Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Interviews of Filipino Americans #CopingWithCovid

INTERVIEWS OF FILIPINOS IN AMERICA by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, 

The following interviews are part of Cecilia Brainard's Filipinos #CopingWithCovid series. These were done last May 25, 2020. Since then, the United States has had a surge of Covid cases with 3.48 million confirmed cases, and 138,000 deaths (as of July 15,2020). 

Copyright 2020 by Cecilia M. Brainard


ER Nurse, New York 

Interview done on May 25, 2020

I am 24 years old.  I am a nurse, working night shifts 3 times a week at Suny downstate Brooklyn. I only deal with covid patients since my hospital was one of the three hospitals in NY that became a covid-only patients hospital. We have lost many patients to covid but I haven't lost anyone I know personally.

As of May 25, we are still on lockdown. I am not alone. I am with my sister, Ina, her boyfriend and my girlfriend Sabrina. 

Financially we have to spend more for safety.

I go out only to go to work and buy groceries. I don't go out to see relatives nor friends. I exercise at home. I wear face mask every time I go out and practice social distancing. 

I have coffee, prepare for work, get back from work, cook dinner, go to sleep or watch movies or use social media if I have spare time. I exercise on my day offs and watch movies and try cooking or baking some new recipes. 

Yes, we do buy our own groceries. We take precautions by social distancing and always wearing a face mask. We wash our hands when we get home. Before we get into our living room, we spray the soles of our shoes with Lysol. 

Yes, we order take out. We throw away the bag right away and wash our hands after. 

We shop online. 

Mariano and his sister Martina Aberasturi who works as a physical therapist in New York

Yes, I worry that this will get worse or this will be the new normal and we may take for granted what was considered normal before, and we may never experience that old normal again. I feel anxious sometimes but I try to think of positive thoughts and focus on my future. I sleep well now. When the pandemic started, I used to feel anxious going to work and worried I would get the virus and die without even traveling the world and doing the things I always thought of doing especially since I'm just starting to earn money and live independently. 

I miss being able to go out without wearing a mask and not being afraid of contracting something. I miss taking a walk for fresh air and seeing friends and having dinners with them and going out and exploring the city. 

My advise is: Take your vitamins, wear face mask always and dispose after, try to live positively, wash your hands, exercise, eat right, distract yourself, and mostly focus on yourself still and be nice to everyone. Practice social distance and avoid touching your face with dirty hands. Yes, masks are helpful. Social distancing makes a difference since the virus is most likely spread via droplets. 
We are all experiencing this crisis, not just you as an individual. 

It’s scary but this will be a lesson for everyone to not take things for granted. Always be health conscious and work on your health and your body to make it stronger. Once this is all over, thank God for everything and start building yourself. 



Lay Missionary, El Paso/Mexico Border, USA

I’m currently a Maryknoll Lay Missionary in El Paso/Mexico Border.  I live in a community with three other people.  The city has partially opened, keeping strict adherence to wearing face mask and social distancing.  We were in lockdown from March to April.  In mid-May, El Paso partially opened. 

My ministry is a feeding program at a Parish run by five Jesuit priests and a shelter for migrants/refugees. 
I drive to get to my two ministry destinations.

I experienced no financial nor work lost.

Yes, went out for walks at nearby parks;  did zoom calls/events with friends and relatives i.e. wedding, birthdays, workshops & meetings; visited some friends/relatives (not affected by CV19) - maintaining social distance and washing or sanitizing hands as often as possible.

YES I wear mask when out in public.  In my community home, we maintain social distancing only.

In the morning, we do community reflection/meditation; followed by breakfast.  If it’s day of work, I  leave for work 10:30 am and return 7:30 pm (3x a week) and leave for work 7:30 am to noon or 4 pm for home.  Upon arrival, wash hands, change clothing and rest;  prep for dinner (if it’s my turn) or walk/exercise 30 min. followed by gardening.  Dinner at 7pm, clean up, play games or watch news after dinner, or movie on non-working day; 9:30/10 pm prep for bed, do emails, etc. Finally, sleep after 11:30 pm

Yes, we take turns shopping for food once a week.  Wash hands or sanitize hands, wear face mask and social distancing.

When we order food to go, we remove packed vegetables and put them in individual container/ziploc bags, wash fruits prior storing them in the refrigerator.  We do not sanitize mails or packages but dispose them immediately or file them away.  We do recycling and composting of vegetables/fruits.

We shop via Amazon and also go directly to supermarket for food, etc.

No, I do not worry about the future, nor do I feel anxious. I sleep well – practice of meditations (2x/day) and present to the moment is my norm.

I miss personal contacts with friends, children, grandchildren, and families, but most especially, receiving the Holy Eucharist.   

My advise: Trust in God. Be grateful for all things

The lockdown (mid March to April) was an opportunity to develop relationship/close ties with relatives, old/new friends, show care, kindness, empathy to them and to one’s community; appreciation of mother earth and the importance of doing our role in its preservation,  lastly, the opportunity to listen to the Pope’s homily many times a week and see the relevance and how to participate in his encyclical Laudato Si.




Retired from Jackson, TN:


My husband and I came to the US 26 yrs. Ago. We worked for some years then retired at the age 70. As a retired couple here, we have adjusted well to our life in Jackson, TN because of our Filipino community.

As retirees my husband and I stay at home. When the pandemic broke out, our lives did not change much. We are okay. We do household chores as usual. I clean the house and my husband does yard work. We go to the groceries with masks and social distancing. We wash our hands often and avoid touching doorknobs in public places.

I spend time reading biography books. We watch Philippine show biz articles in the internet and watch Netflix.

 I do our laundry, iron clothes, and arrange cupboard and cabinets. There is endless work at home.

I don’t have social contact except with Facebook and Messaging. I always talk with my children and siblings via phone or video calls.

We have Social Security pensions and try our best to live within our means.

About worries, there are some but I try my best to overcome them.

I miss shopping and occasional casino visits. We are now allowed to go to church with masks and social distancing, but I missed it when we couldn’t go to church.

ANONYMOUS  14-year old Teenager

Long Beach, California

We're still in modified lockdown with my immediate family in Long Beach. My grandparents sometimes drive by to see us. We practice social distancing and wear masks, no usual hugging nor kissing, no "mano po", but we bump elbows or feet.

 School is still in session but online.  

 My parents are both working so we are lucky to be financially unaffected.  

 We walked to Island Pacific Market one time but other than that I stay home. We all wore masks and kept a safe distance from others while inside the market. 

 After waking up I eat breakfast and then shower.  I turn on my computer to do schoolwork, attend Zoom meetings while listening to music or there's a video in the background.  I help during mealtimes by either setting or clearing the table. I try to "talk" to my friends everyday through social media or video chats.

 Yes I worry about the future because we don't know how long the COVID-19 and the lockdown will last and what it's going to be like in the fall for the next school year.

 I don't have nightmares of bad dreams all the time but when I do, it usually involves something with the virus. I feel anxious every single day but I keep it in the back of my mind until I'm done with my work, but it's always there.  I've been sleeping later to the point that it's early in the morning when I do fall asleep.

 What I miss doing- I miss seeing my friends. I miss being able to live normally.

 No tips in mind other than "don't be stupid" or don't disobey lockdown/quarantine rules.

 I've never struggled with my school work until now. For some reason, my English teacher feels the need to assign homework every single day and have it due the next day even though we never did that during normal school. My teachers could be dealing with this in a more efficient way. They're asking too much of their students! "We know we're in a difficult, trying time but here's over 20 different articles for you to read and respond to." (Extreme example, but basically what it feels like). Kids are trying to grapple with the fact that people are dying because of this pandemic and are expected to stay focused on Math?


Read also:
Coronavirus: The Beginning, by Cecilia Brainard
How Filipinos Are Coping With Covid, Part One (Cecilia Brainard, Positively Filipino)
How Filipinos Are Coping With Covid, Part Two (C. Brainard, PF)
How Filipinos Are Coping With Covid-19, Part Three (C.Brainard, PF)

Covid-19: An Encounter with a Bee during Quarantine - by Tony Robles

Interviews follow:
Lia Feraren, Germany
Teresa Concepcion, Canada
 Ofelia Gelvezon Tequi, France
Reine Marie Bonnie Melvin, France
New Zealand: Jay Montilla & Monika Tawngdee
Linda Ty-Casper, Massachusetts, USA
Barbara Ann Jacala, San Diego, CAUSA
Brian Ascalon Roley, Ohio, USA

Interviews of Filipino Americans #CopingWithCovid

Live Interview of #CebuLitFest Producer Hendri Go by Cecilia Brainard

All of the above links are part of the Philippine Covid Archive of Filipinas Heritage Library.

tags: #coronavirus #covid19 #covid #Filipinos #copingwithcovid #Paris #France #Europe #FilipinoFrench #FrenchFilipino #FilipinoAmerican


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