United, We Shall Overcome This! - The Story of 2 Expats in Wuhan

Source: OT-Team (AFJ)

On March 22, news about an Italian woman, named Sara Platto and a French man, named Frdric Domeck, choosing to stay in Wuhan and contribute in a modest way, was released by the mainstream media in China. The video won many thanks from netizens.

Italian: Deeply Moved by The Unity

Sara Platto, from Brescia, has been China for eight years. Now she is not only an associate professor of life sciences at Jianghan University, but also a scientific consultant of the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation.

On January 23, when Wuhan was shut down due to the outbreak of the epidemic, the Embassy of Italy in China called Sara four times to suggest her to return to Italy, but she all refused, which made her mother so angry that almost called the Italian Foreign Ministry, hoping to force her daughter to go home.

Supported by Her Son and Neighbors

As a life science scholar, Sara is no stranger to coronaviruses. According to the news staff, before Sara made the decision to stay rather than evacuation, she gathered a lot of information about it. And she even contacted a virologist to do a risk assessment about staying. Finally, she made it clear that it was safer to stay at home than to get on a crowded plane. Her decision was supported by her 12-year-old son, who said We have two cats, if were not allowed to take them with us, then we will never leave.

Since then, Sara and her son have started a life of isolation. She has set up a WeChat group with other Italians in Wuhan to share the happy moments of daily life and help each other fight against anxiety and panic.

With the complete closure of the inner-city community in Wuhan, Sara couldnt go out to buy food, so she had no choice but to ask for help from her neighbors via the WeChat group. About 30 minutes later, two neighbors brought two large bags of ingredients, one was vegetables, the other was spaghetti, and left an encouraging note: "Sara, be strong. China will solve the problem."

I was moved by my neighbors as one of them who brought me food had never met me before. I could feel that the people in Wuhan are all united and we should never forget that unity. In the aftermath of the outbreak, some people are facing grief and mourning, and some people may be suffering economic hardship. We shall reach out to each other." Sara recalled.

French: Second Hometown

The other person who determined to stay in Wuhan was a 54-year-old man, named Frdric Domeck, from Lyon. Eight years ago, he came here with his Wuhan-born wife, and then brought his mother to China too.

At the end of January, the French government sent three chartered planes to take  French citizens, but Frdric stayed. He was convinced that it was safe to stay in Wuhan, and comforted his worried wife, saying that as long as isolation was done according to the instructions, it would be OK.

"I haven't left Wuhan since I came to live here many years ago. With all my family and my 81-year-old mother here, Wuhan is my home, and I have no reason to leave." Frdric said.

To Do More Besides Staying

On January 26, when the outbreak was at its worst, Frdric knew that Wuhan was in desperate need of volunteers with cars to help transport supplies. Without any hesitation, he immediately applied to join the volunteer team.

"At that time, my family was safe, and I was in good health. What was more, I had a car, so I thought that was what I should do." Frdric told the news staff.

Over the past two months, Frdric has put on protective equipment almost every day, delivering protective equipment, disinfectant and other goods to various medical units, public security departments and communities.

Never Stop Until No Longer Needed 

As for Frdric, who speaks neither English nor Chinese fluently. While volunteering, he often needs to communicate with his partners through the translation app, sometimes even have to ask his wife to help translate remotely, but this doesnt hinder his friendship with his Chinese colleagues. Among his social media, the screen is full of photos of him and other volunteers, they call each other " comrades-in-arms".

"Transportation is so tiring, but its satisfying when we eat hot and dry noodles together and drink traditional Chinese medicine to strengthen our immunity. As for me, I will continue to do volunteer work until the people of Wuhan no longer need me." Frdric said.