My name is Edna N., and I live in Seeta and work in Kampala, Uganda. It’s an hour’s drive from where I stay. When the pandemic first hit, we were scared because of the horrific pictures and newsfeeds we would get of how the virus is affecting other areas. We got a little reassurance because there weren’t any cases yet in our part of the world (East Africa). Our government was slow to react because of the same. Borders were still open and work went on as usual.
The newsfeeds grew more alarming and confusion intensified. Confusion springing from different opinions. Pastors (religious leaders) prophesied no deaths from Uganda due to the pandemic. Scientists declared our atmosphere very humid and the virus thrived in cold areas which in turn meant “we were safe!” Others claimed and preached that people of color were immune to the disease… “We were safe,” and so we thought until our neighboring countries started registering cases. The country went on a total lockdown even without any case. We stayed in our homes comfortably for two weeks and two became four and then months … Hunger and desperation crept in, we had run out of food supply and the transportation shut down didn’t make it any better.
Rents accumulated with no more reserves to pay up. Desperation became unrest as government food supply reached only a few people. My family and I were not any different.
While in the lockdown cases started popping up and hence more confusion as to how that could have happened during a lockdown. With the hunger and poverty rate on the rise, we had to choose. There was speculation that death will come either from the virus or hunger. The government lifted the lockdown and we chose to go out and earn a living. Our attitude was “the survivors would tell the tale and the unfortunate ones would pass on until immunity or a cure is achieved and found respectively.”
Many companies closed, others sized down and many people lost their jobs. We as a people are out for survival so everybody is doing all they can and what they can to sustain a livelihood for both self and family. Businesses are now back to normal though not yet revived. There’s a drastic drop in cases.