From an American expat in Wuhan
WUHAN. Here’s what’s going on all over Wuhan. People are yelling outside. At first I thought it was just outside our window. Then my WeChat started blowing up with messages about this. This yelling is going on all over the city. People are hanging out their windows in a massive coordinated cheer. Jiayou, Wuhan!
Jiayou (Ji-yo) is like a high-five, a “you go, girl!”, a “Right on!”, a “Let’s Go!” etc. It’s a positive, affirming statement. All over the city people are yelling out their windows their support of each other in the middle of this front-news-making, death-toll-rising mayhem.
Wuhan people are amazing! The coronavirus cannot crush the collective human spirit of this place.
You may have heard that US citizens have a chance to evacuate. Many have contacted us asking if we’re going to leave. Well, it’s not so easy.
Diplomats get to leave first. We’re not diplomats. High priority/high risk people next. We’re not that, either. We have no reason to be on this very limited-capacity flight that leaves Wuhan tomorrow. But even if we decided to petition the American embassy and by some fluke earned a seat on this flight, we don’t want to go anywhere. Wuhan is our home.
Not much has changed in the last two days. Most stores are still closed. Transportation is still locked down. Half our staff is stuck out of country from their vacations and can’t get back in. The rest of us are stuck in country and can’t get out. We have at least 3 more weeks until school will consider opening (after one week off already).
So we’re sleeping late. We’re playing games. We’re exercising a lot (3 times today!). We’re getting outside. My kitchen is cleaner than ever, and I’ve even been spending my leisurely time doing nonsensical things like folding the items in my underwear drawer.
But still… the stores that are open are stocked well enough with food. We have enough on hand to last weeks. Yes, it’s boring. Yes, it’s inconvenient. But still… were healthy. Everybody we know is healthy.
Wuhan ren (people) are resilient. Wuhan ren are strong. Many of our local friends especially are being ostracized and isolated in their hometowns now because they are from Wuhan. “It’s like being in prison,” one friend told me. “They hate me because I’m from Wuhan,” another wrote. There’s a stigma, a scarlet letter, a target on the back of everyone from Wuhan. THAT is not cool. It makes me mad. It makes me sad.
“But God loves you,” I told my friend, “and that’s all that matters.” She knows that. That is the most important thing that matters.
The city of Wuhan and these amazing Wuhan ren yelling collectively out their windows tonight…eventually they (we) are all going to be just fine.
Keep praying for peace and for healing.