The Gift of Food In The Lock-down
As we have come to learn through personal experiences, the COVID-19 Global Pandemic has ravaged the entire world. Uganda has been no exception. As cases began to increase in the East African region in the month of March, a partial lockdown was declared on March 25th, followed by a total lockdown with a twelve-hour curfew on April 1st, 2020.
The lockdown has impacted the country greatly. Some of the lockdown effects will remain with us for a long time. To the Stars (children with disabilities that are supported by Stars Ministry Uganda – SMU)’s caregivers, the impact of the lockdown was almost immediate. Most of the caregivers do daily jobs from which they earn a living to support their families; the very reason they leave their children at the Stars Day Care and Learning Center, during those critical working hours. To them, the lockdown meant no work, and more critically, no or very limited food.
At the start of the lockdown, SMU leadership knew that the most critical ministry need was going to be food for the Stars households. In the early weeks of the lockdown, with support from some of our Ministry Partners, SMU distributed food to twenty Stars’ families with critical food needs. In May, slightly over a month after the declaration of the total lockdown, SMU received a consignment of food from the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU). This was the biggest blessing to the Star families in the month of May, as this came in the middle of the lockdown when Stars caregivers’ source of livelihood had been cut off.
All the forty-five families with a Star that is supported by SMU received food packages to last them at least one month. The food consignment also benefitted the sixteen Stars volunteers who were equally struggling to find food during the lockdown. “I feel like this is a dream that is too good to be true, I have all this food for my family?” said one of the star moms upon receiving her food package. In appreciation, one of the volunteers said, “teacher Sylvia [SMU’s ED], thanks so much for your efforts, love and care you have … all the Stars ministry staff we really appreciate.”
As Government begins to ease the lockdown – private cars can move between 6:30AM and 7:00PM with a maximum of three people, even though churches, schools, and other large gatherings remain disallowed – concerns are now shifting from the fear of the disease to the fear of its impact, especially on livelihoods. This is the main concern among the caregivers of the Stars at the moment.God has been gracious to Uganda. The confirmed COVID-19 cases stand at 413 as of March 30th, 2020. A good number of cases are of foreign nationals from the neighboring countries of Kenya, Tanzania, Southern Sudan and Rwanda who bring in goods. 72 people have recovered. No person has died of COVID-19. Praise God!