virus WITW Kujawa

Former Illini Jens Kujawa was back in the U.S. just last year, attending his youngest son’s wedding in Scottsdale, Ariz. Pictured, from left are son Justin, daughter Jette, son Jared, daughter-in-law Taylor, Jens and wife Bianca.

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Dateline: Germany, where mid-’80s Illini basketball big man and 1992 Summer Olympian JENS KUJAWA has spent most of his 55 years. The home of BMW and Boris Becker has been among the countries with the highest number of COVID-19 cases, but its death toll (0.5 percent) is the world’s lowest — by a bunch.

In the second installment of a new series, Editor Jeff D’Alessio asked Kujawa about life in lockdown 4,368 miles away.

“I am living in Winsen (Luhe), about 30 minutes to the south of Hamburg. My wife, Bianca, and my 10-year-old daughter have had to spend a lot of time together the last days.

“We adjusted without problems since my wife and I had home offices before the crisis.

“My daughter is the one that dislikes the situation the most. No girlfriends to play with is awful for her. The parents have the main responsibility now to keep her busy and happy.

“Not an easy task.

“For me, the worst part of the crisis is the inability to play board games with friends, eat out and get Thai massages. On the other hand, I don‘t mind not traveling within Germany and sleeping in beds that are way too small for me.

“Shopping has been very interesting lately with toilet paper, flour, bread and cans missing from the shelves. I read that in France, it is wine and condoms that everybody is buying.

“Luckily, we have our own fitness studio and lots of toys to keep us busy. Ninety-five percent of the Germans agree with the new no-contact rules and follow them. Therefore, the infection rate should go down soon.

“We are not worried, and the German health system is excellent. I expect a loosening of the new rules after the Easter vacation.”

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