City in the Making in times of Corona

It has been quiet on our website for a while. Not because we have been paralyzed by the Coronavirus – on the contrary, things are happening in rapid succession, and then it is vital to take the most necessary action first. But now there is some time for an update.

First of all, all of us (the community of about 80 people) are doing well so far. Especially in Almondestraat, the residents of Pension Almonde have quickly switched to the ‘new normal’:

– Online communication via various channels (WhatsApp, radio, Facebook, video-meeting tools such as Zoom, etc.) has quickly been taken. Meetings and gatherings also continue as usual. We all learn that physical presence is not always necessary.
– Communication from the balconies automatically maintains the correct social distance.
– There has been singing and dancing on the balconies, online raves have been organized, online yoga is practised and social-distance sports activities are held in the park.
– There is a great deal of solidarity and a special Care group has been created that checks whether everyone is doing well by direct telephone contact.
– The outreach to the neighbourhood has also started. After Keju Kitchen (a commons catering company in the street) first changed the weekly soup day to a  takeaway soup-counter and started cooking for the street, the service has now expanded – with financial support from the municipality – to free food provision for the elderly and deprived persons in the neighbourhood.

And: the first corona-era baby in our community entered the world yesterday. Mother and child are doing well. A second is in the planning for this week.

The daily developments can be followed through various channels:

– the News button on the website of pension Almonde ;
– the Facebook page of pension Almonde ;
– and the daily radio channel Good Times, Bad times can be followed via the internet (sometimes) with laid-back conversations and music.

Besides, ‘the media’ have been visiting in recent days. First, a short item in an ARTE / ZDf (German television) episode of Metropolis about Rotterdam culture, in which Melle Smets takes you to Almondestraat from minute 10. The recordings were actually 4 weeks ago; another world. 

After a pre-corona episode of WijkTV about Almonde guest house in general, an Open Rotterdam report about food distribution followed. The regional channel RTVRijnmond also came along.

Also a nice article in national newspaper De Volkskrant: Soep en yoga: hoe een Rotterdams huizenblok ondanks alles contact houdt

We are pleasantly surprised by the resilience and adaptability of our City in the Making community. It creates hope for a better future and shows that such close-knit communities are vital not only in the days of crisis but especially afterwards when hopefully another world emerges from the current misery.