It has been six weeks since we were told to stay home and social distance to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus.

After some false starts and lots of thuds and echoes, the storytelling group has come together again online. We have weekly zoom get-togethers where we squint and wave at each other’s images. People appear and disappear. Not everyone has great WiFi and the sound can be terrible. But sometimes it works really well. We listen to each other as though we were in the same room again, share ideas, laugh and disagree. From time to time an argument breaks out and someone tries to hold the peace: “Hey guys! Shut up! Can’t hear a word!”

The storytelling group is rather like a family. Isn’t this what goes on in all families?

The Cotton Tree is very fortunate to have received a grant from the Martin Lewis Coronavirus Emergency Fund. We aim to use these funds to improve the connectivity of our members – topping up data and boosting WiFi performance where appropriate.

Everyone needs good internet in lockdown – these are basic necessities.

In our Zoom get-togethers, we have been discussing the experience of lockdown. We have asked:

  • What freedoms have we lost?
  • What freedoms do we still have?
  • What choices can we still make?
  • How can we make the most of the freedoms we still have?
  • What is freedom anyway?
  • What’s the first thing we want to do when lockdown ends?

Some members said they have been in lockdown for years.

“Our lives are in limbo; now it’s double limbo. We’re waiting to start waiting for recovery to begin,” said one member of the group.

Another told us about feeling trapped: “I used to work. I was a high earner. I have skills. Now I’m stuck between four walls without WiFi and there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Others are glad to have more time to themselves, happy to exercise, tend to their hobbies and prayers.

One member said: “In lockdown I go for walks and think about my life: who I am, where I come from, what it’s all about.”

We explore ways to make life in lockdown more tolerable. For instance, members can sign up to our befriending service – the Conversations Project – or take this time to improve their English. They can keep a diary, jotting down their thoughts every day, or taking photos to record their daily lives.

Let's see how everyone feels in week seven.

Find out more 

Lockdown diaries: Prince Ivan’s choice