COVID-19 Breaks a Long Standing Tradition of Travelling to Villages amongst Bafumbira

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KAMPALA– Coronavirus disease has broken a long-standing tradition amongst Bafumbira residents of Kifumbira area, a city suburb, many of whom travel upcountry in big numbers during the Christmas and New Year holiday, to celebrate with their families.

The residents who stay in Kifumbira area which has three zones of Kifumbira 1 which is found in Mulago Kawempe Division, Kifumbira 2 and Hormisdallen School zones found in Kamwokya Kampala central, say that due to Covid-19 which affected their economy and fear to spread the virus to village dwellers, most of them are unable to travel this time around.

At least over 40 vehicles both minibuses and buses could start early December ferrying Bafumbira from Kampala to Kisoro and other areas along Ntungamo Kabale road. However, things changed this time as they are only two vehicles that have taken people at a half capacity.

The first bus loaded yesterday evening and the second one was found loading people on Thursday 24th. The bus conductor of this bus branded with words of Multitech Business School (MBS) who declined saying his names and off the record told this reporter that times are hard. He adds that even getting those few people was not easy. The bus was found parked waiting for people and it is planned to set off at tight.

According to George William Ruhindi Nsababeera a resident of Mulago 3 Kifumbira and one of the people who have been organizers during Christmas festive, they tried looking for people who would travel in early December and failed. He adds that when they realized people would not travel as usual, they pulled out and left whoever wants to travel go on their own.

Futunate Cyizanye also a resident of Kifumbira Mulago 3 parish says that she failed to go because of lack of enough money. Cyizanye used to travel with the husband and the children and they would spend at least shillings 100,000 but now they require over shillings 300,000 as a family. Besides, she argues that with the Covid-19 pandemic, they would put many people at risk of contracting the virus.

Health Specialists have cautioned Ugandans against travelling upcountry during the Christmas holiday to avoid the spread of COVID-19 because they will take the disease for their mothers and unsuspecting relatives in villages. These people in the villages have a very low level of suspicion. Many of them do not even wear masks.

Due to transport hike and lack of money, the residents say, some of the youth who have are in boda boda riding have used/ are using their motorcycles to ride to Kisoro. According to Abert Nkurunziza a boda boda rider in Kifumbira, one needs to use between shillings 40,000 and 50,000 on fuel to be able to travel to village and it takes some only eight or ten hours to reach home.

During the previous Christmas seasons, residents say, they used to pay about shillings 50,000 but now one to travel in bus, they are charged about shillings 100,000 and 120,000. Those who would ride with boda riders, have to pay shillings 60,000.