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2020: What next......

COVID-19 has hit tourism hard across the world. But whilst thankfully, many countries are seeing a slow return of travellers, here in Brasil we are still in tourism lockdown. The tourism industry closed down here in March and is set to continue to be this way for several more months. Morretes is finding life particularly difficult as over 40% of the population rely on tourism for an income.

On top of this 2020 has seen the worst drought in 80 years. Many peoples wells were dry for the first time in living memory and those with mains supply experienced rolling stoppages.

 The drought had barely finished when Cyclone Bomba devastated the area. It sat over Morretes for 20 hours causing widespread destruction.

It was my first experience of a cyclone and sitting in a wooden house in the middle of the rainforest is not a comfortable place to be!

 We lost around 100 trees but were very lucky that none of these fell directly on the house or a chalet leaving us with only minor structural damage and no power for 10 days. (On the plus side the cyclone dispersed the swarm of locusts that was heading this way!)

Being part of the community has always been important to us and in the aftermath of the cyclone it was wonderful to see how everyone pulled together and helped each other out. We had drinking water so could distribute that, others shared building materials, helped us clear trees and those with power welcomed us into their homes to shower!

 I'm proud of how we have risen to the challenges that 2020 has presented thus far and though undoubtedly difficult and even scary at times we have the confidence that we will meet whatever else 2020 has throw at us - bring it on!

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Please hang on, you are doing great work for your community. You are rightly proud and we are proud of you!

Antonis Petropoulos
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