Wickmonk Family Missionary update
After a year-long, Covid-19 created delay, we have come back to the United States for the first time in three years. We all took Covid tests before flying out of Tunisia and then had what was probably our most relaxed intercontinental travel experience ever, unfortunately, as the result of quiet, eerily empty airports and half-full airplanes. The morning after we landed in Minnesota, the three of us who were old enough got out of bed and drove five minutes away to receive our first vaccine shot.
Meanwhile, the country we left behind is in Covid-created turmoil. Tunisia performed fairly well over the past year or so, trying to balance health concerns with the economic needs of a poor country. Unlike in many parts of the world, we had school most of the year except for about eight weeks, with short-term closings spread out based on the Covid situation at different times over the year. Thankfully, youth sports went on as usual — our kids all play soccer basically year-round.
Although a nightly curfew ranging from 4 to 10 pm has been in place for well over a year, restaurants and shops have mostly been open, with fluctuating limitations on indoor seating or capacity. Masks have been required in public places. Our lives were fairly normal, with no frills. However, over the past several months the situation has changed dramatically, with the arrival and proliferation of the newer Delta variant. Infections and deaths are now the highest by far they have ever been in the country. Hospitals are now basically full — as are the morgues — with important supplies like oxygen depleted as well. We have even seen several pleas by individuals on social media asking where they can find oxygen for sick family members. Tunisia now has the highest Covid death rate in Africa and the Arab World as well. As a result of all of this, just over the past week or so Tunisia has reintroduced stricter restrictions. Weekend lockdowns have been instituted for the time being, indoor seating at cafes and restaurants has been prohibited and movement between regions has been barred. Mosques are closed for worship, too. And, just yesterday, youth sports clubs and leagues were closed. For more details on the situation in Tunisia, please read this article and this article, too.
We are grateful and happy to be back in the US connecting with family and friends after a long three years and to have a chance to get our vaccines. We are grieving with our community in Tunisia who have lost so many family and friends over the past few months and pray that the vaccines become more widely available in Tunisia, too.
We are so thankful for your support and continued interest in our work and the people of North Africa and Tunisia. Please think of the country and lift up the people there in your prayers.
Matt, Annamarie, August, Blaze and Everbloom
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