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  • Writer's pictureBehind the Mask

Covid Memoir — Saudi Arabia

Coronavirus. Covid-19. Rona. You name it. I first heard of the virus via The New York Times. I subscribed to their newspaper so every other day a summary of the most relevant news was emailed to me. The snippet from that specific day read something like “Mysterious Virus found in Wuhan China.” I didn’t think much of it at the time. As time went on, suddenly the virus was making headlines everywhere.

I live in Saudi Arabia so you can imagine that it is very very far away from China. On top of that, I live in a place called KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology). It’s hard to describe it, so check out this video instead to see what it’s like:

Kaust has a population of around 7,500 people. It’s an intriguing place and very Westernized compared to the rest of Saudi.

It was around March and suddenly there was more and more discussion in school about Covid-19. Many thought as I did that it would never make its way into Kaust. Kaust is 80 kilometers away from the nearest big city, and on top of that Saudi had no recorded cases.

Then boom, the first case of coronavirus in Saudi was confirmed. The news spread fast and a couple of days later suddenly 17 cases were confirmed. Then, finally what everyone thought was impossible happened: a case in Kaust was confirmed. Online school began and for two months we were in strict lockdown. Lockdown really made me think about how incredibly grateful I am for the simple things. It’s a year past that and we still are far away from normality. I wonder when this all will end, and it’s crazy to think that masks and vaccines will be the norm for the future. As I end this memoir I think the biggest things that I am left with are feelings of:

  1. Gratitude

  2. Frustration

  3. Curiosity.

— Eli Vasily, 17

Thuwal, Saudi Arabia


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