My heart was racing because of the urgency to get a store of medications which are always hard to afford and rare to find.
It all started like something unreal when I first heard about Covid-19. It was so far away in China and it had killed a lot of people. As we monitored the news, Covid had spread to other parts of the globe and countries had started to lockdown their social lives. My first thoughts and worry were about for my daughter. Not that she was in any of the countries where cases had been reported: she was here in Uganda with me; but she has epilepsy. My heart was racing because of the urgency to get a store of medications which are always hard to afford and rare to find. My daughter was equally worried and this raised her anxiety. Those who are caregivers like me will appreciate what I was going through and for those who have never experienced a near to no supply of life long medication, it would be hard for me to explain.
Every single medication was tripled in price and this was very frustrating.
I walked from pharmacy to pharmacy and could not find any supplies, promising to be stocked the following week. I wondered where they would get more drugs into their stores since we were already under lockdown. The game was simple: they need just a few days to triple the cost of the medications. Every single medication was tripled in price and this was very frustrating. But life has to go on. There are many things I was taking for granted before this endemic – like access to drug stores and a regular visit to a health specialist. Support groups can no longer come together. The hours of the day have ‘shortened” because of the lockdown and curfew. My active hours each day are ten, including travel to and from my home. Covid-19 has positively improved my prioritising skills and I am now appreciative of all the little things.
When schools close in March, that added insult to injury. However, life became even more challenging when it dawned on me that I could not visit my friends; I was conditioned to wearing a mask all the time outside the home; and there was this paranoia of washing hands wherever one went even when you had a hand sanitizer evidently hooked on the strap of your handbag.
Covid-19 turned around lives in the family. With lockdown and most facilities closed, I needed to go out of my way to look for items I would normally find within the locality where we live. Public transport was not available and the favour we had enjoyed for a few days to drive private cars was withdrawn because this means of transport was said to be spreading the virus.
The few of us who had bikes were the envy of many.
Some distances were not easy to walk since one had to be indoors by curfew time. This is the time when my sports bike, that I had not used in years, came in handy. I took it to a makeshift repair shop and had it fixed but for a fee that was more than it had cost brand new. The few of us who had bikes were the envy of many. Those who had a stall selling secondhand bikes made a killing as bikes were going for US$300 or more. Never the less most of us have put on weight. We hardly miss a meal of the day but the exercise does not match what we eat to shed off weight. Besides it was not safe to ride into the city since the few vehicles that were granted permission to be on the roads had reckless drivers.
I had to walk to town a few times to get garden tools and packets of seeds for my urban farming activities. This is about a six kilometer return journey. Apart from input on a few projects for the organization I work for, I planted tomatoes, spinach, lettuce and kale in addition to improving my indoor plants. My chickens were laying eggs so I decided to take some eggs and put them in an incubator I had not used in a while. In May I got forty-five brand new chicks and as we talk now, I should expect some more eggs come August or September.
The Covid lockdown opened my eyes to making plants a business.
The Covid lockdown opened my eyes to making plants a business. My friends are asking for a little potted plant to put on the window sill or at their reading table or desk; some came to appreciate the fresher environment during lockdown so now my indoor plants are on demand and there is scramble for the organic eggs from my chickens.
For the three months that we had few vehicles on the roads the air was fresh and it was noticeable. My car that was parked outside for that period never gathered dust al all and pollution levels were down.
So far, there are no reported cases related to Covid in Uganda.
So far, there are no reported cases related to Covid in Uganda. This is a puzzle that I am not yet about to solve. What confuses me is that here in Africa in general we cannot social distance because of poverty: We share the same clothes, utensils and facilities whatsoever. We dearly love shaking hands; hugging and close physical contact is in our nature; and we can hardly stay at home.
At first some sources whispered that we didn’t have efficient facilities to test for Covid and others said that we were under-reporting our cases. As I write my story, while some facilities still remain closed, some areas of the city are crowded and it’s business as usual. Some people have abandoned wearing masks and there is hardly any concern about washing hands. Everyone for themselves and God for us all.