Photo essay for the Special Initiative “From Fear to Resilience: Visual Storytelling of COVID-19 in Southeast Asia” by SEA Junction and Partners.
|Dear COVID-19 Diary
|Baguio City, Philippines
A fourteen-day journal chronicles my journey with COVID-19. From the days in isolation in a facility my city set up for the infected, to my bittersweet homecoming to recover together with my daughter whom I infected with the virus. The story revolves around the immediate despair when I knew I was infected, the hopelessness of the situation as well as the uncertainty.
The infection came months after my paper decided to fold. I am a journalist who lost her job in a year after the pandemic. A career I built for over two decades until management decided to halt operations and leave its employees without compensation for years of service.
I have reported on COVID-19 for the past year and I know the drill. The symptoms, the protocols, the system. I know the city’s response to the pandemic is top notch, the attack rate, recovery, attrition. I spoke to survivors and marveled at their resolve to get better. I wrote of their success and made the entire world celebrate their life. But when I tested positive, the small and big things I thought I understood, changed. There is a difference in perspective when you get to live the life you only hear about.
I am tagged as a breakthrough, defined now to be a person who contracted COVID-19 despite having full vaccine doses. Of the 119,589 fully vaccinated persons in Baguio City where I live, only 587 are breakthrough infections. Baguio City is four hours’ drive north of Manila.
I know it takes a while before patients like myself recover and regain our strength. But what is important is that we overcame the virus and are given the chance to get better.
(Malen Catajan is a journalist from Baguio City, Philippines)
Malen Catajan is a journalist from Baguio City, Philippines. (See full article at https://womenwritingwomen.com/2022/03/07/dear-covid-19-diary-part-1/ and https://womenwritingwomen.com/2022/03/07/dear-covid-19-diary-part-2/)
“From Fear to Resilience: Visual Storytelling of COVID-19 in Southeast Asia” is a special initiative of SEA Junction supported partly by the China Medical Board (CMB) Foundation to promote an alternative narrative of survival, resilience and solidarity. We are asking for short stories in the form of photo essays, short documentaries and illustrated art essays in any language of Southeast Asia (to be later translated into English) or in English. For more background and other stories click here.
SEA Junction, established under the Thai non-profit organization Foundation for Southeast Asia Studies (ForSEA), aims to foster understanding and appreciation of Southeast Asia in all its socio-cultural dimensions- from arts and lifestyles to economy and development. Conveniently located at Room 408 of the Bangkok Arts and Culture Center or BACC (across MBK, BTS National Stadium), SEA Junction facilitates public access to knowledge resources and exchanges among students, practitioners and Southeast Asia lovers. For more information see www.seajunction.org, join the Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/1693058870976440/ and follow us on twitter and Instagram @seajunction