Greetings to you all our faithful partners,
This is our weekly update on our Mama Nguvu friends and families during the continued Covid 19 pandemic season this year. The situation hasn’t gotten any better as we rose from our formerly 55 cases to now 74 cases I think this week. During last week’s test session in the 500+ tests, we had a few days where we didn’t actually register any new cases of infections. The hope was that if the trend continued like that we would reopen the schools and maybe the other lockdowns would be lifted in the next week but since this rise in number we think the lockdown shall continue which means that the situation of our Mamas won’t get any better.
The good news is that a few of our Mamas have still been allowed to operate their stalls during this time so that was good to hear but also I had to ask them to be safe as they operate their businesses.
Angel N, a grocery stall operator who received a boost in her business a few months before the Covid issue became serious for us, is doing well because she can also restock her supplies by asking a boda boda rider to deliver after she has contacted the bigger shops. She is one of the businesses that are allowed to operate because she deals with basic home supplies like food stuff. She is required to tie a rope barrier that distances her customers to avoid direct contact with her during service.
Rashida S, another Mama who deals with vegetable supplies and cooks tea and food, supplies the nearest police station to her so she has the benefit of staying open too. The business she says is slow a bit because she will almost entirely sell to only police because the usual customers won’t buy food as they go back home to eat but she still makes some vegetable supply sales to people who live around.
Annet C, another very successful business enterprise in our Mama Nguvu Project who deals in salon and decor, was obviously closed down because of the nature of the business. When we spoke, she was planning to transform the stall into a grocery stall or at least put the stall in front of her locked shop. This is a good idea as this would help them to buy food for her family as this Covid 19 situation left many people unemployed including her husband so he stays home the whole day. She says that she is running out of food which she had bought just after lockdown was initiated so I will check on her after this weekend and see if they need some support.
Amina A, another Mama, could have been working through this time because she had a wonderful restaurant but unfortunately it closed a while ago because of some challenges in her personal life and with her former husband. The good news on her behalf is that she managed to get some government support for food of maize flour, or what we locally call posho, and some beans so this is good for her and the family because she can start her Ramadan month of fasting with some food. I had earlier spoken to her and she had only received posho so I planned to follow her up and when I did she had received the beans as well so this will support them for now.
Gertrude N, who started a stationary shop during the last Mama Nguvu intake, has been closed for months after the location she had rented previously proved to be worthless so she closed it and started to look for a new place. Then the lockdown situation kicked in before she could find a new place. The good news also with her is that she managed to get food from the government and is one of the most grateful persons who have received the food. She says the food is actually great and she has been enjoying it with her family and also cared to share a few pictures too. She also used the money I sent her previously to buy some charcoal for her to be able to cook the beans that sometimes take long to get ready because they are super dried.
Francoise L, who has featured every week I think, hasn’t improved much and has actually taken a bad turn as the people who housed her and fed her are not talking to her much anymore because she has accumulated a lot of debt from them. She had been taking out food from the stores thinking that when she harvested her maize and sold her charcoal, she would actually pay off these debts but things didn’t turn out well. She ended up losing all these items due to theft from the locals who stayed around the village. I have discussed with Erika on how best to deal with this situation and we have a way forward now to help her deal with these debts.
Cissy N. has had to close her restaurant because she can’t access food and other food stuff. For her, her main market was schools which are now closed and then the fact that her stall is not as close to the trading centres like the other Mamas so she had to close. I spoke to her yet again this week and she is not doing bad as she has food from her small garden in front of her property and also the stock she had gotten just before the full lockdown. The garden supplies her some bananas or what we call matooke and then also the greens that grow in the garden along with the matooke.
Florence A., our salon Mama, is not doing bad at all. She still insists to work on some of her trusted clients because she says she needs to make some money to afford food and other supplies so I asked her to be careful. I sent her some money to buy some food to supplement her needs. She was grateful so I asked her to let me in on what’s going on, on her side, if she doesn’t have people to work on and needs some support.
Betty N, our tailor Mama who helps us in the making of pads for the reusable sanitary kits, is doing fine really. She is not teaching and tailoring a lot lately because there is nothing much she can do at the moment. She has enough food for her family and her two kids especially the kids because she says one of them is eating way too much, more than he used too. She suspects that he is either bored or something is wrong with him otherwise he doesn’t play much because he is not allowed to go play outside because of the season. Otherwise they are all well and most importantly they have food to help them survive through the season.
Those are some of the follow ups I have made with our Mamas this last week. Some situations are a bit overwhelming but we will overcome them. It looks like the lockdown will continue because of the new cases that brought the numbers higher again this week so we have to prepare because we have one more week to exhaust the second phase of lockdown which was 3 weeks. We only hope that they don’t discover new infections this coming week. These new cases were discovered from Kenyan truck drivers who were driving across the country so they have infected a few people. There is a claim that one of the truck drivers infected 5 women who he had contact with so now they are looking for them and possibly the other people these women were in contact with during this time especially after the initial contact from the truck driver.
Thank you to all our readers, stay home, stay safe and keep safe social distances.