Uganda is under lockdown with a curfew and extensive restrictions on movement to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Photographer, painter, poet and social activist DeLovie captures the market vendors following the government’s sleep-where-you-work order to prevent the virus’ transmission.
Uganda’s lockdown imposes a curfew of 7pm, implemented by police beatings on those who do not comply. There is also a ban on public transport (except for motorcycle deliveries), and only private cars with a permission sticker from the Resident District Commissioner can be on the road, which means the only way to move around is by walking. For some, the lockdown is even more controlling; market vendors must adhere to the sleep-where-you-work order, and spend the night in their stalls, meaning drastic changes to their lives to combat the spread of the virus.
This photo blog captures some of these vendors in Uganda’s capital city, Kampala, who reflect on their unprecedented circumstances.
It's been a month or so since I have left this place. I have stopped counting ... I fold myself up like this every night so I can catch some sleep'. Lillian (48). 27 April 2020.
The price of face masks has rapidly increased, leading market vendors to wear their own DIY coverings. 21 April 2020.
Mulumba (26) is the youngest and the only man who still works and sleeps in the market. 'The tarpaulin is too hot in the night if I cover myself all the way so I have to leave a bit of space which makes the mosquitoes bite as we don't have mosquito nets.' 21 April 2020.
Nabaakooza (48): 'My back hurts so much from not being able to shift my body like when I'm in my own bed. This is indeed a survival of the fittest as the youth say haha. Where did this disease (the coronavirus) come from even?' 28 April 2020.
Babirye (53) sits at her stall where she sells bananas wearing a face mask. She uses the stall as a bed at night. 21 April 2020.
Babirye (53) uses her stall to sleep at night. Inside she stores basic personal items needed to survive, which she carried from her home. 21 April 2020.
Babirye: 'I'm miserable. This is all very miserable. I don't know how much more I can take. I miss my kids.'
Amali (58) in front of her colourful stall. All market vendors have to commemorate President Museveni's sleep-where-you-work order to containing the spread of the virus. 24 April 2020.
Amali (58): 'I miss my family especially my grandchildren! But what do you do if this is what it takes to earn a living? The ground is hard but I hope this Corona things ends soon so I can have the freedom of movement again!' 24 April 2020.
Resty (39): 'I pray every night for this to be over. I cry I prayer so I wake up to the president saying no more lockdown. It's torture and very uncomfortable'.
Beatrice (60) poses with a makeshift mask in front of her stall with her fellow vendors (Alice and Mayi). 24 April 2020.
Aggie (29) initiating a transaction with a customer. 'Things have been going really slow lately because many people tend to buy foods that last long so they don't have to walk back and forth to the markets, leaving us in a very tight situation.'
De Lovie: An empty stall stares back at me as if to remind me of the many vendors who sacrificed work, those who couldn't stand staying away from their families for an unknown amount of time.
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