How DIAL staff are making the best of this moment in quarantine

The world is constantly changing around us. It is one of the constants of life. However, the abrupt changes caused by COVID-19 has had a halting effect like we have not seen in our lifetime. Erie images of empty city streets, empty airports, people waiting in line for the grocery store, and everyone from adults to children donning facemasks pervade the internet, signaling the newest change in our world today.

At the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL), we have been adjusting on several fronts. On the work front, we are doing our best to ensure the digital resources we have been proving out are used in this moment to help with the public health response to the crisis. We’ve shared messaging platform resources on this blog and we recently added a brief on using MNO data to our web site that we are beta testing with our partners. DIAL is going to continue to do everything it can to be a positive force in helping governments, NGOs, and others response to this crisis.

Though, we also realize that in times of crisis, it’s also important to take a breath when you can and connect on a different level. A human level. In that vein we wanted to share some of the ways DIAL staff have been coping these last couple of months and what they have been noticing that we might not have if we weren’t sheltering in place. I’ll start with myself:


“I’ve been teaching my parents how to Zoom! We have to take it slow and sometimes we have to go over things we’ve already learned but I love spending time with them, even if it’s virtual time.”


“I get outside. Saw this chicken during my daily walk/run. I think there is a house that has a chicken farm close by and one had escaped. This was a very familiar sight growing up in Sri Lanka.”


“I’ve been trying to recreate the office ‘hey got 5mins’ chat virtually…  Which I think is one of the hardest things. I wonder how much of it is because Outlook makes you block off 30-mins which seems like a bigger commitment than ‘hey let’s chat while we grab a coffee!’. It’s an interesting challenge!”


“Working from home and part of a remote team with different time zones has been challenging especially with the surge of the Covid-19 pandemic which caused a complete lockdown in my home country. With the entire family at home, it’s been quite interesting to navigate between work, home schooling, housework and being a caring husband. Interesting times we are going through as a family worth documenting to recount later.”


“I’ve been coping with non-tech solutions. Lots of outside time. My son is obsessed with a bubble machine on the porch, so we try to do at least 30 mins of that a day, plus long walks. A lot of families in my neighborhood are doing the same. I’ve seen more families out on walks every day than I had for months prior.”


“My favorite moment since the lockdown was when my 9 year-old son said ‘Mum you’re the Queen of commands’ as we tried to explain why it’s still a school day on Monday.”


“I’m not a gamer really, especially not video games. Puzzles and board games are more my speed. But y’all, Animal Crossing is doing so much to keep me sane. You’re wandering around doing tasks on a (previously) deserted island. It’s all the things I want to be doing right now IRL.”


“My fiancée and I try and spend more time together through various activities. This includes perfecting both cooking and baking skills and enjoying our company around a puzzle or board game.”


“Teaching and taking online exercise classes has been my saving grace! I don’t think it’s particularly unique to say that staying active as possible, given the circumstances, has helped me stay afloat; even then, physical wellness is only partially it. Being able to stay connected with my client and teacher community has helped me retain a (minimal!) sense of normalcy and be able to chat with people outside of work/my apartment. Most importantly, it serves as a gentle reminder that this is collectively challenging time and to be grateful to have technology that allows me to keep up with my usually non-tech hobbies and communities.”