How things have changed over the past couple of weeks! Uganda is in a very precarious place right now. President Museveni has implemented tight restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Uganda’s healthcare system is not equipped for this pandemic. There are only 55 ICU beds in the entire country. That means 55 ventilators for a population of over 44 million!
Most people do not have access to clean water in their homes. There’s not enough hand sanitizer to go around. Denis has said that people are scared. They know that fighting off the contagious and aggressive virus will be difficult if a large outbreak occurs. To add misery to the fear, torrential rains have ruined many crops. And just today, people began looting in Kampala, the capital. Many people live day-to-day, and some families are already worried about food shortages as businesses and retail stores shut down to prevent the spread of the virus. Public transportation has also been shut down; most people do not own vehicles but rely on bodas (motorcycle taxis) to get around. Because so much business has been shut down, people are already struggling to earn an income. If the tight restrictions continue, people will run out of food and money very quickly. Denis has requested your prayers for the people of his country. He also foresees food shortages for many families whose crops have been ruined.
Some positive stories from the past several weeks: Women in the village get together every Thursday to consolidate their money and make loans to each other . The women’s cooperative is named “Aimoro Ichani,” which means “Sharing poverty.” They are currently saving money to purchase piglets for everyone in the group.
The women of Tororo celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8th. Female students marched in their school uniforms and the women of the district wore their best dresses for the celebration.
In the book “The Moment of Lift,” Melinda Gates discusses the transformations that can happen in society when we empower women. Our hope is that the community center and library will hold programs to empower women and serve as a gathering place to lift up women and children, which in turn will improve the future of everyone in the community. – DC