with no queues. We usually come across friends or neighbours and a quick shop can take a long time. But didn’t see anyone we knew today, and people don’t take time to chat anyway. There’s a strange feeling. People shop quietly, rushing through as quickly as possible.
The prayer meeting was online once again. It works quite well but we need to get used to it. More people logged in than last week. Soe have troubles connecting.
Tried to use some slides with prayer points but the system crashed after a while.
Everyone is doing well. One member may have covid-19 but is only experiencing very light symptoms so far.
That’s how far we can go to exercise during this confinement:
- One kilometre from our home
- One hour maximum
- Once a day.
Day 6 of our confinement.
Homeschooling, News, UK.
On Monday 23rd March, we started our second week of homeschooling. We never really thought about homeschooling. Some of our friends in the UK and one of the church families here have homeschooled or are homeschooling. I respect their choice. I also understand some of their reasons for doing it. But we chose to send our children to the local school.
There are daily challenges. Getting the children to get down to work is not a problem. They do it happily every morning. Jean-Baptiste works on a small desk in our bedroom. Maxime is studying on the table in the dining room and Benjamin on a camping table in the living room. Clémence has some work to do but navigates around several places.
One of the challenges is trying to help them all at the same time. Benjamin (8), needs the most attention and help. But sometimes Maxime and Jean-Baptiste also need help. And they usually all come at the same time. Then Clémence decides she knows better than her mum what she is supposed to do and starts crying loudly.
We are in touch with the teachers on a regular basis. They send homework regularly. Clémence received a video from her teacher to all the children yesterday morning. Maxime had a videoconference with one of his teachers and classmates yesterday afternoon. Jean-Baptiste will have one later today.
But overall I am finding it fun so far. It may be different in a few weeks time.
We are trying to wean ourselves from listening to the news or reading too much. There’s not much new happening anyway: more people die each day. More and more people get sick. Some people are flouting the lockdown and going out when they shouldn’t.
Welcome to the club UK
At last, the UK government has understood that giving strong advice is not enough. So Mr Johnson decided the put the country in lockdown. It means “stay at home”, “don’t go out”. Hopefully, he has been clear enough.
UK friends, if you still think you can go out for a long walk in the countryside to get some fresh air, I can’t help you. Stay home, read those unread books lying on your shelves, do some exercise in your garden…