As we continue walking through these unusual and challenging times, I am exceedingly grateful to Covenant Mercies partners of every kind. By God’s grace, you have persevered in prayer and generosity through the early days of this crisis, and you are making a tremendous difference.
Thankfully, the Lord has answered our prayers and prevented widespread COVID-19 infections thus far. In Uganda, Ethiopia, and Zambia, confirmed cases are still numbered in the dozens rather than the hundreds or thousands, and the death toll remains in single digits. We are hearing no reports of overwhelmed hospital systems or homebound sickness and death among our nearly 1,500 sponsored children and their families. This is a tremendous answer to prayer.
Alongside this encouraging news is the harsh reality of living under government-mandated shutdowns as a day laborer or subsistence farmer. While many of us in the West have resources to fall back on, the vast majority in the developing world are dependent on today’s work for today’s meal. Thanks to your support, we were able to provide food and hygiene supplies in Uganda and Ethiopia before the tightest lockdowns were announced (both countries remain under stay-at-home orders until the first week of May at minimum, while Zambia’s lockdown has been less severe). This has given most families the necessary margin to abide by stay-at-home orders; and for those whose struggles are more acute (only 18 families so far), our teams on the ground have remained in touch and delivered additional assistance as needed.
Schools in all three countries will remain closed through the next normally-scheduled school break. This makes the earliest potential school reopening May 11th in Zambia and May 25th in Uganda. (The outlook in Ethiopia is less clear.) In the meantime, students are encouraged to learn at home through a variety of means. For example, Uganda’s Ministry of Education has announced a schedule for school lessons via radio. At Hope Community Primary School in Kiburara, our team is facilitating participation in these lessons by printing the accompanying worksheets and safely distributing them to students at home.
While we thank God that the virus has not spread exponentially in any of our program areas, your ongoing support is absolutely vital as we continue to provide strategic assistance to our children and families enduring the crisis at home. Here are a few ways you can continue to pray with us:
- Please pray for timely rains and healthy harvests in Uganda’s current growing season, so the families in our rural program areas will not suffer lack.
- Please pray for governmental leaders in each of these countries, as they carefully weigh the costs and benefits of public health policies and determine the wisest path forward.
- Please pray for wisdom regarding the reopening of schools, especially in the program areas where Covenant Mercies runs schools in collaboration with our indigenous partners.
- Please pray for our children as they engage in various forms of learning from home, and for our teams on the ground in their efforts to facilitate these activities.
- Please continue to pray against the spread of this virus on the African continent.
- Please continue to pray especially for the elderly grandparents who function as primary caregivers for so many of our children.