That’s the best word for it. The president had addressed the nation several days before about rising cases of COVID19, but said they were not locking down. Then, Sunday night after 8pm, he announced that a 42 day partial shut down would begin on MONDAY.
To say there was shock, dismay, anger, and chaos would be an understatement!
After a REALLY good week last week in our programs, with graduation for our first term students from Skills for Life just a couple of weeks away, new water filters for Wells of Hope School, students reporting in stages back to the two primary schools, and two of the hairdressing girls hired by salons, we were very… UPSET.
Here’s what we know so far:
- Schools are CLOSED. They just started reopening in March, and several grades hadn’t even come back yet, so we are now at about 15 months without school for many students. Since our schools service extremely poor children, this also means they lose the food and supervision they get at school. In the case of Wells of Hope, they lose the only clean water they have access to.
- Churches, mosques, and other houses of worship are CLOSED.
- Important gatherings, such as burials and weddings, are limited to 20 people.
- Inter-district travel is restricted starting the 10th. (He did allow a few days for people to get home, at least.)
- The informal economy has effectively been killed again — the only markets allowed are government sanctioned ones.
WHAT WE ARE DOING:
The primary schools are closed, which left about 10 children who are true orphans once again homeless. The foster families who took them in last year graciously agreed to receive them again, so they have been relocated to those families. We will be providing them food as we did in 2020, and they all were given Wonderbags so that will help with charcoal costs.
The girls from Term 1 of Skills for Life are finishing up their final projects. We can distance them, and make sure to stay under the “3 people” limit so that they can complete the term. Our graduation ceremony will be held once the restrictions are lifted.
Term 2 of Skills for Life is on the drawing board. I should have some updates for that by the end of the week, as the staff meets to discuss our options.
Two of the girls at the Ross House have been there for four months, and are ready to move on once the S4L term ends. We have located a place for the Suubi House, and should have access to that by the end of the week. We have to furnish it, but we will have the girls and social worker eat at the Ross House to keep extra expenses down for now. (It’s very close by.)
We are brainstorming ideas to keep the kids in the various programs ENGAGED and BUSY during the coming 6 weeks. During the lockdown of 2020, teen pregnancies skyrocketed, child bride practices escalated, and drug and alcohol use increased. While we can’t have our Saturday Turning Point, we can continue counseling sessions and small gatherings, and we are working on ways that the teens can get involved in the community to keep them busy and out of trouble.
MORE TO COME LATER THIS WEEK!
100% of donations go to the programs and
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Prices have already gone up significantly on food and charcoal, because of the inter-district travel restrictions. We are cutting expenses where we can to prepare for emergency situations. Please consider setting up a monthly donation of ANY size ($3/mo is the minimum and even that is so helpful!), or a one time donation.