Lockdown or Dimedown?

By Naluyange Keturah Shebah

The COVID-19 pandemic began as a joke. Me sharing memes, people laughing in my DMs, sounds like a normal day. On March 20th however, the president of Uganda declared a national lockdown. We had to leave school for 32days because, why not? I hug a minimum of five people a day on a normal school day but COVID-19 wasn’t having any of that. We had to go home. Of course I wasn’t moved because this was definitely the perfect time for me to “save the semester”. In fact, those 32 days were definitely going to be life-giving.
My semester had started on a roll. It went wayward way too fast. I wasn’t in control. We had covered half of the Molecular Biology Biotechnology ll content and I still had no idea what the course outline of this specific course entailed. The backside of my Computing II book(where I was supposed to summarise my biotechnology notes) was empty, and even with all the front side computing ll notes, I still didn’t know how to write even the simplest code in C++. So this lockdown was definitely God sent.

I was too excited that Friday, I even forgot my favorite grey sweater in one of the lecture labs at school. But that was the least of my concerns. It was refreshing to know I wasn’t going to wake up early on Monday to attend a parasitology practical class, whose test was coming up the Monday after that yet I wasn’t very conversant with all the human parasites, neither helminths nor protozoa. With three weeks to final semester papers and my brain still wondering why the semester doesn’t start in February when I show up, instead of January, this lockdown was received with all the joy I could muster.
Four weeks into the lockdown, which wasn’t lifted, I realized I wasn’t saving the semester-yet. I was beginning to encroach on my savings instead. Because the lockdown came with severe bangs of boredom, I had to stay online, whether to waste my day on the primary school group recalling that gruesome day when we received seven cains because some backbenchers stole the maths teacher’s red pen(a story for another day, really) or to stay up really late watching cats wearing hats and socks on YouTube, I still needed to stay connected. ‘

My savings continued to decline steadily, because my love for singing parrots and senior four stories from 2015 that I had outgrown was greater than my urge to beat my 2020 savings goal. Now, the only reason I began to even use my savings for data was because my two main sponsors, my beautiful mother and my very awesome brother, were not giving me money in a readily available way as was the case when I was still at school. My mother gives me out of school upkeep and my brother gives me my school upkeep, which is a very beautiful amount, beautiful enough to enable me to save some of it.
But now that school has been canceled till further notice, there is really no need for school upkeep, I mean, the president is keeping us out of school. So the upkeep I get from my brother is to keep me online(which I very much appreciate), not in school, so the income is definitely much lower than my former. My mother, on the other hand, gives according to her mood. If she wakes up on her right side, she’ll hand me a beautiful note to cheer me up and on a bad day, I’ll tell her obwavu bunnuma(I have run out of money) and she’ll tell me to read my books because my friends(who spend all day laughing at memes) are reading.

The situation these days is weird. I have to decide whether I’d rather fail to achieve my savings goal this year and stay online, or if I should be wise enough to see that I can accomplish much better things while I’m offline. Undoubtedly, a lot of people have achieved a lot online, but I’d like to believe I want something else instead.  So, with this period of income scarcity for me, I’ve decided to save a little from every batch of money I receive, and have also resorted to staying online only a few days a week.

It is a good idea because it doesn’t hurt my savings and I get to catch up with everything that’s been happening while I was offline when I finally go online. I have also managed to achieve a few things I had postponed, including reading books that people I look up to have recommended for me to read, getting a peace of mind, reaching my writing goals, and eventually saving the semester.