Uganda is continuing to manage COVID. We had our first deaths reported in the last couple of weeks, but the spread of the virus is very slow and appears to be well maintained. The borders remain closed, but Ugandan citizens have started returning on some repatriation flights, and there is talk of the borders opening in the near future.
Churches, religious gatherings, and other large gatherings of people is still prohibited. Therefore, the gates of HEAL remain closed. It feels like we could be closed for the rest of the year. Thankfully we are continuing to pay our staff, and I have been able to go on home visits to check on some of our families.
I am really enjoying getting to know our staff better in their home environment. Seeing their kids run around and play with neighbors, talking about the devastations happening around the world, learning about what brought each person to work at HEAL, and getting to know one another on a more personal level has been the highlight of the last few weeks. We have 73 staff members, so it is really hard to get to know them all and their stories on a daily basis at work. Having time one-on-one away from the distractions of the James Place has been a great way to build deeper relationships. I am so thankful that our staff is doing well during this hard season going on in the world. All the staff that I have been able to see and/or talk to are doing well and their children are healthy and safe.
I visited with one of our staff members after she tragically lost her husband a few weeks ago. She is doing so well considering the terrible circumstances. It was so encouraging to learn that she and her husband had saved their money, bought land, and built a home for their family. That means that she doesn’t have to worry about paying rent each month, and they are able to grow some of their own food to eat. The family is strong and resilient, and I have full confidence that they will support one another through this hardship.
Of the low points of the last few weeks was having to put one of our HEAL dogs down. We knew he was in lots of pain and had been getting progressively worse over the last few months, and we had to make the difficult decision of putting him down.
There is always something going on here, even with COVID keeping a lot of things closed. A chicken ran into my house this morning and would not go out. Of course, I freaked out and had to get someone to help me chase it outside. Life in Uganda is never boring!