The Goddess Copes Global Edition—Part 2 

Drawing of figures in a business setting with a globe


The Minerva Strategies team received so many interesting COVID-19 dispatches from our partners around the world that we had to break this into two parts. If you missed part one—with dispatches from Johannesburg, London, Buenos Aires, and New Delhi, check it out here.  

This week we’re bringing you insights from our partners in different countries and diverse parts of the U.S.: Jakarta, Indonesia: New York CityAbuja, Nigeria, and the U.S. state of Georgia (which feels like a different country to us)We hope you find these notes as touching and inspiring as we do.  


Harry Setiawan, Jakarta, Indonesia 


I live in Jakarta, which is considered the red zone of Indonesia during this pandemic. The ‘stay-at-home’ policy was being encouraged and took place starting March 15th. Some offices already implemented work from home, while some were still business as usual. But the majority of Jakartans limited their activities and mobility even though public transportation remained in full operation.  


After the ‘partial lockdown’ was implemented starting mid-April, malls and other public facilities have been temporarily closed except several basic outlets, such as supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, and telecommunications shops. The central government allows eleven strategic industries to still be in operation, with some restrictions. The latest news is that starting May 7th, all means of mass transportation have been back in operation with some restrictions and requirements in place. Hopefully more good news will follow. 


Other cities outside of Jakarta followed suit in implementing the partial lockdown policy. As far as the numbers are concerned, as of May 12, 2020, there were more than 14,265 cases of COVID-19 in Indonesia with 991 deaths and 2,881 people recovered. 


The government has prepared and undergone various measures to curb fatalities. Indonesia has many geographicdemographic, politicaland economic challenges. We are still feeling the effects of last year’s presidential election; there is hatred from the opposition that results in questioning of and resistance to what the President is doing to curb this pandemic. The shortages and limited distribution of medical equipment and protective gear are also part of the daily drama.  


However, various communities are involved in making sure that everyone is safe and protected—this is on the rise. Many people have taken part in this collective effort and are supporting the medical teams in various healthcare facilities. People are making masks and hazmat suits at home. On the social level, I noticed more and more initiatives have started to reach out to and provide for people who are affected by the pandemic financially and/or logistically.  


I live with my housemate in a rather central location in Jakarta, where one of the business districts is located. There is a significant difference from the usual daily crowds and traffic to quiet and very few cars and motorcycles passing by these days. 



This pandemic of course has affected my business activities too, since all of the projects are either being cancelled or put on hold. But, it is what it is. To cope, I spend most of my time doing the inner-work, such as meditation, reading. And I started to provide online Tarot Reading services. :)  


I am not working on anything that is related to the pandemic at this moment, however, I support my social-activist friends who are doing some outreach to the trans-women community to make sure they have access to basic needs, as they are quite prone to the sociaand economic impacts of the pandemic. 


I am mostly worried about what the business climate will be like after this—how the pandemic would affect the PR industry. That’s why I have revisited some of my previous business ideas or other initiatives, just in case. 


But, for the time being, I am taking one day at a time, while looking forward to going to the movies again and traveling to the beach! 🙂 


David Brotherton, Augusta, GA, USA 


Things are stable in Augusta, Georgia…or as stable as they can be with a governor who would prefer us all to go out for tattoos and bowling. Despite the State’s suspending shelter-in-place orders, no one at Brotherton Strategies is going anywhere soon. And each day feels much like the last. Zoom call. Coffee. Zoom call. Dog walk. Zoom call. Sandwich. Zoom call. Cocktails. 


Through it all we’re trying to help our foundation partners navigate choppy, uncharted waters with communications that stress flexibility, kindness, and the urgency of the moment. It’s been remarkable to witness the heroic ways our clients and colleagues are adapting. And we’re holding out hope that the world we all rebuild from all this rubble will be one hell of a lot more equitable and democratic than the one that collapsed.  



Here’s a photo of me and my parents taking a selfie in front of my childhood home, one block away from where we now live.


Oh, and as for Netflix recommendations…two words: “Crip Camp.” 



Victor Emeruwa, Abuja, Nigeria 


This has been a hell of an experience. At age 42, I have never experienced a period when the entire world shut down over a virus.  


The situation in Nigeria began with an index case; an Italian businessman who flew into Lagos. Nigeria has recorded 4,400 cases with 143 deaths so far. The challenge is that the virus is now spreading within communities.   


Almajiri are children who are out of school and abandoned to live on the streets and beg for food. Last week, the government of Kano in northwest Nigeria started sending Almajiri children back to their states of origin. 200 Almajiri children have been tested for COVID-19 so far and about 86 have tested positive. The situation of these children is most worrisome because they are transported in enclosed trucks as goods to their various states of origin and some have been reported to have escaped to states with less incidence of the virus. There are three million Almajiri in Kano alone and very few are being tested. This is scary! It is unimaginable what we may see in the coming days or weeks.  


Figures from Nigeria may not be absolutely reliable because of the low testing capacity; only 1000 people are tested daily. There have been reports of “mystery deaths” in states where 450 persons died mysteriously of fever in the span of 2-5 days. These deaths have strong evidences of COVID-19 but were not included in the official death count.  


This virus is impacting many prominent NigeriansMr. Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to the President, and two firstclass traditional rulers in Kano State died as a result of COVID-19. 


I am at home with my children. We do the handwashing rituals like our lives depend on it and our home is filled with an assortment of hand sanitizers. But frankly, it has been a very challenging time for my business. Client have cancelled many projects and there is no support from the government. I have to ensure salaries are paid for my three staff members who are working from home. 



I am now reading and taking short courses from just to keep my mind active and away for the horrible news of deaths around me and across the world. I stay positive and optimistic that things will begin to get better, especially in terms of business so I can sustain myself and my wonderful team. 


I am worried that international travel may be restricted until a vaccine is discovered and even when there is a vaccine. Social distancing appears to be the new normal.  


There are many interesting aspects of COVID19 that are not being covered. It has amplified the poverty issues in most communities which do not have running water or money to purchase hand washing soap. A famous cleric in Kano where the pandemic is now raging debunked the existence of any virus, even after 250 people died within 72 hours! What about the corruption? The stealing of medicines intended for the poor? The spike in domestic violence? There are so many untold stories. 


Thank you and please stay safe. 


Edith Asibey, Brooklyn, NY, USA 


Here in New York City, we are experiencing a whirlwind of emotions. While we continue to be in very delicate territory, I am starting to feel more hopeful as we see a decline in new COVID cases.  


New Yorkers are proud of all our City has to offer, which is why we feel sad to see all our amazing public venues shut down. But we are finding ways to lift our spirits and honor those we have lost, like in this beautiful #MemorialForUsAll series that Lincoln Center is spearheading. 


I am convinced that we’ll come out of this pandemic stronger if we help one another. This is the time to act. I am a certified Tiny Habits Coach, and in keeping with the global reach of Asibey Consulting, I decided to teach free global Zoom sessions on “Tiny Habits for Generosity” in English and Spanish (you can watch the 15-min recordings).  



I was touched when hundreds of people from all over the world joined our sessions and energized to help people learn a very practical way to make generosity a habit in their own lives. 


Food is also a big part of NYC.  My husband owns a small-but-mighty neighborhood restaurant in Brooklyn, Lowerline, where he is the Chef. Before we decided to temporarily close it, we donated meals to the frontline workers at the Schulman and Schachne Institute for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Brooklyn. This past week, I volunteered with God’s Love We Deliver, an amazing organization with a vital mission: to home-deliver nutritious, medically tailored meals for New Yorkers too sick to shop or cook for themselves.  


As we support one another and find ways to help people we don’t know, we must also raise our voices to demand that our governments—federal, state, and municipal—provide the right services and support our people need. And this support must reach those who need it most including the elderly, the poor, people living with disabilities, and people who are undocumented. 

About The Author

Minerva Strategies

Minerva Strategies

The Minerva team has decades of experience working with nonprofits, foundations, and values-driven companies. Minerva also partners with experts—trusted designers, web developers, global communications professionals, and others—who share our excitement for creating positive social change. Through these partnerships, we can build a team that is tailored to your needs. Learn more about who we are or what we do.