THE PLIGHT OF THE ISLAND PEOPLE EXPOSED THE MOST DURING COVID-19
The pandemic just like in many other nations forced a national lock down even in Uganda. This did not spare the already sorry state of the island people.
Hit by the fear of the pandemic, the islanders tuned their radios to carefully understand the health guidelines which could help keep one from contracting the Virus. This information however through them in deeper fear because they were almost impossible to practice and this worsened when two people tested positive for covid-19 in Bwema and Buvuuma Islands.
Most Islands are densely populated small lands occupied by mostly youthful stubborn uneducated fishermen concentrated in camps.
Social distancing is impossible even when people stayed at home, hand washing was practiced for a very short time as one needed to wash multiple times with soap in this environment to be safe yet this not a small expense to most islanders, then the masks whoa..... not visible on most islands. Don't talk about 'drink a lot' of fluids and especially clean drinking water the supposedly cheapest. Its not there and because transport was cut off, then even the water supplied from mainland was not there.
Then the health centers concerned barely make an outreach to these islands and worse than that rarely have more than 3 staffs on site to handle those very sick ones that manage to make it to the health center.
Then came the Lake with 3 more challenges.
First was the Increased water levels and flooding broke down and flooded many already weakened peoples houses forcing them to live in flooded house or to find options outside houses they had lived in for many years. Yet their cry to the government always met a standing command 'Leave those areas immediately' But how? But to go where ?
Second, the lake had no fish for the fishing community during this time cutting off their primary source of food and income.
Thirdly, it introduced an unseen and never published enemy an insect with Black, red and yellow stripes that attacked almost all islands. This insect according to the island people could bite and its poisons caused the area to expand making the skin rugged a with blood lines in between. While their i observed so many of these insects everywhere and honestly i desired to leave immediately. But what about them???
So No transport, No health support, No food, No income, No home, No water, No masks, No soap.
My next blog will show the impact of the intervention from the big hearts of Donors and Island of Hope volunteer team during this time.