While Barbados has registered no new cases of COVID-19 for two consecutive days, the country is still experiencing a state of confinement. Tummika was still a Saint Lucian student studying Computer Science when we did her first interview. She shares with us her time in Barbados during the pandemic. Conversation led by Marie Siméon.
Marie : Where do you study? And by extension, where were you when you learned that measures of confinement would be put in place?
Tummika : I studied here in Barbados at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill. However, I graduated last year in October. And I have been living in Barbados since then. I’m not sure if you’d still want to ask the questions with me having graduated.
Marie: Hhow you prepared for this lockdown as well as other experiences surrounding the pandemic. When was the lockdown imposed in Barbados?
Tummika : It started on the 3rd of April, at 8 pm. I am currently unemployed, so that was not an issue. As for other priorities, I live with my father and luckily, there is a minimart a few minutes away from our house so he was able to get some groceries from there as the lines at the other supermarkets were ridiculously long. I do have to admit we did not prepare fully for confinement. But we had enough to tide us over.
Marie : Okay, I see. And in the city where you live in Barbados, are there specific rules for going out? ( for example, in Guadeloupe, we must have certification to leave, otherwise we would have to pay a fine).
Tummika: It did start off like that, yes. However, last week they opened up the supermarket for three days: Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday so persons were allowed to leave their homes. Now, we have a system in place where we go to the supermarket in alphabetical order based on our last names to minimize the number of persons in the supermarket at once. We can go to the supermarket, fish market, hardware store and pharmacy but you must have your ID. This way, they can assess whether it’s your day to shop. Otherwise, you’re not allowed to be out of the house.
Marie : How have you been spending your time at home?
( I think there is nothing extraordinary to say but😅)
And has Barbados already chosen a date for when the lockdown will be discontinued?
Tummika : The end date is the 3rd of May. I’ve been trying to stay active and not laze around. So I’ve taken on yoga, meditation, exercise, learning new languages on duolingo and reading. I’m also using this time to plan possible business ventures with a friend of mine.
Marie: ( I tried Dualingo to learn Portuguese but my procrastination is too high😩😂)
Which languages are you trying to learn? And in terms of plans for the future, do you think you can implement future projects with your friend?
Tummika : Ughh, it’s so hard to stay focused in this situation so I understand 😩. Yes I do. What we’ve up up with seems pretty feasible and we have time to plan it out properly. Oh my bad, I’m trying to learn French and Spanish.
Marie : And on a personal level, when the lockdown started how did you feel? Did it stress you out or was it okay?
Tummika : No, it didn’t stress me out, I have been home for a few months so being indoors wasn’t much of a problem. However, I did become quite worried about the state of the economy after this. I had 3 job interviews just before this and I think now it’s possible that those companies may experience financial issues and recruitment may be suspended for now. And, of course, our society would be greatly impacted once this is over. So I guess I do worry about those issues occasionally.