Adventist agency is assisting some of those affected most by the pandemic.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across Kenya, lockdowns, closure of schools, and cancellation of public meetings have caused immeasurable disruptions.
Even before COVID-19, persons with disabilities were living in a world of isolation, and the effects of the health crisis have been keenly felt. Samuel Onang’o, a father of three, is a cobbler, or shoemaker, in Kibera. He is also physically disabled.
His wife and children traveled to another region of the country with the hope of returning home in a week, but the government announced a lockdown for Nairobi. More than two months have passed, and Samuel has had to learn to survive alone in his one-roomed tin-walled house.
“Before coronavirus, I was earning up to 1,000 Kenyan shillings [about US$10] a day. This was enough for my family’s upkeep and my children’s school fees. Now, I barely make 200 shillings [about US$2] on a good day. Yesterday, I made only 10 shillings,” Onang’o said.
The loss of income has been occasioned by the massive job losses for the people living in Kibera informal settlement, who now spend whatever little money they have on food and other essential goods.
As a measure to curb the spread of COVID-19, the government ordered all people operating a business to install handwashing stations. This presented another challenge to Onang’o.
“We have to buy water here in Kibera. Sometimes, I don’t even have enough for my domestic use, but I have to buy water for my handwashing station at work, lest I be arrested,” Onang’o said.
Onang’o added that he could get water at the local pump, which is less expensive, but he has to pay for delivery services, which he cannot afford. He also said that whenever he has to go to the government offices to get food, it takes him up to two hours due to his condition.