Imagine going out to do some grocery shopping with your school-age son during the quarantine. Just a thirty minute errand and in that thirty minutes your life is turned upside down. Hardly in her forties this brave mother returned from her shopping and saw smoke pouring from under the door of her fourth floor apartment.
Reports in the press indicate an electrical fault in a heating element. That’s all it took, it appears, (subject to an official investigation to confirm) to destroy a comfortable home full of a life’s mementos and pets. Wisely having the electrical fuse tripped and even more wisely making sure her son did not enter the apartment, this lady then braved mission impossible to save her pets.
The press also thankfully confirm she managed to save her two cats but a hamster and fish did not survive. For her brave actions she was however overwhelmed by carbon-monoxide that required several days of hospitalization in Princess Grace Hospital.
Everything reduced to ashes save just a few things. Quarantine has changed all our lives but nothing like what happened to this family. And in a quarantine the normal lighting response of family, neighbours and friends just can’t happen in the same way. Covid-19 knows no boundaries. But compassion and care from the community did find its way through the quarantine.
Just hours later following the calamity it is reported the Department of Action and Social Aid (DASO) found a fully furnished studio equipped with the essentials for the mother and her son. Close to the family and neighbourhood in a State-owned building, this importantly kept their social networks intact for the time necessary for the completion of the repair work so the family can reenter their original studio-home.
This generous stride forward was followed by more generosity from the community. The parents of students from her son’s school put themselves in the family’s place. What to do when everyone is confined and isolated; they imagined the unimaginable, an unpredictable event that could be so cruel and life-destroying. So they set up an on-line relief fund reported at last count to be hurtling toward 100 donations verging on 5.000 euros of help.
And then followed yet more donations of clothes, toys and equipment for the home.
Everything is also being done, too, to prepare the son for his way to school on the targeted May 11 date for resuming classes. The Monegasque National Education Organisation, together with the Children and Future association are reported to have collaborated so that he can be equipped for school with a tablet or a computer.
Love, caring and friendship is priceless. The double weight of quarantine and fire was partially lifted. In a calamitous situation of double jeopardy, out of the blue came the warm blanket of community support and a reciprocal infinite feeling of gratitude of a mother and son, in the process of finding their feet again.