The day started with rain and is ending with golden, late afternoon sunshine. The long-awaited rainfall has kicked off the season for cultivating beans, maize, and cassava in the central and eastern parts of Uganda. Large scale sugarcane planting is also going on without interference from the lockdown due to COVID-19. Tractors, like all cargo transportation vehicles, are allowed to move as long as they are not carrying more than two people.
There’s public outrage about the manner in which government officials are handling the situation and taking advantage of this pandemic to make money. Parliamentarians are going to be given 20 million shillings each, an amount that totals to 10 billion shillings for our congested parliament! The money, according to press reports, is to enable the legislators to fight against coronavirus in their constituencies. There’s nothing specific that the allocated money is going to be spent on, so each legislator is to decide on what to do with it.
This has broken the hearts of Ugandans who are in dire need of food, while at the same time lacking basic infrastructure. The ministry of health is terribly underfunded. It’s not clear how many ventilators we have in the country, and the poorly paid medical workers are facing a shortage of PPE. There’s no overtime allowance for them. There are fewer ambulances than needed. It’s an endless list of needs for the country. One Facebook user said that Uganda can better be without a parliament! The rate of spending by the government is way more than the problem at hand. We still have 55 known cases and about half of those have recovered. There’s no known death. But should the situation worsen, Uganda is not prepared enough to overcome the crisis.
I went to Musima this morning and I was impressed with the amount of activity that is going on. Musima is where Project Yesu operates from and is home for the greatest number of our project children. People were busy in their gardens and I am grateful that rural life is not affected by what is going on, much as a number of families may not be having enough food. The affected families are mostly those whose breadwinners have been operating small scale businesses that are now hindered by presidential directives. People have been walking to work (those who mostly run food businesses), but an increase in rainfall may create unfavorable conditions for both business owners and consumers due to lack of transport.
Bodabodas (motorcycle taxis) were allowed to continue working, only dealing with cargo transportation, and between 6:00 a.m and 2:00 p.m. However, that’s not a sustainable source of income for the operators since most of the income is from passengers. Several people have been arrested and accused of “attempted murder” in courts of law for breaking the presidential directives. Any action that disregards the precautions against the spread of coronavirus amounts to a case of attempted murder, according to the government. However, it is not clear what the penalty is for such a case.
I was this morning encouraging a group of youths on WhatsApp to stay positive, for the sake of our mental health. People are swayed by what’s going on in the news, but them being angry won’t solve anything…and I believe this is important for everyone in this world at this moment. Feeding our minds with all that is in the news will rob us of our precious joy and peace that God continually brings in our lives. A daily routine of being without my phone for hours is helping me stay in the path of positive thinking and giving gratitude to God who gives me life every moment. Our team encourages you to focus on what matters and be grateful for every little thing you have achieved. Have a moment of reflection on your life, and give everything to God. Stay safe and healthy.