A Country on Hold: Quarantine-Diaries by FNF Jerusalem Interns - Janis' "diary"

A Country on Hold: Quarantine-Diaries by FNF Jerusalem Interns - Janis' "diary"

Our team at the FNF Jerusalem office is always very happy about the inspiration and freshness our young interns bring with them into our office life. Our interns take part in the daily office work and discussions and join us for meetings with different personalities and events in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. During an excursion our current interns, Janne Piper and Janis Weingärtner, and also our Palestinian colleague, Suleiman Abu Dayyeh, were in contact with a person who - a few days later - was tested positive with the Corona virus. The three colleagues had to go into immediate home quarantine for two weeks in order to observe whether they developed symptoms of the illness. Meanwhile, they finalized their quarantine time and luckily all are healthy.

Janne and Janis reported about their daily routine in quarantine, which arouses naturally ambivalent feelings, in short “Diary Entries” . In the first part we share with you Janis' "diary", which he wrote in English for the non-German speakers among our followers. 

"My name is Janis Weingärtner, I am currently interning at Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Jerusalem and had to spend six days in quarantine last week.When my parents visited Israel three years ago, I never would have thought that I would end up having to spend six days in quarantine due to coincidentally drinking coffee with the owner of their then hotel in Bethlehem. The fact that he, a Palestinian, is married to a German, who we found out to have known my uncle about 30 years ago, only adds up to the curiosity of this incidence. 

It all started on Saturday the 29th of February, when two colleagues of mine and I took a tour of Bet Jala, which is close to Bethlehem, and dropped by the hotel owners place to say hello. Unfortunately, over the course of the past week he got diagnosed with the Coronavirus. We got to know about it on Sunday the 8th of March, which meant that I would have to spend another six days in quarantine in order to complete the 14 days necessary. Monday morning then started with me trying to figure out what one could do when not being allowed to leave the house. Fortunately, the office gave me a few tasks to complete and offered to do some grocery shopping for me. So, I pretty much spent the day philosophizing on what I would want to eat for the rest of the week. 

I went for Ptitim, Chicken, Avocados, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Oranges, Eggs, Hummus and Labaneh and was pretty satisfied with my decision. Big shoutout to my colleagues’ husband who did the shopping and helped me carry the bags up to my apartment (whilst keeping a safety clearance of 5 meters). I wish I had different things to tell about Tuesday and Wednesday, but even though I thought it to be impossible, they were even less eventful than Monday. However, I discovered that sitting on the terrace and enjoying the sun whilst doing work is not the worst thing that could have happened to me. The last three days were quite rainy and thus compromised my plans of spending most of my time in quarantine in the warm Israeli sun. However, I managed quite well to get through them by working, sleeping, reading and talking to friends and family in Germany.

To me, it feels a bit surreal that up until now, almost everyone I know has a Corona story to tell and the world more and more moves towards a state of exception. I quite well remember sitting with my friends back in Munich for lunch when the virus had just started to spread in China but had not yet proliferated internationally. I remember us not really taking it seriously, thinking that we would never really have to deal with it. But things have developed differently over the past few weeks and months. My parents were supposed to visit me in Israel last week but had to cancel due to Israel’s new entry policy, which then dictated a 14 days quarantine for every German entering the country (as of to day, a 14 days quarantine is obligatory for every person entering the country, regardless the origin they traveled from).

A friend of mine in Munich was supposed to take part in an international conference in New York, that he has been preparing for for months, but the conference got cancelled due to entry bans. My roommate in Germany was supposed to go back to university next week, but her courses got postponed until the end of April. I feel very calm about the virus itself but having to deal with ever changing circumstances and a high degree of uncertainty whilst being away from home can get tough from time to time. However, I am generally very optimistic and thankful for the positive sides that go along with this state of exception, as families and friends draw near and we all get the chance to bethink of the things that really matter."