By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: Residents of Mahboula and Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh are thrilled over the impending end of a lockdown imposed months ago due to coronavirus fears. After nearly 100 days, the areas open up again today and residents are excited to return to work and normalcy.

"I'm holding myself back and not expecting too much because I do not want to be upset again," said Reyma Grande, a teacher and resident of Mahboula block 2. "In the past months and weeks, I was hoping that Kuwait will finally lift the lockdown, but it didn't happen. So I am waiting for the day they will finally open up the area. We have become used to this kind of environment for the last three months," she told Kuwait Times.

Grande was asked what she is planning to do when the lockdown is lifted. "I will go to the seaside. It's nearby, but we were prevented during the lockdown from walking there because of a fence. They wouldn't allow residents of Mahboula go beyond the fence to the sea. Then I will visit my friend in Fahaheel and the Holy Family Cathedral in Kuwait City," she said.

Assignments waiting
Gener Cantal, a mechanic and resident of Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, said he misses his work. "I was informed by my company in Rai to report to work on July 14. I am very excited to get back to work. I missed my job, my coworkers and my kind bosses. I have several assignments waiting for me according to them - after more than three months, I am ready to work again," he said.

Cantal said he was earlier told by his boss to report to work in May, but because he lives with his family, he preferred to stay in Jleeb. "They were ready to provide me with accommodation outside the area, but I refused because in the time of pandemic, more than anything else I want to stay with my family. As the head of the family, I needed to make sure that every member of my family is safe before anything else. They understood my commitment to my family and said it was okay," he said.

A Bangladeshi resident of Jleeb, who preferred to keep his identity anonymous, said he plans to visit his relative in Fahaheel and his close friend in Kuwait City once the lockdown is over. "I have friends in several areas of Kuwait, but particularly I want to visit my close friend in Kuwait City. Before the lockdown, we normally met in Maliya (in downtown Kuwait City) to chat.

Sometimes I stayed over at his room in Maliya, and sometimes I invited him to my place in Jleeb. But during the lockdown, we were only talking through mobile apps. I am happy that I will also be able to visit my uncle in Fahaheel," he added.

With the opening up of Mahboula and Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, the only remaining area under lockdown is Farwaniya. According to the Ministry of Health, the lockdown there will be lifted once transmission of COVID-19 in the area is contained.