In ‘normal’ times, Moray and the Busega district in Tanzania are quite different -- the climate, the terrain, and the development, health, wealth, and education of people. But the folk are also similar -- warm, friendly, helpful and with hopes for the future. Somehow, the impact of Covid-19 has now brought us even closer together.
With care and compassion, the community in Moray is pulling together much like communities in Busega. What is different is our capacity to combat the Coronavirus’ effects. One single mum we know in Busega said, ‘It’s easy to say buy soap but how can we do that when I’m not sure where I can get the money to buy food?’ Indeed, this is the opposite of stockpiling.
Busega Scotland is a Moray-based charity that has been working in Busega since 2014. It is run on a voluntary basis and employs ten local people in Tanzania. Covid-19 has hit our work badly and the worst may be yet to
come. The latest figures show 480 recorded infections nationally with 16 deaths. Early on in this curve, the people are frightened as they fear their health services will not cope. Some estimates put the potential death toll on the African continent as high as 300,000.
We have a Busega Scotland Covid-19 Action Plan in place. PPE has been bought, unnecessary travel banned, one project suspended, and our children’s home is on lockdown with food stored to last six months. The staff have received modest salary supplements, to offset rising prices, and everyone has received soap. It is all we can do. Busega District Council are putting in quarantine measures for any positive cases and are co-ordinating with us.
If that is a sketch of the situation in Tanzania, how are we faring at home? Perhaps, no different from all other charities. Our income is much reduced; fundraising events have been cancelled and those planned for the rest of this year are in serious doubt. Understandably, local, and national funding organisations are concentrating on the situation here without the capacity to look overseas.
Looking at the ‘big picture’ and, I hope, not false optimism, Africa has experience of combatting major diseases, such as Ebola and AIDS and the population is young. The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have a good reputation. Countries have acted early with disease control measures, having had the ‘advantage’ of seeing what has happened in the US and Europe.
You may be wondering why so far into this article we have not told you much about what we do in Tanzania? We have a website that we take pride in keeping up to date, with many stories on our Latest News page at https://busegascotland.co.uk/. Should you want to make a donation (or even set up a standing order) you can visit https://busegascotland.co.uk/donate-now/. We would be most grateful for your help in keeping our vital work going.
To contact us please email John and Christine Carney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit our website at https://busegascotland.co.uk/