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Matilde (80 years) lives in a small apartment in the center of Madrid. For the last few months she has only left her apartment to go shopping or to see a doctor. Since March 14, Spain has one of the strictest corona lockdowns in Europe. Some neighbors bring Matilde food from time to time. There are a lot of people who have lost their jobs due to the crisis, who can no longer pay their rent, where the money is not even enough for food, she says. But churches and social associations help with food and food distribution and people line up for miles in front of them.

The Covid 19 pandemic hits Spain hard. The traumatic memories of the great economic crisis ten years ago are still present and now the economy is threatening to collapse again. The expected 12.8 percent drop in economic output this year would be the worst slump since the civil war in the 1930s. The Spanish government is trying to cushion its citizens* with short-time work, loans and basic security. Another source of hope is now the large aid package of the European Union.

I ask Matilde if she believes that mankind is learning something from the Corona crisis? Matilde: "Pienso que la crisis nos ha hecho refrecionar. La gente aprende que tiene que ser más humilde y pensar más en los demás. En las residencias han muerto muchas personas debido a que las residencias no estaban bien preparadas. Pero esas personas no tenían que haber fallecido. Espero que la crisis haga a las personas más humanas. (I think that people are working through a lot of the crisis. They learn to become more humble and to be more considerate of other people. Many people who did not have to die died in the old people's homes that were badly prepared for the crisis. I hope that humanity will become more humane through the crisis :-)

Foto: © D.F. Ricote (Calle Arenal Madrid, 09.04.2020)

The popular Arenal Street in Madrid is empty.. A very unusual picture. Spain is not recognizable. 

Author: Helena Santana Losada

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