On Friday morning, the president announced that he would address the nation that evening. Announcing a speech with no notice is never good news. We knew our COVID numbers have been going up. I’d gotten to the point at which I didn’t want to open my UCU email for fear of seeing another death notice; a sitting bishop died last week, as did a diocesan secretary, and an education secretary. I know many people who have tested positive with COVID.
In his speech, he announced a new 42 day lockdown: this one featuring absolutely no transport, private or public. Cargo can still move. The airport is still open; the only ways to travel are in an ambulance or in a tourist vehicle.
This is utterly devastating. We are back to where we were last March. The people who work in the food markets are supposed to sleep there. The only way to get to work is to walk, and many cannot do that. I am just heartbroken, as the economic impact of the last lockdown was immense, and it will be the same this time.
When my students left at the beginning of the first lockdown, several said that they knew they wouldn’t be back this semester. People are already talking about how long the lockdown extension will be: note that they’re not discussing whether the lockdown will be extended, but for how long.
I’m inherently fine. Right now, deliveries can still happen between Kampala and Mukono, so I placed a large grocery order on Sunday, since directives and rules can, and do, change often and with little notice. I have options, for which I am grateful. But I am heartbroken: so many people do not have options. Clergy and teachers in particular are suffering with no income. When the lockdown is lifted, it will take time for that income to recover.
Please pray for the leaders in Uganda as they seek to stem the COVID spread. We are getting more vaccines, and I am thankful that I have been fully vaccinated. Side note: we do not yet have our vaccination cards: please pray that they come soon! Please also pray for the leaders in UCU as they lead the university through another lockdown. I am grateful that we can still teach online, though it still can be a challenge for students and staff. Please pray that the vaccine distribution is made easier and that more people will take it; there are an absurd number of conspiracy theories flying around, and many do not want to receive the vaccine because of them.