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COVID-19 diaries from Wuhan: Volunteers collect help messages during the pandemic

Project: The undocumented people. Volunteers collect help messages during the pandemic. (Photo credit: Guo Jing)

The following post is the seventh in a series of diaries written by independent filmmaker and feminist scholar Ai Xiaoming and feminist activist Guo Jing. Both are living in Wuhan at the center of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are the links to the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth part of the series.

Check out Global Voices’ special coverage of the global impact of COVID-19.

This installment was written between February 28-March 2, 2020. The original Chinese diaries are published on Matter News.

Guo Jing: February 28, 2020

疫情中的家暴正在浮出水面。疫情期间的封锁增加了受害者求助的难度,也增加了反家暴的支持工作的困难
我也接到一些家暴的求助,有几个求助者是因为疫情不能上学的孩子,他们要天天面对父母的争吵和暴力而不知所措。即便有困难,受害者还是在求助,那我们要尽力让她们看到有人在支持她们。
下午,团购的水果到了。我买的是一份8斤的砂糖橘,50元。大家都说物业团购的水果质量很好,纷纷表示感谢。有人在家里做了炸鸡腿,拍照发到群里,外焦里嫩的,旁边还洒着胡椒面,大家都被馋得不行。

Domestic violence is emerging in the pandemic. The pandemic makes it more difficult for the victims to call for help and for us to help these victims.
I received some messages from the victims of domestic violence seeking help. Some of the victims are children who cannot go to schools due to the pandemic. These children feel helpless when they see the quarrels and violence between their parents every day. Despite the difficulties, these victims are still reaching out for help. We need to try our best to let the victims know that we are ready to help them.

In the afternoon, the fruits from group buying arrived. I bought 8 catties of sugar tangerines. It cost RMB 50 yuans (7 US dollars). All of us express our appreciation as the quality of the fruit is very good. Some people made fried chicken legs at home and sent photos to our group. The fried chicken legs were burnt outside but soft inside with black peppers sprinkled around. All of us were craving for it.

Ai Xiaoming: February 28, 2020

明天缺货需要等值交换的品类如下:
1 五花肉3斤换成腊排骨3斤(退差价30)
2 瘦肉5斤换牛肉5斤
3 冻脊骨2斤换筒子骨2斤(补差价10)
大家今天收到了吐司,明天早上烤起啊,千万不要浪费每一口。
4 苹果,梨,砂糖橘,沃柑,不足的等价互换
5 小番茄8斤换耙耙柑4斤
6 火腿肠1箱换腊排骨1袋(退差价10)
你家有没有酵母呀?
7 牛奶12盒1箱换速溶咖啡40支
8 煎饺1斤换烧麦1kg(补4元)
9 番茄5斤 换随机等价值水果

The list of food exchange items on an online group due to shortage of food supply:

  1. 3 catties of pork belly (plus RMB 30 yuan or US$ 4.2 dollars) for 3 catties of dried pork ribs
  2. 5 catties of lean pork for 3 catties of beef
  3. 2 catties of frozen backbones for 2 catties of leg bones (plus RMB 10 Yuan or US$ 1.4 dollars)

For those who received the toast today, do not forget to bake it tomorrow morning. Please do not waste any of it.

  1. Apples, pears, sugar tangerines, and orah mandarins. If not enough, do equivalent trade.
  2. 8 catties of tomatoes for 4 catties of oranges
  3. 1 box of bacon sausage (plus RMB 10 yuan or US$ 1.4 US) for 1 pack of dried ribs

Anyone has some yeasts?

  1. 1 box of milk (12 packs) for 40 packs of instant coffee
  2. 1 catties of fried dumplings for 1 Kg of steamed dumplings (plus RMB 4 yuan or US$ 0.57 dollars)
  3. 5 catties of tomatoes for randomly selected fruits (equivalent trade)

Guo Jing: February 29, 2020

今天,我想讲一讲那些在努力发声的人。
下面是我跟一个志愿者的对话
我:这次费盐对你有什么样的影响?
志愿者:很幸运的是,我和我身边的人都没有感染。但是我觉得这次费盐对我的影响很大,封锁是一个强制性的措施,将每个公民原子化,让我们在感到无力和绝望的时候不知道该如何求助
另一方面看到那些绝望的求助的声音,我非常害怕人们会在一切结束之后忘记这些就像我们一直以来做的那样,所以我很希望能够找到一种方式,让大家记住。这也是我个人想做这个项目的原因之一。那种行动的欲望很强烈。
我:你们开始做这个项目后,你的状态有变化吗?
志愿者:其实没有太多变化,尤其是每次整理那些求助信息的时候,都很想大哭一场。而且我好怕我在做这样琐碎的工作时一不小心就把他们当成了一个信息、一个数据 ,害怕自己看不到或者忘记背后这些家庭的挣扎,害怕自己麻木,害怕自己把它当成一项琐碎的工作。但好在,还没有。
只是我发现行动本身似乎并不能改善状态,行动不是一种自我救赎,行动可能甚至并改变不了什么,但是我们仍然需要行动

这个志愿者已经复工,在家办公,每天再花一个小时收集信息。这个项目志愿者人数也不多,目前搜集了一百三十多个案例。有兴趣的朋友可以加入TA们。
未被记录的TA们
https://shimo.im/docs/jj3wR6h6jCpKGDjX/read

Today I would like to talk about those who have tried their best to make a noise.
Below is my conversation with a volunteer (V).
I: How are you affected by this pandemic?
V: It is lucky that I and the people around me are not infected. However, I think this pandemic has affected me a lot. The mandatory lockdown has atomized individual citizens. We don't even know how to reach out for help as the sense of powerless and despair is too overwhelming.
On the other hand, when I read the messages sent by those in despair, I am afraid that we might forget what has happened after the pandemic ends, just like what we have gone through before. Therefore, I want to find a way to make all of us remember. This is one of the reasons why I want to do this project. I have strong desire to do something.
I: Have your condition changed after you started this project?
V: Actually my condition does not change much. Whenever I take a record of those help messages, I always want to cry. And whenever I do these seemingly trivial work, I am afraid that I would treat these messages as a piece of information or data and become indifferent or fail to see their struggles behind their messages. I am afraid that I would numb my feeling and trivialized the work. . But thank goodness, I did not.
However, I found that action itself cannot change our situation. While action should not be a kind of self-salvation. It might not change anything, but we need to act.

This volunteer has returned to work. He works from home, and he spends one hour every day to collect these messages. There are not many volunteers joining this project, but they have collected around 130 cases. If you are interested, please feel free to join them. The project is called “The undocumented people”

Guo Jing: March 1, 2020

小区已经封了近两个星期了,依然有新增病例,昨天武汉市新增565例,这确实令人心慌。问题是,我们并不知道新增的病例究竟为何感染,大家就会猜测,觉得都是出门导致的。希望卫健委除了统计确诊的数字,也开始分析新增病例感染的原因,以减轻公众的恐慌。

It has been two weeks since residential districts have been locked down. However, we still have new confirmed cases. Yesterday we had 565 new confirmed cases in Wuhan. This makes us very worried. The problem is that we do not know how these new cases were infected. We have started to speculate and think maybe going out is the cause. In addition to the infected number, I hope our health administration can analyze how new cases were infected so that people will feel less panic.

Guo Jing: March 2, 2020

今天,物业的主任在小区群里发了一个紧急通知,内容是:即日起居民购药必须由所在社区指定工作人员或志愿者代购,禁止对个人售卖,销售前必须核对社区代购人员相关证明,代购感冒药、退烧药,必须查验身份证,同时药店按要求做好销售登记及上报。无法提供证明材料或身份证的,一律不得销售。
今天翻看了一下那个群,群里有一百多个人,每天都有人在买药,大家的需求各种各样,有买口罩和酒精的,还有很多慢性病人买降血压的药、痔疮膏、治皮肤病的药、控制糖尿病的药、治鼻炎的药,还有买维生素、眼药水、消炎药的。
社区工作人员是否能够承担得了那么多工作吗?团购蔬菜如果不及时,可能不会威胁到生命。可是,如果有些慢性病人不能及时拿到药物,可能会出现危及生命的情况。我有时候想这是不是一场试验,测试人可以被管控到什么程度,人类可以的承受极限是什么
我到院子里走一下,小区的清洁工对我说“我看你也是关不住,天天都下来。”我笑着说:“是呀。”她说:“我也是关不住。”
她在做清洁,她女儿在医院做护士,她也不太担心,说:“生死是一定的,没有什么好怕的,有的人得病就好了,有的人得病就死了。”

Today, the director of estate management sent us an emergency notice. The notice said that starting today, the residents cannot buy drugs on their own. We need to ask the designated personnel or volunteer to purchase the medical items for us. The pharmacy will check related credentials before selling drugs to the designated buyers. If we ask them to buy drugs for common cold or fever, the designated person will take record of our IDs and hand it over to the pharmacy, the real name purchase record would then be sent to the government. No one can buy drugs from pharmacy without a credential or ID.
Today, I checked a group (which coordinates drug purchase). There are more than 100 people in the group, and there are people buying medical items every day. We have different needs. Some people buy face masks and (sanitizer) alcohol. Some people with chronic diseases have to buy drugs for hypertension, hemorrhoids, skin diseases, diabetes, and rhinitis. Some people buy vitamins, eye drops, or anti-inflammation medication.
Can the community staff do this amount of work? If they cannot buy our food on time, it is not life threatening. However, for those with chronic diseases, if they cannot get their medication on time, their lives are at stake. Sometimes I imagine us being placed in some kind of experiment, which tests how much humans can accept being controlled and how much we can bear.
I went to the yard to take a walk. The cleaning lady of our community talked to me, “I see you come downstairs every day. You cannot stand staying at home all the time, can you?” I smiled and said, “yes”. She said, “I cannot stand staying at home all the time, either.”
She is a cleaner, and her daughter is a nurse working in a hospital. She is not worried about it. She said, “to live or to die is already determined. There is nothing to worry about. Some people were infected but recovered. Some people were infected and died.”

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