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8x Eindhoveners in times of corona

Photographer Ralph Roelse strolled around town and talked to his fellow citizens. How have they experienced the past few months? And how do they look forward from here on? In this series, eight people from Eindhoven talk about fears, opportunities, and appreciating what you’ve got.

Roshni Suresh
Student Industrial Design

'For me personally, the pandemic didn't have a huge impact, but it's in my nature, I think. I'm a flexible person. I did consider going home, like some of my friends did, but I couldn't get a flight back to Oman in the end. Ok, I thought, I'm just gonna make the best of it here.'

'The biggest difference for me as a student was that the lectures were suddenly online. I'd sit there in my pajamas at the computer in the morning, haha. What I did regret was that we had to cancel our play. I'm a member of a student drama group, in June we would have had our performance. Have I come to any new insights? Yes, I've decided to work at the TU/e next year in addition to my studies and to become a better cook. I've watched countless YouTube tutorials over the past few months.'

Jay De Kapper
Next Best Barber

'We sell time, and time never catches up with you. Luckily, all our regular customers came right back. Most of them hadn't tried to cut their hair themselves, no. They had waited for us. We were about to move to a larger building when all the barbershops in the Netherlands suddenly locked down. Sitting at home forced us to think. Is bigger always better? We concluded that we were actually very happy with what we already had, a great business with loyal customers at Strijp-S.'

Cindy van der Loon
Eindhovens Finest Queen

'Actually, I didn't really mind that my events got canceled. I was in the middle of my graduation project. Usually, I perform about twice a month. Now I was mainly at home.'

'I recently started performing again. One of the first gigs was participating as Cindy van der Loon in an online talk about whether drag is art or not. The other time I had a dance performance during the TAC2GO festival. Because of all the restrictions, there were only five of us, but it felt so great. I suddenly realized how much I had missed this. Without an audience, things are not the same.'

Cindy van der Loon
I didn't really mind that my events got canceled

Louis Klomp
Owner cheese parlor Jokkmokk

'On the day the hospitality industry had to close its doors, I posted a message on Facebook. Is there anyone I can help by putting products in my display case? A caterer responded. The company worked a lot for events and weddings and now had a surplus of food. And so suddenly I was selling lasagne and couscous dishes. All in all, I've come through the last few months pretty well. People have rediscovered their local shopkeepers and still visit regularly. I ordered a nice new display case from the extra income from the past period. After thirty years, it needed to be replaced.'

Jolanda Wijnen
Owned Textielkeuken 

'Schools closing down, keeping one and a half meters distance, how can one still give sewing classes? The first few days of the lockdown were pretty scary. I was afraid to lose everything I had built with so much love and energy. When prime minister Rutte talked about government support for entrepreneurs in his speech, I felt a huge relief. I could breathe again.'

'Sewing is an exercise in concentration. It forces you to slow down and not think about other things. Sometimes I chat with the children in between. About how it goes at school and what they go through. In the last couple of months, I trained a girl who was bullied so badly by her classmates but gained confidence during the sewing classes. It's often easier to talk with a sewing machine in between.'

Isaac Bahlbi Habtemichael
I think the lockdown has only made us stronger as a family

Isaac Bahlbi Habtemichael
Restaurant Gezana

'We all run the business together. My two sisters, my brother and I, and my mother sometimes helps out too. I serve customers and some nights I play music. That happens spontaneously, often Eritrean songs but also soul, jazz, and hip-hop. The fact that the restaurant had to close was strange, and the takeaway service wasn't really a success either. Now, fortunately, it's going super well. We can use the terrace in the evening from our neighbors on both sides of the Willemstraat. I think the lockdown has only made us stronger as a family. Our customers feel that positive energy too.'

Ray Derkzen
Owner Ray Elpee

'It wasn't like people suddenly started buying more records once they were stuck at home. Rather, it was the other way around: people cleaned up and then came to me with their stuff. But actually, I came across quite a few gems. The first album of the Nits, for example, from 1978. Online sales, on the other hand, were really good. I received a lot of orders from abroad. Someone from Dubai was bought an album of Pink Plastic Panties. A women's band from Eindhoven that made punk music around 1980. I think that's awesome.'

René Bakkerus
Owner RGB Disco

'We organize silent discos and also have our own bar on Stratumseind. Suddenly the handbrake went brute force on all parties and events. During the first month, I thought things would probably return to normal soon. I finally found time to handle overdue administration. But when that was finished, the situation was still pretty bad.'

'That's when we started organizing the Curving the Flat events. An entire flat, all the residents on their own balconies, danced and partied to music via headphones. Downstairs we had three DJs to choose from. Super fun. Actually, it's going pretty well. Instead of events with 3000 people, we now rent out sets to people who organize a small gathering in their garden or on the campsite. This way, you can still throw a party and keep the neighbors happy.