Yesterday, Friday the 13th, we got unexpected news. Osa Conservation went into lockdown. Because of the Coronavirus pandemic. It meant that everybody had one day to choose whether to work and be confined to Piro station until the end of April, or to work from home. As of today, if one leaves the station you can not come back to it until then. The office in town will be closed as well.
I guess that the management realized that people at Osa Conservation, the staff, the visiting researchers and the volunteers do a lot of traveling abroad, mostly to the US and Europe. And then there are the groups of visitors that stay for only a day. So the risk of the virus coming to Osa Conservation is not negligible, and I can understand the decision. Especially considering the way the idiot that the US has elected as their ‘leader’ is mostly not dealing with the situation.
We opted to continue working from home. It would be a wait and see if we could get an exception and bring Matilda to the station. Besides, we would have to bring all our stuff there, and park it in one room. Doable, but it would be cramped. However, we would not be able to leave, which meant a loss of freedom and also if we had to see a vet for Matilda or so, the stay would be over. Plus we would need to pay for two accommodations.
The upside of staying at the station is that we could walk in the forest every day, and go on turtle patrols every day. For my volunteer work, it would also be good because I could talk with the people of the turtle project, give a planned presentation on relational databases and talk with someone about data management. For Cristina’s project, it would not be handy because they have been planning to do interviews with fishermen and hotel owners and other locals.
The downside of our choice is of course that until the end of April and unless things change, we can not visit the research station nor work at the offices of Osa Conservation in Jimenez. I.e. we will be working behind our laptops from home, which we could be doing from Sweden! Of course, the weather is still a lot better here and we can go swim in the Golfo Dulce, rather than the stone cold Öresund. Or visit Corcovado. Or go diving. So actually it is much much better than being in Sweden.
Some time ago, I wrote about planning and how you cannot plan for the truly unforeseen, such as Matilda getting sick. Now we are dealing with a pandemic. No, we did not see that one coming. Now that it is having consequences to us, we got a little scared and did a bit of stocking up, bought the masks and a thermometer. Just in case.
Of course, we should complain only a little bit. After all, the virus has not made a big entry into Costa Rica and it seems to not be spreading fast here. All cases are confined to the San José agglomeration. We are also lucky that we planned to go in January, not in March or April. We might not have been able to reach or enter Costa Rica at all.
Moreover, our jobs do not depend on traveling. Puerto Jiménez is not in panic – only the hand sanitizer is sold out – but many tourists have canceled which means that a major source of income is disappearing.
You notice that I am trying to rationalize, give some perspective and point to the upsides. Still, it is a bloody BUMMER!
Hej, Xi, do something structural about it, so next time it doesn’t spread to the entire world, again!
Meanwhile, while hoping that they will soon lift the lockdown, we are setting up our laptops on the porch and are enjoying the Macaws in the garden. As the saying goes…when life gives you lemons…