Lonely highway, face masks in lockdown



By Felix Basiime

Topher Tumusiime travels on totally different routes across the nation and extra commonly on the Kampala-Mbarara route. Nevertheless, attributable to Covid-19, his journey schedules modified as a result of lockdown that was in place since March and nearly no enterprise.

Throughout the lockdown, pickup vehicles had been allowed to maneuver. In Could, Tumusiime acquired an pressing have to journey to Mbarara from Kampala and had to make use of his previous pickup.

His expertise was unusual as he was a lone traveller on the freeway.
“I travelled to Mbarara after near 4 months of not having the ability to. There was an emergency within the village (Katebe, Kashaari) and I needed to be there. I had anticipated the President to permit vehicles on the highway that week however this was to not be. I needed to make do with my previous 1200cc pickup truck.

Though the pickup was roadworthy, it had taken years shifting solely in Kampala. I needed to threat it. This was my expertise,” he says.
Use of a face masks
Among the many measures to curb the unfold of Covid-19 was the necessary use of face masks each time one is to go to the general public however Tumusiime met unusual scenes.

“It’s necessary to put on a face masks whereas in public. Certainly I had been utilizing one however briefly since I used to be largely staying at dwelling. My pals suggested me to put on the face masks whilst I used to be driving, warning me that in any other case I’d be stopped at roadblocks for questioning,” he says, including, “To keep away from being inconvenienced I wore a face masks all through the journey.”

He confronted challenges by sporting a facemask whereas driving a protracted journey together with suffocating.
“Nevertheless, using a face masks will want a variety of follow and even instructing. At one time I put it off to catch some contemporary air solely to place it again on inside out. At one other level, I caught myself holding it in my mouth as I used to be opening a drink. What if it had been contaminated by Covid-19!” he exclaims.


His statement alongside the best way was that the preventive measures for Covid-19 weren’t taken significantly by the folks or some folks don’t even know that there’s such a illness.

“As I handed some cities reminiscent of Kinoni, most individuals had been crammed in areas and appeared to reside previously the place life was regular. This was the identical after I reached Mbarara Central Market the place I went to purchase some provides earlier than heading to the village,” he says.

In regards to the market
When he entered Mbarara Central Market with a face masks he appeared like a stranger or a medical physician marching out of a theatre.
“Right here, my masks made most individuals stare at me suspiciously. One group loved a sport of enjoying playing cards with no hassle. But Mbarara Hospital the place a Covid-19 affected person had already been admitted is barely about 500 metres away from the market,” he observes.

On regular days most travellers who ply the Kampala-Mbarara route have widespread stopovers in Masaka to refresh and ease themselves. These embrace Masaka Complete restaurant, Nyendo on the roundabout or at Lukaya for roasted gonja and nyama choma however enterprise was affected by the lockdown as a result of decreased variety of travellers.

“I’m used to stopping at Lukaya. Right here, I stroll to the retailers to decide on the well-cooked gonja. This time it was ghostly. The stalls had been empty. No distributors working round, no sellers roasting meat or Gonja.

The market thrives on travellers and since there was a ban on autos, the market needed to shut. In case you count on gonja and mchomo alongside the highway from Kampala to Mbarara you would possibly starve. I needed to inform my abdomen to be affected person,” he jokes.

He says he drove on an empty abdomen till the Complete Masaka joint that was open.
“They had been providing takeaway and my abdomen was saved from its grumbling.”
The site visitors jams
“We used to complain about site visitors jam however on some sections of the highway between Masaka and Mbarara, mine was the lonely automobile on the highway. I might see nobody behind, nobody in entrance and I used to be not about to satisfy anybody for a number of kilometres. I imply no automobile, no bodaboda, and no bicycle. I sometimes noticed an individual strolling,” he says.
One feels they’re on the flawed highway. It was scary.
“I saved praying that the pickup doesn’t betray me at such a time and positive God heard my prayers,” he narrates.
When he drove previous Lyantonde city, he reached Ahakageti, a well-liked roadside buying and selling centre overlooking Lake Mburo Nationwide Park. This time the zebras had moved nearer to the highway and grazed with calves on the neighbouring farms.

“There was a footpath and folks nearly walked aspect by aspect with the zebras. It appeared they’d come to verify why folks now not go to them,” he says.

The park has a wide range of animals reminiscent of zebra, hippopotamus, impala, warthog, widespread eland, African buffalo, jackal, African leopard, and greater than 300 hundred chicken species
“I’m positive the lockdown will someday finish however it’s going to depart memorable experiences amongst many particularly the travellers,” Tumusiime says.

Fast notes
Key factors for drivers
Private and non-private autos had been allowed again on the raod so long as the automobile occupants wore face masks.

Public transport techniques of buses, mini-buses, taxis, to hold passengers at half the capability



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