Letter from The Canary Islands

The Island Lockdown

Hello everyone, thank you for inviting me to write a letter,

Here in Spain, we have been in a very strict lockdown since 14th March 2020, yesterday on the 2nd May 2020 we were allowed to exercise for the first time outside for 1 hour, it might sound strange but this was quite unnerving and strange seeing people in the streets, I’ve really got used to everything being so quiet. 

I think the magnitude of the situation in Spain really began to hit home when the news showed an ice-skating rink being used as a morgue because there were so many deaths and from then, everyone became very quiet and compliant of the emergency laws.  

My workload actually increased due to this crisis. I currently train, support and advise youth workers how to implement virtual activities, and also tutor university students online, so I am able to work from home. I am very fortunate, we all know people who have lost their jobs and have been affected financially by this.

I think maintaining the structure of a working week has helped to keep me sane, but for sure I miss my weekends in the mountains and at the beach. Netflix, Audible and my books have certainly been used more than ever. 

Different countries have had different responses but generally, through my work with youth workers throughout Europe and Southern Mediterranean countries, I’ve seen that most teams have risen to the challenge and adapted well which shows the resilience of youth workers and youth work practice in the face of great challenges. 

There have, of course been high levels of stress, boredom and uncertainty. Many youth organisations are unsure about their future after projects have been cancelled, postponed etc. and this is an additional worry for them. 

Even amongst that negativity, we have witnessed so much positivity in the youth work community. 

Youth organisations working together to create projects that they can do online to keep providing activities and support for their members, active support groups being set up, renewed contact with people we had lost touch with in the busy times in our life, and a general understanding that this is a time to reset our lifestyles, breathe and focus on what is important. 

Initiatives like this letter writing one are a great example of making connections, and I hope that this community spirit continues in the future. 

Daniel Dixon

About Daniel

Daniel Dixon, 46, is a Project manager, trainer and teacher in the fields of youth work, English Language, Intercultural Competence, Virtual Exchange, Non-formal Education and Organisational Efficiency. 

Currently living in a small village on the island of Gran Canaria, and when not in COVID times, travels to many countries providing training and development and attending events to speak about virtual youth work and virtual exchange. 

Loves to travel for fun and work, and can’t wait to get mobile again.

 

 

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