Quarantine in Margarita

Residents on the hot island of Margarita are forced to be inside their homes. Some sit on the threshold of the open door. The house is unbearably hot. The temperature is between 28 and 30 degrees. High humidity makes breathing even more difficult.


Residents on the hot island of Margarita are forced to be inside their homes. Some sit on the threshold of the open door. The house is unbearably hot. The temperature is between 28 and 30 degrees. High humidity makes breathing even more difficult.




COVID-19 is the main cause of this deadlock. Venezuela is the world leader in oil reserves, but there is no fuel today. That is why there is almost no traffic on the roads. Until yesterday, fuel was free and today it is not available at all.

It is already known that there are no medicines. People die from ordinary inflammation. They have very poor immunity due to starvation and the monotonous food they eat every day (rice). Food can only be bought for dollars. An ordinary person can’t reach the dollar. 



At the box office, they issue an invoice in bolivars, but it is paid in dollars. What little bolivars they have, people try to convert into dollars on the street so they can feed themselves and their families. And bolivars are hard to come by. They are gone and worth little.


A large number of families received help from their members who had emigrated to some Latin American country or Spain. The emigrants themselves have now lost their jobs. They have nowhere to send money to their family.



The situation is chaotic at the moment. A few days ago, a group of about twenty elderly women, between the ages of 50 and 60, broke in and robbed a grocery store. People are hungry and that was their only way out.

Police caught them and took them to jail.

Two focuses of corona infestation have been identified on Margarita. These are two municipalities. Eight days ago, they were completely isolated. In one of them, our centre Pampatar is based.

Before closing, I visited the centre and spent time with people there. I talked to the parents who came to pick up the food. It was already known that the infection had spread in the place and it was out of control. They were in a panic. All the more so as they are aware of the helplessness and unpreparedness of healthcare.

Our young volunteers took responsibility and work in all centres. They do so with enthusiasm. Inspired by studying the biography of Paola di Rosa at the time of cholera in 1836, they identified with her.

Older volunteers are in quarantine.


Buying food, packaging and delivery is in the skilled hands of our Croatian volunteer Verica Mimica. She and her two assistants successfully procure and deliver groceries, hygiene products and medicines.


Also, she conducts construction works on the House of Mercy, which have not stopped, although working hours have been shortened from 7 to 12 am.



I was contacted by the Bishop of Margarita. He wanted to wish us a happy Easter and see what is new in Zdenac. He was surprised when I wrote to him that our centres share around 350 meals a day. He asked: “How did you manage to organize it?”

Each family was given the exact time to arrive. Five people take turns every 15 minutes. At first, there were difficulties because people were coming without masks. Since they could not get food without a mask, they quickly acquired and got used to the exclusively home-made masks.

With the meal received, we asked some question to see how they are at home, encouragement to prayer or tell some a joke.

In addition to the distribution of food for children, food is given to the sick, the elderly and the infirm. We distribute cooking supplies to extremely poor large families every 15 days.

Thank God and you, dear volunteers and associates of Zdenac in Croatia, we can be of great help at this time of the pandemic.

God bless you and keep you from the coronavirus!

Grandma, thank you for coming. I am hungry!


On Holy Wednesday, we feasted the workers, who are working on the renovation of the House of Mercy, with a stew of various vegetables with a few pieces of meat. One should make a good effort to catch it on a plate.



They didn't have plates but plastic bowls, everyone brought their own from home.

We wanted them to feel the Easter celebration.


We will see them again on Monday after Easter.


In Venezuela, Easter Monday is a working day.

Work was done normally at the House of Mercy and in the centres of Zdenac.

For a couple of hours, I came to visit the workers from my quarantine and help pack food for the youngest children, up to 7 years old.

Mrs Erminia, who guards the House of Mercy, stopped me to tell me how on Easter she and Jose, her husband, walked for two hours to visit their youngest daughter and 5-year-old granddaughter.

"I found her crying. When she saw me, she shouted, ‘Grandma, thank God you came. I'm hungry. We have nothing to eat.’ My heart sank with pain watching her cry from hunger."

Mrs Erminia began to cry. When she calmed down, she continued talking. "I had that $20 you gave us for Easter. I took the baby by the hand and went to the store. I bought them some rice, beans, a litre of oil, pasta, chlorine, and soap. My granddaughter tells me: ‘Grandma, I haven't eaten anything sweet in a long time. Please grandma buy me a cookie.’ I couldn't turn her down.

There was also money for a small, round cookie. She was all happy. My granddaughter tells me: ‘Grandma if you hadn't come, my mother and I would have starved to death. My stomach ached because I hadn't eaten anything since yesterday.’"

Listening to and watching Mrs Erminia, I had images and memories of hundreds of similar events that we encounter every day in the centres and places where Zdenac operates.

I feel great happiness and gratitude to God for the gift of a missionary vocation, which allows me to do good deeds. I couldn't do anything on my own. That $20 I gave to this woman came from you, generous benefactors.

They are the “widow’s coin” you give with love and faith. That is why the "coin" can bring joy to a five-year-old girl, feed her, give her a cookie, and return her the missing joy.

Your gift, small or big, saves lives and restores hope to hundreds of families in this dark quarantine caused by COVID-19.

May dear God repay you a hundred-fold with all the fruits of the Holy Spirit!

Sr Ljilja Lončar


The Missionary of Mercy