The number of daily confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hualien has risen, so the University carried out online teaching from March 31 to April 24. The National High School Athletic Games were scheduled in Hualien from April 16 to 21, but organizers canceled the event. Until now, Taiwan has had more than 10,000 confirmed cases, which has caused people to panic. The University set up a Prayer Wall, inviting faculty members, staff, and students to pray for people in Taiwan and the rest of the world.
One prayer card reads: “Let’s pray for our world to become free of disasters and that the epidemic will end soon.” Ingrid Liu, President of Tzu Chi University, said that this epidemic had taught us many things: every one of us should calm down; cherish what we have; and do our best at every moment. The recent war has severely affected the lives of Ukrainians. President Liu urges everyone to care about the epidemic, pray for Ukrainians whose lives are threatened by the war, and those who have fled Ukraine and become refugees.
Passing by the Prayer Wall, Bo-Han Chen, a communication studies student, stopped to write a prayer card. Bo-Han came back to the Main Campus on last Saturday. He mentioned that confirmed cases have increased significantly, but fear will not help anything. We should do something to protect our well-being, so he has decided to get vaccinated and avoid crowded places. In his opinion, the epidemic situation in Taiwan is getting worse, but compared to other countries, we are still safe, so we should feel grateful.
Many people have put their cards on the Prayer Wall, some of which read: “Dear healthcare professionals, thank you so much!” “Pray for peace in Taiwan and peace in Ukraine!” The recent Omicron breakout in Hualien started on March 31, when a faculty member who is also a pediatrician was infected, while treating a child in the hospital’s emergency room. Later on, several University members were also infected. Those who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 must stay home and quarantine for some time. During the quarantine period, the Office of Humanistic Culture provided three meals a day to their housing units to assist them in feeling at ease.
After quarantine, a Ph.D. student from India came to the Office of Academic Affairs to thank the University for its loving care during the period and donated NT$2,000 to Tzu Chi Foundation. He said that the University provided meals, fruits, and Jing Si Abode’s blessings. He wishes to be a Tzu Chi volunteer one day to attend to the needs of others, and now he will start by donating to Tzu Chi to express his gratitude.
An international student who is a COVID-19 patient expressed his gratitude to faculty members for always keeping in touch and caring about him. He feels fortunate that he chose Tzu Chi University for his studies. In his opinion, the University offers loving care to students, under any circumstances, and he wishes universities in his own country could do the same. The University is grateful to the nearby restaurants. Their owners were more than willing to help deliver meals, when the University asked them for help. One owner said, “No problem! I wish that we could work with each other to go through this difficult time together, and I would like to give my best wishes to those patients to be discharged from the hospital soon.”
Dharma Master Cheng Yen has reminded us that our mental states could make a big difference as the epidemic continues. Master called on people to build a common goal and work together, attending to the needs of others altruistically. As a result, it will generate a pendulum effect and affect this world positively.