Today we report to you from our partner agency and Juan Dobler from Uganda. In Germany, too, very little is heard about the land of chimpanzees and gorillas. And that although the people there deal with the corona situation very differently. In the blog you can find out how the Ugandans are fighting the corona virus and what hopes Juan and his team have.
What is your everyday life like?
Our everyday life here in Uganda has returned to normal to some extent since the general lockdown ended around 50 days ago.
How is the lockdown in Uganda designed? Can you go out shopping normally? With a mask? At certain times?
We can move freely in Uganda. With the exception of the national parks with primates, all parks are open again. All shops have also reopened and public transport is permitted. The lockdown continues between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., i.e. restaurants and bars are closed after 9:00 p.m. The government mandates that masks be worn in public, especially in transportation and shops.
How are the people of Uganda dealing with the situation?
The residents take the distance rules and mask requirement very loosely. Corona is seen more as a phenomenon than a real health risk. The statistics seem to prove the Ugandans right. Since the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020, we currently have “only” 1850 infections with a total of 32 deaths. With thousands of infections in Europe, Uganda believes that the pandemic is less common in hot countries than in cold countries in the northern hemisphere. The majority of Ugandans therefore do not see themselves exposed to any great danger and are optimistic that Covid-19 will no longer have a major impact on their lives. Ugandans have other worries…
What impact does it have on the people in Uganda, are many unemployed and does this increase the risk that the virus will spread faster?
In Uganda there are no meaningful statistics on unemployment. Unemployment is seen as a fate rather than an effect of a crisis. Most people here are used to a permanent crisis. Whether you have had an apprenticeship or not makes little difference in view of the size of the population in Uganda. There are just too many applicants for any new job. And it is often awarded according to criteria other than criteria for professional qualifications. The greatest hope is in prayer! Last Saturday was declared a public holiday in order to be able to pray properly against Covid-19!
Can people be tested, are tests done on a regular basis?
To date, around 20,000 tests have been carried out in the country. Given the relative indifference on the part of the population towards the mask requirement, I assume that the tests are carried out on the initiative of the government and that voluntary tests rarely take place.
How are you, the partner agency, and all the other service providers (tour guides, hotels, drivers,…)?
The conditions are difficult. We at Uganda-Trails go to diving stations, try to avoid costs and adapt to post-corona rules of conduct in tourism with new products. My wife is doing online training in digital marketing and some of my employees have accepted a loan offer from Uganda Trails for mini-projects like chicken farming and building blocks that will hopefully allow them to survive economically.
What are your hopes, goals for 2021?
In 2021, our most important clients only want to concentrate on the sale of the best-in-demand travel offers, which means that we were only able to conclude a few contracts for 2021. I hope for a revival of the sales figures of only about 30% of the sales of 2019.
Basically there is no concrete perspective for 2021 as well as how things will continue. A new Covid-19 hotspot, worldwide travel warnings without taking into account the Covid situation in individual countries, further actions by the Covidians in autumn and winter and the Europe-wide zigzag course of the health ministries in the anti-Covid measures are enough to make my hope for an early one To undo the improvement of the situation.
The only real hope is the development of a trustworthy vaccine and improved, privately applicable testing procedures to get out of the Covid pandemic. We do not anticipate that we will be able to plan reliably and work profitably again until 2022.