Around the world we’re dealing with COVID-19. That has an impact on all our daily lives, workplaces and communities. And also brings uncertainty around projects and programmes in the weeks and months to come. Like us, organisations are facing big challenges and this asks for revised plans and expectations including necessary health measures and social distancing. However, we’re also mobilising everyone involved within Hockey Dreams and keep the positive spirit alive. We asked 3 of our coaches to write about what’s on their mind. Here is the story of William Okecha.

Also read the stories of Ugandan Coach Benjamin or Zambian Coach Miss Makayi.

Here you will find Hockey Dreams Foundation Coach William’s story. A coach practising in Uganda who is sharing his story on the current ongoings in his country. William discloses the steps taken by the government and his own take on present-day’s conditions.

The outbreak of Corona has appeared in our country Uganda and the government has banned public transport, sealed its borders and even a lockdown is introduced. For a while my teammates and I were still meeting up whilst trying to be at least five feet away from each other. I was giving my team breaks for them to wash and sanitise themselves as you cannot be certain of their earlier social interactions. In short, we played hockey with caution. This was our routine when the outbreak had just started, for now, we we have decided we will not be meeting at all due to the safety of the kids and coaches.

The situation we are in is a bitter pill, but a situation my team and I will overcome.

William is doing all in his power to keep in touch with the Hockey Dreams Foundation kids.
As a coach I am always informing and advising the kids on their daily lives. For example, the kids should always aim for the Almighty and pray for theirs’ and others’ lives and souls. In today’s world the kids are not to be practicing hockey outdoors, but more importantly in regard to their safety they are not handed the firsthand information on the virus from the coaches. I am having contact with the kids throughout WhatsApp as much as I can but not all the kids have smartphones and therefore essential information cannot always be provided. But there is hope: according to the latest news the school and its activities are to open in May. This will help the kids a lot.

William also shares the drastic steps president Museveni is taking in order to spread the virus further throughout the country of Uganda.  
The lockdown includes that we are allowed outdoors between 7:00 a.m. and 7:30 p.m but only with the distance of four meters. Mobile units are patrolling to maintain these short-term laws. On one of the enclosed newspaper bits, you can see the bullet points and ways on how our country is dealing with the virus. Please, see the bit of the market traders too, as traders are being directed by the president to sleep at their markets during the ongoing crisis; this is done to avoid contact with families and so. The traders are using mosquito nets to protect from malaria as seen on the enclosed photo. They are enduring hard times.

I am okay with the taken steps, they are a necessity. The government is providing the people with food and other essential supplies which is a great help too. The situation we are in is a bitter pill but a situation my team and I will overcome.

William urges us to mention that the coronavirus is not the only catastrofe hitting the people of Uganda. 
The water level of Lake Victoria is at its peak and is endangering the people living by its shores. The natural disaster is overshadowed by the coronavirus but is certainly is not less of a threatening. 

The rising water levels are caused by the variable climate changes which currently consists of heavy rainfall. Many houses are submerged and families are displaced. President Museveni advises all residents and business owners to move, “before the NEMA (National Environment Management Authority – the agency responsible for monitoring and maintaining Uganda’s environment policies) enforces the people too.”

I wish more attention for this crisis as it is not only hitting Uganda but also neighbouring countries Kenya and Tanzania. Due to bad living conditions the residents are more prone to the coronavirus because they are momentary incapable to clean and sanitise properly.   

Kids see the police arriving to distribute food

We would like to thank our coach William for his take and story on the corona situation. We are wishing him, the coaches, the kids and all concerned, good health. 

Sidenote (by the editorial staff)
President Museveni has encouraged everyone to exercise and do sports at home. He always use unique ways to reach his people. This time, he made a video demonstrating how to stay fit during Uganda’s lockdown. He also contributed half of his salary to fight the virus (read more).