Daniela Ballvé

Looking out the window from my balcony in Madrid is quite eerie. The streets are empty, except for the police and military trucks that roam the streets ensuring that people are in their houses. A walk to the pharmacy is joined by countless police officers stopping you to ask where you’re going and what you’re buying, supermarkets have one hour queues lining up outside and packs of mandatory gloves at the entrance, and walking your dog is quick, quiet, and lonely. Any other activity is ultimately fined €600. 

Today, however, I want to talk about the positive outcomes of this virus in Spain. Despite the tragedy of the 898.822 newly unemployed Spaniards and the 10,935 virus-induced deaths all over the country, spirits throughout the country remain high. Videos of neighbors playing “I Spy” and playing disco music from their balconies are roaming the internet, and every day at 8pm the country steps out onto their balconies to clap in honour of health officials.

Without a doubt, having everybody back in their country, at home, is creating a strong sense of community and patriotism that is hard to find during normal times. There are people picking up groceries and medications for their older neighbors and family members, and countless companies, from fitness studios to educational institutions, are offering their services for free online. Amancio Ortega, the founder of Inditex, has donated 63 million euros for materials to battle the virus, as well as has started using his factories to produce sanitary products (masks, disinfectants, etc) for hospitals and health officials. 

Staying united and strong in spirits is just as important as anything else during these trying times. We must remember we are fighting this together, and we must find ways to help in any way we can. #stayhome