Since January 2020, we watched anxiously as the corona (coronavirus) epidemic grew to its current pandemic scale. The rapid and inexorable spread of the virus from Asia to Europe, Africa and the Americas made painfully real the interconnectedness of our world while also strengthening it with the many acts of kindness and compassion (karuna in Sanskrit) that have united our humanity.

Wherever we find ourselves, we are all dealing with the pandemic in some way. As we struggle with the economic, physical and psychological damage COVID-19 has left in its wake, it may be helpful, from time to time, to see and consider the situation of our fellow global citizens in other parts of the world, whose lives may not closely resemble ours, but whose strategies and strength can inspire compassion and help form a more realistic understanding of our own pandemic plight. 

Arranged here are 14 photographs, hewn in sharp black and white, of life in the small village of Mundgod, India, in 2020---during the pandemic but before the deeply tragic second wave of infection in that country. Photographer and Buddhist monk Nicholas Vreeland provides a glimpse into the daily experiences of Mundgod's people and their work to support themselves and their neighbours in rituals of survival. It is a story of fear and resignation, of compassion and dilemma, of persistence and hope, all written in the faces of just one small society. Mundgod may be far from us in distance and perspective, but it is brought nearer in our common conflict with COVID-19.

                                                                                                                                                               The UN Chronicle

                                                                                                                                                               26 May 2021


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