Today I want to tell you a story, that could be of anyone who reads.
Let’s go back to 1 March 2020.
After one year, with my family we go on vacation to Italy!
In the so called “beautiful country“, we will have our beloved pizza and so many tasty Italian specialties.
Unfortunately something is going wrong everywhere!
In a few days, the Premier Giuseppe Conte closes Italy, and blocks us at home.
Africa is very far now, and we seriously risk to get locked out of the country.
We set the return to South Africa for March 14 (originally it was March 26), but the plan fails. No way to fly back home!
We are in a real situation.
It does not look good at all. As an Italian citizen I try to contact the authorities to “repatriate” in South Africa, but nobody answer my calls.
March is now gone; April is gone too! May is the time I can get in touch with an Embassy (of South Africa) in Milan, thanks to the Mediterranean Shipping Company Team in Durban.
We enter the list to repatriate, but something goes wrong once again: my family has to stay out of the country.
They have only a temporary VISA! No way to change the things. I will fly back alone to work, on 19 May from Roma Fiumicino, via Doha direction Johannesburg in South Africa.
Those who work at MSC know what I felt, and I don’t need to add anything else because it is right to leave everyone with its own emotions. When the day comes, joy and sorrow are melted together. The world is experiencing its biggest crisis in decades, and once again something goes wrong. I have no room on the flight. Next one available is on 1 June. After 3 months of fear and tension never experienced before we keep on waiting. Being away from home and work is frustrating.
Not at all. The flight scheduled for 1 May is cancelled on 28 May. We are back to square one.
All of a sudden, Sunday 31 May the same flight is restored. Too many friends are waiting for a chance for so long, I can’t really miss this flight, even if it means to leave my family behind. To leave my wife and my daughters is hard. Difficult even to explain! I am in Fiumicino Airport now. There is an incredible silence around me.
The flight to Doha is relatively short (5 hours); we are thirty people on board. Its 10 pm local time when we land into one of the most beautiful airports in the world.
The strange thing is that it is closed and we have 12 hours to wait before the next connection.
They accompany us to a (huge) room from which you can see the plane just left. We have bathrooms to use and armchairs to sleep on.
Nothing else to do and nowhere else to go.
The morning finally comes and after a long walk in silence we are on board to Johannesburg. Here we are almost a hundred, but there is no tension. Only 9 hours left to South Africa. The flight is ok. Its time to sleep above all.
Landing in South Africa at 6 pm, we realize that is pitch black in this part of the world, and is quite chilly. Two and a half hours to go through passport control and collect luggage directly from the runway, under the plane.
A caravan of about ten vans is now formed to take us to the destination chosen by the Government.
We are under quarantine. Silence is everywhere. And roads are empty. It looks like a movie.
Forty five minutes later we are at our destination.
The Hotel is comfortable, and empty, of course. Meals are left outside our rooms. What to do is easy. We must wait and remain indoor. The first stage of the quarantine only last 5 days.
I got tested and released one day later. The balance of 14 days will be spent in my place in Durban. I am back at work now, but my family is still locked down in Italy. We will wait for 4 months before get them back, and restart our “normal” life.
Many things happened since then, but one comes above all others: We moved to Geneva in Switzerland.
After 7 years we are in Europe again, ready to enjoy the new experience.
MSC Geneva Head Quarter is my place now, and I am really happy for that.
My family with www.food4feeding.com will start fresh from a new reality and brand new ideas. Just the time to terminate the quarantine here in Switzerland and we will take on the new challenge. We are ready. Follow us!
Salvatore Siviero and Maria Esaminato (www.food4feeding.com)