As a mother of a child, living during this pandemic is unlike anything else. We stay in a very congested place within Pece division, Gulu municipality. Taking care of my 3-year old son is a challenge. There are so many people living within the same compound. Children are not allowed to mix and play together. The situation has become very ugly to me. I am, like, “Oh God when will this whole drama be done?”
When the government declared the lock down I became even more confused. One day I thought of driving off to my village with my son to go stay there for a while. But then I looked at the situation again from a different aspect. For example, I thought: what if my boy needs medical attention? At the same time, I am diabetic and I may also need some medical attentions. What was going to happen? All the private and public transport had been stopped. So I just decided to remain calm at my house, come what may. Life has to continue amidst the pandemic.
“Oh God, when will this whole drama be done?”
Life has become very expensive in Gulu. The price of beans has gone up to 7,000 Ugandan shillings ($1.90) a kilo, from 3,800 ($1.02). A packet of salt has doubled from 1,000 ($0.27). Sugar has gone from 3,500 ($1.00) to 4,500 ($1.2). Our landlady is putting pressure on us to pay rent. But everybody is just staying home, doing no business. Even my side business – a cosmetic shop which used to support my family on a daily basis – has been closed.
Social gathering at the public places like church, traditional ceremonies, weddings, meetings have all been stopped. I lost my uncle but I could not even attend his burial because public transport and private cars were not allowed to operate. Bicycles are allowed, but I cannot ride very far.
One day our landlady told me that she doesn’t want to see any child playing in the compound. This also stressed me out because I have a stubborn boy who also wants to jump around the compound. I had to close the door and remain inside, watching cartoons on television. Life has become so boring. It’s even worse when there is no electricity, because at least when there is power you can watch television and see our president addressing the nation and giving out new updates and directives.
Everyone within our compound has started putting water and soap in front of their houses. When The Advocacy Project came out with the idea of mask production, we mobilized some women with disabilities to start the work. This helped to restore my hope, and helped me to see something positive in the situation. I realize that persons with disability can still do something despite the pandemic.
“The (Mama Cave) mask production has restored my hope and helped me to see something positive in the situation.”
The pandemic has also improved my hygiene. I must not forget to put hand-washing facilities in front of my house, I always travel with my hand sanitizer in the bag, and never forget to put on a mask whenever I am going to a public place like market.
Now that GDPU and AP have started liquid soap training, I have learnt how to mix the chemical. Soon, I will be able to train more young people with disabilities so that they can learn the skills and the knowledge needed to produce liquid soap. This will help them to earn a living during the pandemic and live dignified lives in the community.
Posted By Emma Okello
Posted Jul 17th, 2020