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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Fisk

Quarantine Here….Vs. “There”

(cute pic of our girls on one of our outings to the playground)

Well my “there” is the US since that is where the majority of our family and friends live. Just wanted to give a bit of comparison as to what it is like for us here during these times. Not too much changes for my schedule. I am mostly at home anyways, and any Drs Apps I have for the Baby continues on. The quarantine here started almost 2 weeks ago now. And they actually put the city on lockdown, no one goes in and no one goes out except authorized personnel (and those bringing freight), but we can move around freely within the city. Our new greenhouse is just to the north of the city, JUST outside of city limits so Andrew cannot go there. We have 2 staff that do live outside the city and can go, so Andrew does everything with them over the phone to keep it moving along. Also, the greenhouse on the border of Kyrgyzstan that Andrew and his team consults is all over the phone now as no one goes or comes there either. Andrew just works from home! We have friends working from home as well. The main schools and private schools all shut down. The city busses reduced its hours as well as the number of busses by 30%. All restaurants and “eat-in” type places closed except take out and delivery. All malls, performance and movie theaters and major parks closed as well as sports and major events canceled and church/mosque gatherings canceled. Grocery and pharmacies are still open. The girls don’t go to preschool these days as they shut down. (Avinelle was going 4 days a week, 3 hours a day and Eloise 2 days a week same hours). I have decided to only hold English Club outside since all the kids are home and we don’t want too many of us confined in one apartment. Although it hasn’t been warm enough yet, so we haven’t had it. No one is arriving internationally into Almaty, and very few flights are going out internationally. It’s still possible, just few and far between. I think any domestic flights are canceled as well. As of right now this quarantine and city lock down is until April 15th. We have heard that places of work still have to pay their employees (if they were not unofficial cash payments) even if they shut down and the government is offering low interest loans to help these places of business. It seems though that the major expenses of paying rent to landlords may be alleviated and landlords are cutting renters slack. We only have about 75 cases total in the whole country as of today, with the first one being March 14th. The numbers are only climbing by like 4-5 a day which is a good thing I think. The tests that are here may not seem to be very quality tests, so we will see how that goes. There has been a bit of crazy shopping going on, but not empty shelves. We have heard of stores running out of buckwheat ( a healthy popular morning hot meal similar to oatmeal). People tend to buy a lot of bottled water. (not so much TP shortage here… probably about 1/3 of people use bidets or just rinse, not even TP 🤷🏻‍♀️) Also, the pharmacies are not keeping up with basic vitamins. We have seen LOTS of people wear masks (it’s a bigger mask wearing culture here in general), but I haven’t seen people doing as much distancing. It does seem people stay at home a lot more and there is diminished activity in the city. We are having fun with getting extra things done at home (well I am lol), more quality time with the girls, and finding bits of time to go on walks or go to the playground so we don’t go stir crazy. All in all our attitudes are maintained in a fairly upbeat response which I am grateful for!

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