After almost three months of lockdown in Rwanda, the government started slowly opening up some activities such as bus travel, and public and private business. In reopening businesses, the government was giving a breathing space for the national economy and day-to-day opportunities for the people in Rwanda. But this was being done with only limited staff to avoid the quick spreading of the virus.
By mid-August the numbers of COVID-19 cases increased by the hundreds and was regarded as a peak. A lockdown was issued in some provinces such as the western and north west provinces of Rusizi and Rubavu. People in Kigali weren’t allowed to go to these provinces and the isolated provinces weren’t allowed to enter Kigali. In fact, some areas of Kigali where COVID-19 was found were also locked down until the spread of the virus had disappeared. This took about two months.
Currently, the lockdown in some parts of Kigali and in the provinces has been terminated because of the significant decrease of COVID-19 in these areas. As cases are rotating between one and 35 nationally, almost everything is reopening but with the focus on preventative measures such as hand sanitizing or washing and using face masks.
About a week ago I talked with some of the children who attend Gatesi Excellence Day Care. They complained that their moms told them they can’t go to school because of the corona virus. They do not understand why they cannot go to school and wish they could re-start their school. In the meantime, to express how much they miss school, some wear their uniforms at home at least once a week.
Staff are in close touch through telephone calls with the mothers who are YEGO beneficiaries. We have regular interactions and follow up with them to find out what their situations are like, and the challenges they go through due to the pandemic and its effects. The majority of these women told us how they’d almost given up because it was difficult trying to fend for themselves and their children during the lockdown.
But we kept in touch with them, provided encouragement, counselling and prayers to them. Though businesses have been reopened, many jobs and job opportunities have been lost and there are many women and households that are living in extreme poverty. They are very hungry and need food and support. For special cases of need, people in despair or sickness, YEGO staff visit the beneficiaries in their homes or hospital and provide the urgently needed support.
Due to COVID-19, it is not yet possible to organize big gathering such as the general assemblies for the women and girls. As the situation keeps improving it could be possible to have them organized in the future.
It is exciting to note that the government of Rwanda has reopened some schools early this month and plan to reopen more in November 2020. The situation is slowly coming back to normalcy and Rwandans are now trying hard to cope with COVID-19 and find ways to survive. This requires them to be extra careful and cautious so as to ensure COVID-19 is contained.
As YEGO staff, we are extremely thankful to God that he has so far kept YEGO beneficiaries and us safe. We also hope YEGO donors and YEGO Canada board have been safe and we also send prayers to those who have the corona virus or have family or friends with corona that God can heal them.