Lockdown Silver Linings

By on July 20, 2020

Several months ago, before the world disintegrated into the Coronavirus armageddon, the human race enjoyed extreme comfort and relaxation. We were (and quite possibly still are) the only race that ravaged through the resources on this earth, unbothered about the adverse effects of our lives on this earth. We toss the earth’s resources around like a play-thing and despise them like a rich man’s son does leftover food. In all honesty, the earth could go places and accomplish a lot without us. But we ain’t going anywhere anytime soon, are we? I mean if we’re surviving this Coronavirus armageddon that is meant to wipe us out, then I suppose very little can shake us.

I digress.

When the Coronavirus Pandemic started eating through the human race like a plague of locusts through a plantation, it became apparent that we needed to pay attention to certain things. And many people’s minds were enlightened about the importance of living minimally, social distancing and washing hands almost as regularly as we breathe. People started to think twice about where they went and who they got in contact with. Sanity was somewhat becoming commonplace – but this did not last long.

For some communities, this strange state of affairs became ‘the new normal’. Of course, for other communities around the world, the demon of rebellion veered to the front and nudged folks to defy the social distancing calls and be stubborn about wearing face masks. As a result, many of these communities have had to put funeral service providers on speed dial because people have died in their hundreds of thousands.

In places like Uganda where obeying the law of the land is second nature, it came as no surprise that the resulting situation wasn’t as horrible. Yes, there were cases of the virus spreading, but till today, not a single person has lost their life to the virus (well, not yet at least). Nonetheless, as if to bring us up to speed with the rest of the world, our LDUs decided to do coronavirus a favour by ending some lives on its behalf – brutally. 

Once again, I digress.

With all this happening, life has not been what it usually should be. Personally I’ve had to rethink several habits and practices just to fit into the new way of life. Yes, there is a level of discomfort. Yes, we could do with a return to normalcy. However, there are certain positives that I’ve identified from the lockdown. 

It may be difficult to see anything positive about a virus that is ravaging through the world’s population with no respect for social class, race or creed. But if there is one thing I’ve learnt in this life, it is that no matter how horrible the situation, a smile must and should always be afforded. And so I present, the lockdown silver lining.

Banned gatherings – what a relief! 

It might sound insensitive right now but for once in a long time, people’s phones are not buzzing with invites to wedding meetings, baby showers, old school reunions and such stressful social gatLherings. Before the lockdown, wedding meetings, baby showers, bridal showers, baptisms, birthday parties were very popular. For some strange reason, many people hated them and yet many people organised them. So folks attended them, begrudgingly. I mean, if your sister invites you for a baby shower, you may as well borrow money and attend or she might teach her baby to hate you – for life.

Now that public gatherings are banned, there is a sense of calm and peace that’s been restored to humanity. People have been home focussing on the things that actually matter like arguing with their partners day and night, struggling with kids for the laptop at home, and planning for life during unemployment. Yes – many companies have laid-off workers. Basically, people can now concentrate on spending their time trying to survive as opposed to spending their time moving from one pathetic event to another. 

One might assume that during the lockdown there were no weddings, baptisms and whatnot; far from it. In fact, quite a number of people got married, others baptised their children, some gave birth and many were buried. What lesson do we learn here? Life can actually go on even if the whole world is not involved in your affairs. You don’t need the whole world to be a part of your wedding, bridal shower, baby’s baptism or divorce party. All you need are a few folks to attend, a manageable budget, government permission and plenty of sanitizers. Life has never been easier!

Comfortable Public Transport 

Prior to this lockdown, using public means of transport in Uganda was a nightmare. First off, you had to fork out a chunk of shillings just to get about. Secondly, you had to share seats with all kinds of people including people who needed but could not afford private means like the terribly sick, the drunken folks, the sweaty gym-goers and the fish transporters. And so if you were not suffocating under the armpits of the conductor, you were struggling to hide your phone from an inquisitive neighbour or struggling for space with a basket of freshly purchased fish. There wasn’t much fun in public transport. 

Now with the lockdown, in an attempt to keep within the SOPs, taxis have to carry fewer passengers. This means you have quite a bit of space to stretch your leg, check your phone without your neighbour taking a peek and even manage a bit of comfort. Obviously, you have to pay through the nose because the transport fare has shot through the roof but generally speaking, you can now travel more comfortably. Just a little longer and there will be no need to return to ‘normal’ because people will be okay with comfort.

Enjoy the Silence & Serenity

One of the things that rile me about Kampala is the amount of noise in this city. Street preachers, nightclubs, bars, churches, schools, all combine to create the most irritating choir of noisemakers. And strangely, this is mostly in residential areas. It is almost impossible to find a residential area that is continuously quiet. Thanks to the lockdown, some peace and quiet came forth. The issue of curfew means that everyone has to be home before 7 pm so there is really little time to go around ‘bar hopping’ or swinging from church to church in search of a miracle. There is the occasional family gathering here and there but the most noise you will hear is a father yelling to his kids that the Party has ended and they should go to bed. 

Do I miss the bars and churches? On some level, yes. Mostly the bars. You see, society has a way of holding each other’s hand through adversity and this happens quite well in bars and churches. With these closed, people have resorted to strange methods to remain sane and many of these are unhealthy. But maybe we needed a reminder that while we’re part of a larger society that can hold us through our struggles, we are individuals before we are a society. I guess all I am saying is – the absence of bars and churches for several months has made us use our heads a bit more.

Business is now at your fingertips

For a very long time, businesses in Uganda have struggled with getting through to potential clients without having to break a sweat or empty their pockets completely. Everyone everywhere is making noise about everything – it’s all really a mess. With the lockdown, it has become apparent that the internet is such a useful resource. People can now see the importance of getting a hang of how to use the internet. There are several people who have businesses that require markets while others are looking for specific products and services but don’t know where to look. After doing a bit of research on the internet, I landed on JustClickUg.com which is an exciting way to increase one’s sales, boost their brand and expand their reach.

The fact is that sometimes you want to do a bit of bargaining directly with the seller of an item without having to worry about a middle man or kayungirizi who obviously requires a cut or enjawulo. With this platform, you can list your business and let the platform do all the hard work of putting your brand out there. Your role is to sit back and deal with the customers who will approach you directly. Also, if you are looking for something, all you have to do is visit the site, browse, and you will come across several options, price ranges and alternatives for what you want. This one, from what I have gathered, is really just a buyer-seller platform for Ugandan products. If you’ve got an item you’d like to sell, get on there and have it listed. If you’ve got an item you are looking for, get on there and speak directly to buyers. In case you are one of those lazy people who don’t like clicking links but still want to know more, feel free to call them up on +256783034614 or +256778841522. You could even hit them up on Twitter or Facebook

It is safe to say that the lockdown has opened our eyes to many possibilities and perhaps we can learn some lessons from these. The statement people like using (which I am now tired of) is – ‘this is the new normal’. We may as well embrace it and learn to live with it. 

“Longer than an earthquake, a pandemic shakes your life and living” ― P.S. Jagadeesh Kumar

Bernard Ewalu Olupot
a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
Follow @beewol on Twitter, @beewol on Instagram and Beewol on Facebook 

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Beewol - The Talkative Rocker