Ramadan in corona times
– from Safa Ashoub, Berlin, 07.05.2020

Berlin – March 23rd
At the peak of Covid-19 … food shops are offering free products due to closure, disinfectants are triple the price, U-Bahns (underground metro) are empty and I’ve become a Ninja ??‍♀️.

Berlin – May 7th
It is the 14th day of the Holy month of Ramadan. I’m stuck here alone in Germany. I’m fasting alone and breaking my fast alone to the ‘fake’ call for prayers from an application, after 18 hours plus, then I continue to watch live streaming from the TV back home as I literally face the wall in my room.

It is corona times, isolation is compounded and spending time alone is very tough. Not long ago, I was thinking to myself, why do we see certain populations (mostly in Asia) wearing face masks and we don’t? I knew it was due to high levels of pollution, and I wondered when are we going to start this practice at a national scale? In my home country, Egypt, pollution levels are at ridiculous levels (particularly air, water and noise).

Now, I believe that face masks, protection gloves and hand sanitisers will become a standard life practice. Especially at supermarkets, public offices and anywhere with human-to-human interaction. Or even when using machines to self-serve. That paranoia is not going to leave us any time soon. Perhaps, it will accompany us to the end of times.

Today, I realised that it has been near 100 days that I am in social isolation (or call it social distancing, I don’t think it matters, it is all very painful to the psyche). I hardly saw two or three friends over the past two and a half months. I only encounter humans at the supermarket as I do my groceries. And as the month of Ramadan had started 14 days ago, I consume less food, hence, I do less grocery-shopping, hence, I don’t have enough reason to get out of my house. Instead, I started talking night strolls, so I get a bit of fresh air and also to move my body a bit.