SNIPPETS OF LIFE IN SYDNEY:Eid and Mass in the time of easing COVID-19 restrictions

SYDNEY, Australia (MindaNews / 31 May) — Nine weeks on, our Muslim brethren celebrated Eid’l F’tr differently and Catholics solemnized  the Ascension with a mass open to 10 people in churches across Sydney. I realized that being allowed back in church to attend mass face to face can be overwhelming and exciting. A colleague and friend shared with me the excitement of being able to attend mass in person every day, just like the way she used to.

Cafes and restaurants are slowly allowing people to dine in ensuring that there is ample space around each table, making everyone feel safe while enjoying their meals. Families can now gather with 10 people at most at one given time. Children who have been in school one day a week are now back full time.

The NSW Government makes public “transport a key part of NSW’s plan for a COVID safe economy, helping people safely move around and return to jobs, particularly in the retail, service and hospitality industries.”

I am happy  working from home and will continue to do so until I am directed to go back to our office.

From 1 June, cafes and restaurants can allow 50 people to dine in,  if they have the space, and offices are slowly reconfiguring their workplace to allow employees to return to work safely.

Restrictions have eased and these are all happening as the “curve has flattened” and no additional cases have been reported.

People who have gotten used to working from home will find going back to the office challenging, which was the general feeling when everyone started working from home.

I, for one, am not comfortable taking  public transport when it is time for me to go back to the office. If I can walk the distance from home to work, I would.

We have learned how to collaborate virtually.  Some became successful online entrepreneurs, people who stayed home busied themselves with baking and cooking activities, binged watch movies, tv series and musicals. Libraries have offered digital collections to their members and Dance and Musical companies showed their musicals and dances online. There is a  never ending source of digital material to watch and listen to for those who have the time.

May 27 to 3 June is a significant event for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. It is National Reconciliation Week. This year’s theme is: “In This Together” marks 20 years of Reconciliation Australia’s journey  “towards a more just, equitable and reconciled nation.” Reconciliation Australia  “is the lead body for reconciliation in Australia, which inspires and enables all Australians to build relationships, respect and trust between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians.

“National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. The dates for NRW remain the same each year; 27 May to 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively.”

The COVID 19 pandemic has shown people across the globe that we can celebrate significant events differently and that does not detract from its relevance. As we learn to manage our activities  safely and mindful of not harming ourselves  and our environment, our future generation bears hope of living in a better world.

(Mindanawon Abroad is MindaNews’ effort to link up with Mindanawons overseas who would like to share their experiences in their adopted countries. Eleanor Trinchera of Kidapawan City is now based in Sydney She works in Caritas Australia, the aid and development agency of the Catholic church in Australia).

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