My family is infected. Casi todos están contagiados, and there is nothing I can do from my desk in Canada. But I call every day. I call my parents and brothers, and I reconnect with cousins and uncles I haven’t talked to in a while. Some days we don’t even speak about COVID-19. Others, the tone is different. Did you hear? Escuchaste? Your tía, your friend’s mom from school, your neighbours. They are all gone. Peru is seventh on the list of countries with the most cases, with a population ten times smaller than the US’. Lima is the epicentre of the pandemic. Infected cases increased during the lockdown and have not stopped since it was lifted. The government’s efforts are insufficient. Hospitals are collapsing, people are dying in their houses, on the streets. Caravans of hundreds of people are walking back to their regions of origin on foot. No es seguro. Thousands of Venezuelan migrants are looking to go back home. No hay trabajo. But I have my calls. I call my mom, sometimes her throat is too sore, and her chest hurts. I call my cousin. She had a job interview during the worst day of her symptoms. She got the job. Tomorrow, I’ll call again.
Roxana Escobar is PhD student in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto, Canada. @TurulekA
For more on Antipode’s “Conjunctural Insurrections” series – an experiment to amplify voices often unheard and invisibilised in politics, daily life, and academic discourse – see https://antipodeonline.org/2020/06/23/conjunctural-insurrections/