Covid-19 Update 14 – Lockdown Life

“If I stayed home I would be dead by hunger, so it is best I go out to work.”

As a country, we’ve now been in a ‘lockdown’ for over 5 weeks and for many the only human contact might be short visits from relatives or carers and for those shielding, it could be a friendly face seen at a distance. It is not surprising that many have come to “celebrate” human contact on Thursday evenings as we come out of our homes to “clap the carers” in our streets.

Life seems so very different and church life has changed dramatically – celebrating Easter – the greatest day in history – over Zoom or via YouTube live – was an unusual experience for many. However this new way of being, so much slower and simpler is, dare we say it, in some ways better. Children playing together and not attending endless after-school activities and we have all enjoyed the warm spring weather sitting in our gardens or on our one hour of daily exercise.

However, we should recognise that as a country with national health and social care system built into our nation’s DNA we are very blessed that many are able to be financially supported to stay at home.

Not the case for so many in the developing world.

Recently, in our weekly Zoom staff meeting, Amos Oumounabidji our Programmes and Partnerships Co-ordinator shared news from our partners in DR Congo, Kenya, Chad, Uganda and Cameroon. He reported that so many of the conversations he has had have revolved around the difficult decisions people are making facing lockdown.  With no state support in place and food insecurity a factor of daily life, people are struggling to respect the rules of social distancing when they need to feed their family.

“If I stayed home I would be dead by hunger, so it is best I go out to work.”

And this is not a new phenomenon for those living in many of these African countries. Cameroon has been experiencing a civil war for nearly 2 years and our partners Samuel and Mirabelle had to leave their home and move their operation to stay safe.  Amos, himself, experienced a lockdown situation in Chad in 1984, due to war.  For him the daily decision was stark – go out to work and get supplies and potentially face being shot at.

This week we will be sharing the latest news from partners Glad’s House in Kenya and Artizan International in Ecuador.  They work for different but vulnerable people groups – street children in Mombasa, Kenya and people with disabilities in Santo Domingo Ecuador. Glad’s House report that for street children, their daily life is trying to get food and their normal sources, such as food thrown out by hotels and restaurants, have stopped. Artizan International are working hard so that their beneficiaries now locked-in can continue to work, make money and feed themselves.

As a small charity with many years’ experience of working closely with our partners, we see our role as responding quickly to our partners during this pandemic. Already monies are being diverted away from programmes, which can no longer operate to provide food and essentials to vulnerable people in local communities and we have sent additional funds for PPE for partners with front-line healthcare staff.

Our response was quick as we had an Emergency Fund established and we want to remain committed to acting fast when our partners ask for help.

Please help us in our commitment by making a donation to our Emergency Fund. We also want the people in the communities we serve to stay home and be safe.

 

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