On Tuesday, Anthony Enabu, a Village Enterprise Field Associate based in Dokolo, Uganda, posted a photo of himself on WhatsApp wearing a face mask and a white helmet with a plastic shield that covered his entire face. He captioned the photo: “That’s how I showed up in the main market in a bid to stock fuudu (food)…”
Anthony is currently staying at his family home in Soroti, Uganda with his children. When he put on the face mask and helmet with the protective shield, his son said “Daddy you killed it today.” “I have to protect myself in order to protect you,” Anthony told him.
When asked why he felt compelled to wear the mask to the market, Anthony explained “It’s one of my precautions due to the spread of Covid. This virus is like wildfire. Especially in an open market where people come to buy food. You have to protect yourself and others. You can’t ascertain whether you have it or even if another person has it.”
One of the biggest challenges Anthony faces during this time are numerous requests from family members. Anthony, along with all Village Enterprise staff, will remain employed during the duration of this global pandemic and people in his circle are looking to him for support. “It’s getting harder every day. The little savings that you have, people are looking up to you. You have to buy food and stock for everyone. You literally are left barehanded. We try to work with the little resources that we have.” At this time, Uganda is on day three of a country-wide lockdown. People are not allowed to use vehicles or motorbikes, most stores are closed, and in some places, markets have shut completely.
During this uncertain time, Village Enterprise is developing a system that will enable our field team to continue checking in with our current business owners. “The backbone of the economy is agriculture,” Anthony explained. “So we’re telling our business owners to take care of their garden and not to crowd in big groups. Then, after planting, they will have three months to wait for the crops to grow. They will have that time to prepare for the future.”Although we have suspended our operations to follow governmental social distancing orders, our business mentors and field associates all across Uganda and Kenya are keeping up with their communities, providing support, and answering any questions.
“The biggest thing we can do right now,” Anthony added, “is stick together, be keen, and fight this as a team. It’s not one man’s battle, but together we can overcome it.”