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Thierno Barry – Global Perspectives during COVID-19

At the WCIA, we understand that the outbreak of COVID-19 has been difficult for so many people across the world. At the beginning of the pandemic, we reached out to people worldwide to share global perspectives on COVID-19, recognising the global nature of the issue, and some of the similarities and differences of experiences in different countries. We wanted to identify and share both the positive and negative stories emerging from the situation. Over a year on from the start of the pandemic, we’re reaching out again…


Originally from Madrid, Santi works in our WCIA Communications team. He has a background in Communications, Latin American Politics, and Spanish teaching. He reached out to Thierno Barry, originally from Guinea-Conakry, a Paris-based IT consultant he befriended back in 2013 during the good old Erasmus days that they both spent in Tampere, Finland.

Here’s his story

I would describe myself as a very easy-going person. I really like to spend time with friends and people I don’t know to exchange and share knowledge and life experiences. I love sports including football, kickboxing and running. I am also passionate about travelling, so I have been to South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Nicaragua… Aside for those, I take part of a humanitarian organization that collaborates with the development of Guinea-Conakry and work as a model.

“To stay myself, I had to set some personal goals such as keep up contact with dear people”

The pandemic hasn’t changed me that much, although I lost my job almost from the beginning. To stay myself, I had to set some personal goals such as keep up contact with dear people. When allowed, I visited those in need for some help. I also tried to keep a healthy mind and body, so I exercised an awful lot. Because I initially lost my job, I deepened my modelling skills and signed up for an agency. That helped me keep going. At a personal level, I have tidied up my life structure, and I make use of small details such as a calendar where I set my goals on a daily basis. Now I can see what I have achieved or not, and how to keep balancing things out to not lose sight of what I really want to do with my life. Also, I am so grateful for technology because it has allowed us to stay in contact with family and friends.

“During the period of Ramadan, I immersed in a supporting network whereby we raised money to send some supplies to Guinea-Conakry”

For instance, during the period of Ramadan, I immersed in a supporting network whereby we raised money to send some supplies to Guinea-Conakry. For a while I liaised with some people in different African countries, and I got to understand they do not perceive Covid-19 as we do in Europe. I feel restrictions were not as tight as the ones implemented in France. Generally, the pandemic has allowed me to look at uncertainty with flexibility. That’s the very reason why, although it’s a very tough situation, it didn’t hit me as hard as it did to others. Surely the biggest struggle was the lack of work, but the rest has been mostly fine. As a religious person, I think it’s very important to acknowledge each other’s struggle and help one another. Now that the situation is getting better, I plan to go back to my job as a business analyst or IT consultant. And I am also dying to go back to travel!