Things That Matter

His Mamá Lost Her Job So This 11-Year-Old Started Trading His Toys For Food To Help Out His Family

Few communities have been spared by the Coronavirus pandemic. The economic impacts of the virus have left millions of people without jobs and families are struggling to make ends meet.

The situation is common all across Latin America – where millions of people work in the informal economy with little to no access to government aide. Despite the heartbreaking economic situations so many families currently face, some are getting creative in order to help put food on the table.

A boy in Tijuana has gone viral for offering up his toys in exchange for food to help feed his family.

Alexis, who is just 11-years-old, has had to grow up during some truly strange times. These challenging times are forcing all of us to reevaluate are priorities and figure out ways to help those close to us and in our communities.

For little Alexis, he saw that his family was facing a tough financial situation because of the Coronavirus pandemic. So he got creative and showed just how self-less he could be.

Alexis told Milenio, “Since my mom isn’t working anymore I’m worried. And I have two abuelos – my grandfather is blind and he was going to have surgery but they had to cancel it because of the Coronavirus.

The 11-year-old asked his mom how we could help her and that’s when he came up with an idea. He would get together his most previous toys and offer them up to people willing to exchange them for precious food items for the family.

Alexis’ story quickly went viral and people showed up to help him out.

¡Increíble gesto! 👏🧸 Niño de #Tijuana cambia sus juguetes por despensa para su mamá. Si deseas apoyar, están sobre la…

Posted by El Sol de Tijuana on Saturday, April 25, 2020

Alexis is offering up balls, stuffed animals, action figures, and other things that kids his age shouldn’t have to give up just to help his family put food on the table. But he’s doing it anyway.

Thankfully, the community has stepped up to help. In fact, the family was overwhelmed with support that they’ve now been able to share much of the donated goods with other families who face a similar situation.

Sadly, it hasn’t all been positive news since their story went viral.

According to the family, a man posed as a well-wisher coming by to drop off some donated food items to the family. Instead, after a short struggle the man robbed the mother of her cell phone and took off – also not having donated a single item to the family.

The local news had published the family’s address so people could arrive and provide assistance but, unfortunately, someone decided to take advantage.

Mexico has struggled to contain the Coronavirus outbreak and Baja California has been hit particularly hard.

It’s been give weeks since the first case of Covid-19 was diagnosed in Baja California. And the outlook for many of the state’s residents – especially those working in the informal sector – looks more and more complicated. Workers have had to find different ways to come up with new resources and income to help support their families.

Streets were once filled with vendors selling fresh mangos and tacos de canasta – now they’re selling hand sanitizer and face masks instead.

The economist José Luis Contreras Valenzuela has warned that many companies are also hurting as a result of having no customers. They’re likely to have to layoff even more staff. One example is the state’s restaurant industry which employers more than 200,000 people.

Just a few days ago, the head of the Ministry of the Economy, Mario Escobedo Carignan, pointed out that there were 11,000 lost jobs in Baja California, but this number is likely to grow.

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Peru’s Indigenous Are Turning To Ancestral Medicines To Fight The Coronavirus

Culture

Peru’s Indigenous Are Turning To Ancestral Medicines To Fight The Coronavirus

Joao Laet / Getty Images

With news headlines like “How Covid-19 could destroy indigenous communities”, it’s hard to understate the affect that the Coronavirus has had on Indigenous communities across the world.

Even before the pandemic hit, native populations were already at increased risk of health complications, poor access to medical care, lack of proper education, and even premature death. The pandemic has only exacerbated these issues as government programs and NGOs who delivered aid to far flung communities have grind to a halt.

However, many communities have started taking the matter into their own hands by creating their own impromptu healthcare systems based on ancestral techniques and others have barricaded off their villages from the outside world in an effort to stem the flow of the virus.

In Peru, many Indigenous communities are turning to centuries-old medicines to fight back against the Coronavirus.

The Coronavirus has had a devastating impact on Peru – the country with the world’s highest per capita Covid-19 mortality rate. At particular risk is the nation’s large Indigenous community, who often lack proper access to education efforts and medical care. This has forced many Indigenous groups to find their own remedies.

In the Ucayali region, government rapid response teams deployed to a handful of Indigenous communities have found infection rates as high as 80% through antibody testing. Food and medicine donations have reached only a fraction of the population. Many say the only state presence they have seen is from a group responsible for collecting bodies of the dead.

At least one community, the Indigenous Shipibo from Peru’s Amazon region, have decided to rely on the wisdom of their ancestors. With hospitals far away, doctors stretch too thin and a lack of beds, many have accepted the alternative medicine.

In a report by the Associated Press, one villager, Mery Fasabi, speaks about gathering herbs, steeping them in boiling water and instructing her loved ones to breathe in the vapors. She also makes syrups of onion and ginger to help clear congested airways.

“We had knowledge about these plants, but we didn’t know if they’d really help treat COVID,” the teacher told the AP. “With the pandemic we are discovering new things.”

One of the plants the Shipibo are using is known locally as ‘matico.’ The plant has green leaves and brightly colored flowers. And although Fasabi admits that these ancestral remedies are by no means a cure, the holistic approach is proving successful. She says that “We are giving tranquility to our patients,” through words of encouragement and physical touch.

Even before the Coronavirus, Indigenous communities were at a greater risk for infectious diseases.

Indigenous peoples around the globe tend to be at higher risk from emerging infectious diseases compared to other populations. During the H1N1 pandemic in Canada in 2009, for example, aboriginal Canadians made up 16% of admissions to hospital, despite making up 3.4% of the population.

Covid-19 is no exception. In the US, one in every 2,300 indigenous Americans has died, compared to one in 3,600 white Americans.

Indigenous groups are particularly vulnerable to dying from Covid-19 because they often live days away from professional medical help. As of July 28, the disease had killed 1,108 indigenous people and there had been 27,517 recorded cases, with the majority in Brazil, according to data published by Red Eclesial Panamazonia (Repam).

Some communities are turning inward to survive COVID-19, barricading villages and growing their own food.

Despite the immense threat they face, Indigenous communities are fighting back.

“I am amazed to see the ways that indigenous peoples are stepping up to provide support where governments have not,” Tauli-Corpuz, a teacher at Mexico’s UNAM, told The Conversation. “They are providing PPE and sanitation, making their own masks, and ensuring that information on Covid-19 is available in local languages, and are distributing food and other necessities.”

They are also choosing to isolate. In Ecuador’s Siekopai nation, about 45 Indigenous elders, adults and children traveled deep into the forest to their ancestral heartland of Lagartococha to escape exposure to the Coronavirus, says the nation’s president Justino Piaguaje.

Despite their best efforts, many experts are extremely concerned for the survival of many Indigenous communities.

Credit: Ginebra Peña / Amazonian Alliance

They are already facing the ‘tipping point’ of ecological collapse due to increased threats of deforestation, fires, industrial extraction, agribusiness expansion and climate change,” Amazon Watch executive director Leila Salazar-Lopez told UNESCO of Amazonian Indigenous groups.

“Now, the pandemic has created one more crisis, and as each day passes, the risk of ethnocide becomes more real.”

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Cuba Locks Down Havana To Stop Covid-19 As Cubans Struggle To Afford Everyday Items

Things That Matter

Cuba Locks Down Havana To Stop Covid-19 As Cubans Struggle To Afford Everyday Items

Ivan Bor / Getty Images

Cuba has been one of the hemisphere’s coronavirus success stories — but a sudden outbreak in its capital has brought on a strict, two-week Havana lockdown. Residents of the capital city will be forced to stay-at-home for 15-days, while people from other parts of the island ill be prohibited from visiting – essentially sealing off the city from the outside world.

Meanwhile, the Coronavirus pandemic has pummeled the island’s economy and has left many everyday items out of reach for many Cubans. Some are being forced to turn to ‘dollar stores,’ where the U.S. dollar is once again accepted as hard currency – something now allowed since 1993.

Officials have ordered a strict 15-day lockdown of Havana in an effort to stamp out the spread of Coronavirus in the capital.

Aggressive anti-virus measures, including closing down air travel, have virtually eliminated COVID-19 in Cuba with the exception of Havana, where cases have surged from a handful a day to dozens daily over the last month. 

A daily curfew from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. was instituted Tuesday. Most stores are barred from selling to shoppers from outside the immediate neighborhood in order to discourage people from moving around the city. 

Some Havana residents complained that the measures were complicating the already difficult task of buying food in a city hit by constant shortages and endless lines for a limited supply of basic goods. Some provinces that saw no new cases for weeks have begun detecting them in recent days, often linked to travelers from Havana.

The start of in-person classes for students was also indefinitely delayed in Havana, while schools opened normally in the rest of Cuba.

To enforce the lockdown, police stationed on every road leaving Havana are supposed to stop anyone who doesn’t have a special travel permit, which is meant to be issued only in extraordinary circumstances.

Under the strict new lockdown measures, anyone who is found in violation of the stay-at-home orders face fines of up to $125 per violation, more than triple the average monthly wage.

The island nation had seemed to manage the pandemic well – with fewer cases than many of its Caribbean neighbors.

Credit: Ivan Bor / Getty Images

The island of 11 million people has reported slightly more than 4,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, with fewer than 100 deaths, one of the lowest rates in the region.

The government made face masks obligatory in the early stages of its pandemic response, and in the first months of the crisis police aggressively fined and even jailed people for violations. 

That vigilance slackened somewhat as Havana moved out of the first, strictest phase of lockdown in July, when public transportation restarted and people returned to work. The number of coronavirus cases then began to climb again.

Meanwhile, the Cuban economy has tanked and residents are struggling to make ends meet now more than ever before.

Credit: Yamil Lage / Getty Images

The pandemic has hit the island’s economy particularly hard. Much of the island relies on agricultural and tourism – two sectors that have been decimated by Coronavirus.

As a result, many Cubans are struggling to afford everyday items. Rice – which used to sell for about $13 Cuban pesos per kilo is now going for triple that.

In an effort to allow Cubans better access to goods, the government has began recognizing the U.S. dollar as official currency. This is extraordinary as mere possession of U.S. dollars was long considered a criminal offense. However, the measure draws a line between the haves and have-nots, one that runs even deeper than it did before the pandemic.

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