Communications Project CEED Alumni from 2016 share his experience with COVID-19
The Corona Pandemic has come with countless challenges varying with each individual. For me and many out there, the isolation and lockdown has been the primary challenge. It is the closest thing the world has to a cure right now but it is one of those cures that come with its own ailments. Being used to operating in a free society with the freedom to do almost anything at my discretion, I find that me and so many other people are struggling to adjust to all the restrictions imparted at once with no time for seamless adjustment. I know that not many people are quite used to being told when they should be home or when and with whom they can drive their cars, but this has even turned out to be the list of peoples’ worries as the stock of food and general essentials reduces the longer the lockdown goes.
We were just so used to the normal way of existence and just couldn’t imagine anything otherwise. At the start not everyone was appreciating the intensity of the situation and went on with life “as usual” until law enforcement had to intervene, unfortunately with all the wrong techniques. Nonetheless, it’s just incredible how responsive Ugandans have responded to the presidential directives. It remains to be seen how long this kind of responsiveness goes on if unfortunately, the lockdown goes longer than most Ugandans can afford to.
With all the isolation, restrictions and deaths, so many things are changing instantly and change is something not many of us easily adjust to. Many discussions in my neighbourhood in Lira here are mostly about what happens after we make it through this pandemic, especially with business owners who are forcibly spending their business capital on personal expenditure, the ability of the government to provide relief to the whole nation if this goes on longer given they are evidently having trouble with Kampala and Wakiso districts’ urban poor. Even worse, are the greedy officials using this crisis opportunistically to grow their finances? There are so many questions everyday about what happens next but my hope is that Africa being the least hit continent will use this as an opportunity to set its mark in the world of business.
Many people in my community are struggling with food and financial security. Saving for a rainy day like this is something that many of us had not invested in and now can’t survive more than a month without any sort of cash inflows. Now we all struggle, hoping for this lockdown to end as soon as possible. Thankfully, the Health Ministry and the Covid task force are doing a great job of containing the virus domestically for if this lockdown goes too long, not many people will be able to diligently abide by the lockdown rules (not saying I intend to disobey the presidential guidelines).
On a positive note though, the lockdown has certainly given me (and hopefully many others) the ample amount of time to adequately plan out the direction of my life’s course, well at least the controllable factors. I have used this time to sign up for online courses to improve my skill sets and marketability. I have done so many online businesses and design webinars (these are basically web seminars) and invested a lot of my time in my education with YouTube University. I have also attended a few meet-ups both locally and internationally and they have helped me at least have a glimpse of what the world could possibly look like after the pandemic. I hope many people out there are going to be more flexible to the radical changes going on right now and will not get caught up trying to get back to normal instead of growing forward with what many are referring to as the “New Normal”.
Side Note: The Innovation Village Gulu, organizes some great meet-ups every Friday Hangouts and/or Zoom, and they are incredibly insightful. I love that I can hear people with forward-thinking minds. Great job by Odur Jacob and his team! Big Thanks!