It has been about half a year since our last blog at the Effectiveness lab. We chose to take a hiatus – COVID19 took its toll on all parts of society; the people, souls, economy and the brains that blog.
We paused at a worrying stage of the COVID19 pandemic in our country Uganda. We were witnessing the highest positivity rate and death of those we loved. The health system was starting to struggle, and the President was left with no choice but to ‘lockdown’ the country.
All the hope we harboured of schools opening and our children returning to school was shattered. The students were to wait for another six months before being allowed back into school. And it’s worth noting that they had been out of school for over twelve months at the latter stage. No wonder Uganda has an unenviable record as one of the countries that kept the kids longest out of school. Things were bleak.
However, as indicated in series one, we don’t always think hard when it comes to the impossible as we have a guaranteed fallback. Certainly not the very Western culture-centric, rational, sense-making of all things. We leave the complexity to our leaders to sort out for their followers, and of course, and most importantly, to the African and ‘colonial’ Deity – ‘gods’ and ‘God’ respectively.
Ooooh Uganda, may God uphold thee! That we are blogging again is testimony to the mighty gods/God’s power, omnipotent and omniscience.
Without doing too sophisticated stuff – like having and operating sophisticated biomedical lab regimes to test and identify variants (and not that we can even afford such), respecting the lockdown as instructed by the powers be (boda-boda taxis and apparently some bars, continued to operate), etc. we have survived and made it on to the other side. At least for now.
Are we safe?
As usual, we don’t have the sophistication and metrics to predict what is ahead of us. We can’t know, like Europe, that half of the population will have caught the Omicron variant by the end of February 2022. But we also don’t think about headaches like this when we have more ‘hurtful-headache’ like putting food on the table. Isn’t it sad?
We will come out safe, whatever you want to call safe. At least what we are confident about, and have the metric for (read: date), is that it’s January 2022, and the African gods/God haven’t let us down.
Schools have opened again, and the economy is primarily open now; we are generally okay. Yet, given the Omicron habits, many of us must be ‘Covided’ or have been recently. Our not too state of the art hospital system hasn’t collapsed yet. We are hanging in there, and we suspect, shall be okay.
As a team interested in effectiveness – we are always keen to only do what must be ￼done to attain outcomes. So, COVID19 prevention and eradication tactics must be of interest to students of strategy and organisation dynamics, especially when we juxtapose tactics in Africa and other parts of the world.
And let’s keep it very Ugandan here. So, you put in soo much effort to attain a particular result and discover that others have also gotten the same effect but without much effort. Others may call it luck, but it may have to do with risk-taking, bold leadership, mastery of tactics in a given situation, etc.
The above happens a lot to the faithful in my village Nakabugu. Some of us pray to God or submit to our gods to reap as big a harvest from our gardens as possible. Indeed, much more than our other village folks, we pray. Only for us to get the same returns; certainly, it’s common sense that we farm the same land and are subject to the same weather.
We sometimes wonder why we pray and even give offertory in money/goats and chickens, depending on the type of Deity you worship – don’t get us wrong, we aren’t atheists, but only akin to those who observe and analyse certain excesses in society.
The COVID19 anthropological truth
The above Nakabugu harvest situation is similar to the COVID19 management enigma. Many of us in Uganda wish we had the sophisticated systems – but we don’t. Yet even without such, we have done well thus far. Have we?
And unintentionally, we have contributed to creating a hypothesis that once the pandemic is gone, it shall be interrogated by both scholars of science and management.
Humanity – confronted by the unknown and death, which also threatens the way we live, tends to panic and show selfish tendencies of ‘survival of the fittest system. Yet, mainly unrecognisable to humanity, there may be anthropological checks and balances to ensure that not one part on this planet is more entitled to life than the other.
While the jury is still out on choosing to leave matters as critical as COVID19 containment to mostly our faith and luck, we may just be able to see the pandemic through.
Ooooh Uganda may God uphold thee!