Greetings from rainy Mukono! I wanted to give you an update on how we are in Uganda here. Like the rest of the world, we are watching with somewhat bated breath to see what the next developments are.
As of 22 April, Uganda has 61 confirmed cases of COVID-19. 41 have recovered, 20 are active cases, and there have been 0 deaths, thanks be too God.
PBS published this 5 minute video about how Uganda is a model for containing contagious diseases like Ebola and Marburg; I very much appreciated their reporting. For context, when the woman speaks about the increase in the price of beans, the kilo (2.2 pounds) for 4000 shillings (~$1.08) increased to 5000 shillings (~$1.35) overnight. All food prices have increased, some nearly doubling. And we’re just a month in to the pandemic.
In line with taking swift action, the president closed schools and churches as of 20 March, and the driving ban kicked in about a month ago (I think; time is super fluid these days), so that means that few people are working unless they are essential, or they can walk to work. I’ve talked to some friends in the village, and since they can’t drive, it’s hard to get food. There are reports of women delivering on the side of the road because there was no transportation, so the president relaxed that rule so that the pregnant women can be driven for medical attention.
The list of the government’s actions is now 34 items long, but please don’t ask me to list them. In short: there’s a curfew from 7pm-6:30am, no driving vehicles, bodas (motorcycles) can carry cargo, but no people. Of course, the airport and borders are closed, but thankfully, cargo is still coming in.
I’m immensely grateful for my little protective bubble on campus. For me, the restrictions are mostly an inconvenience. I can walk to the supermarket outside the gate for basics and veggies, and there are supermarkets who will deliver out here for about $10, for which I am immensely grateful.
Most of all, I miss my students. Several have called or texted to say hello and check on me, which is sweet. But the campus is too quiet. We had planned to have our students have take-home exams, but the government nixed that. We had hoped that schools would reopen 5 May, but that has been postponed indefinitely. We are all concerned for how this will play out.
Please continue to pray for us as we pray for you as well.