by Loretta Oddi
*Lorretta Oddi is the pastor’s wife in Santa Ponsa, Mallorca. They helped to set up a Foodbank with many others. On the picture you see her with her family.
Yes, I believe the situation in Mallorca is as bad as it is being related by the media and/or documentaries. The majority of people I personally know have been negatively affected by the pandemic, specifically in loss of jobs, loss of income, and consequently their emotional well-being has been affected. Some dear friends had to leave the island after losing everything and not being granted any support by the government as it took time to react to the sudden and destructive effect of the lockdown measures on self-employed, small business owners.
Other friends have lost their business or their source of income and are desperately trying to reinvent themselves on an island that depends largely on tourism. Others are on ERTE, their back-to-work date being constantly put off because of changes in tourism influx regulations. At the Santa Ponsa Foodbank, I have met so many people with heartbreaking stories. They are not only names on a list, nor a percentage in the statistics … they are beautiful people who have been hit hard by the repercussions of the shutdown caused by the virus.
In some cases, the economic hardship has come on top of other dramatic situations: cancer in a family member; separation; illness; having moved from a different country in the midst of a complicated divorce; old age etc. Our neighbors were forced to choose between paying for electricity and buying food at one point. Another family on our street was left with no income and was grateful for their landlord’s leniency in keeping up with their rent. In Calvia, the richest municipality in Mallorca, and one of the richest in Spain, we are experiencing growing numbers of people losing their homes, living in cars or even on the streets, in the woods by Paguera.
What is your solution?
Short term: keeping up with solidarity. There are at least 75 active entities providing families on the poverty line with food, clothing, etc … but there is also a lot going on through personal relationships, and more coming from individual businesses offering for example free glasses or trying to cover some other pressing needs. The good thing about Mallorca is that truly people have shown solidarity. We all feel it is important that we remain united at this difficult time.
Mid-long term: by now the EU recovery funds should be available as there has been plenty of time to study and determine where they should go and plan how they should be distributed. It would be good to see more of a consistent balance between favoring health and the economy. The fluctuations between one and the other extreme have created a climate of uncertainty and instability quite hard to bear.
As far as vaccination is concerned, it is uncertain whether the vaccines that are being offered today will protect against new strains of the virus; so we welcome solutions that will make this virus more ‘normalized’ and advocate for better communication and consistency between various countries in their travel policies. Really, I hope that the island can be seen again as a safe place to travel to, and its economy can pick up again.