Life has changed here in Uganda over the past four weeks. Little by little, and seemingly daily, every aspect of life has changed. Churches, schools, and public transportation have been closed; all stores that aren’t selling food or medicine have been shut; produce markets have been limited; national curfew has been put in place; private vehicles have been banned; even public exercising is not allowed. The government has been making constant adjustments to limit (or hopefully eliminate) the affects that Covid-19 has here, so it has impacted every area of life.
But in the midst of the nation-wide lockdown, there have been rays of good news. Motorcycle taxi drivers who used to make some small amounts of money each day by driving passengers to and from different places were banned – but many of them have now come together to provide needed delivery services for people who are limited in movement. The drivers now work in a modern way of using WhatsApp to reach customers, pick up orders, and deliver to homes.
And supermarkets have also adjusted. Bam Supermarket, our main “grocery store,” has had to jump into technology by offering WhatsApp ordering. It may not be Amazon Prime or online ordering, but the customer service is amazing! When you text, they will go around the store taking pictures of the products to ensure that you get EXACTLY what you want. And then they bag it all up, offer payment through Mobile Money, and then will have it delivered to your house. Not curbside because we can’t drive. But HOME DELIVERY!
These things may seem normal to people in the West where home deliveries have become the norm and Amazon delivers toilet paper to your house within an hour (when it’s available). These may not seem like a big deal to people in major global cities, such as Tokyo, London, Nairobi, or NYC because they have existed for years. But these weren’t around three weeks ago. They have been born out of necessity. They have come from nowhere and I hope they never go away.