Democratic Republic of the Congo
One of the first decisions we made to adhere to safety guidelines was to suspend training activities at the CAAP, a professional training and mentoring centre here in Bunia. Before closing the centre though, we raised awareness about COVID-19 amongst our students, guards and staff. To do so, we used a film shot in Bukavu, restricting the showing to small groups to comply with social distancing measures. We also installed a hand washing system at the entrance of the building.
We quickly ordered protective equipment (masks, gloves and hydroalcoholic gel) from Goma and received it shortly after thanks to one of our collaborators. Through our peaceful coexistence promotion project for South Sudanese refugees, we also installed six banners in public squares stating that the coronavirus is our only common enemy and that to fight it, we need to comply with safety measures and nurture peace.
Passenger transportation between provinces has ceased, but the central market is still open. Of course, prices have gone up.
Since COVID-19 hasn’t put an end to the conflicts in Ituri, the estimated number of displaced people has now reached several thousands. If this pandemic continues to gain ground, stocking up on supplies will inevitably become a problem, especially since the uncertainty generated by the conflicts is already palpable for the truck drivers who transport merchandise.
Meanwhile, I’ve been working part-time from home and part-time from the office, where things are very quiet because almost everyone is at home. Even so, going to the office somewhat breaks isolation. There is no sense of despair.