Movement at the Time of Corona

When I can I compose my thoughts and put them in writing. After months of flying to commute between Kampala and my homebase I am back on the road. This time there are a lot of thoughts put into this time and I am sharing it with you.

I’m in the road pit stop #kabalega for the first meal of the day β˜•β˜•β˜•

It’s been several months since I took the road to Kampala from my home in the West Nile. If not for the Covid_19 pandemic, by now I am in Entebbe via the small aircraft that lands in the same airport as all the other planes the come and go.

To reach Kampala I still have a good solid 4 hours plus or minus the traffic πŸš‘πŸš’πŸš“πŸš”πŸš•πŸš•πŸš–πŸš˜πŸš™πŸššπŸš›πŸš›πŸš²πŸšœπŸ›΅

My organization decided we should not mingle with undetected peeps in the airport since we pride ourselves to be both Covid free and Ebola free. It puts me and the others at greater risk since after the airport I will go in the mall for lunch like now and then to the office before I reach home.

While the world is waking up to the pandemic of πŸ‘‘ Corona virus, Uganda is living with the scare of ebola outbreak every day long before I came here. The borders are manned to make sure it doesn’t come here. The health center workers are trained to detect even a slightest symptoms and sound the alarm on suspected cases.

The country also gets a share of active cases of poliomyelitis, measles and even leprosy not because Uganda has them per se but the country host refugees from countries that because of the breakdown of health systems import with them long treatable and preventable diseases.

Am I scared? I guess not.

My country is on lockdown, and Uganda is just waiting to confirm it’s first case after all the countries around it is already dealing with it’s own cases. But I opted to stay here than go home to the chaos of the Philippines.

At the pit stop I met two girls I know in Arua, they are being pulled out by their organization. The same for my Aussie friend, after 3 weeks of deployment she’s returning to Australia before they lockdown the country. Soon my organization too will pull out it’s non essential staffs, we’ll be skeleton staffs to remain and I am one of them.

Am I crazy to stay? Maybe not.

Imagine this πŸ€” if i leave here I will need to travel for over 24 hours and change cars and planes multiple times. To arrive in a closed airport and disgruntled people. I make myself vulnerable by exposure.

Then I travel to my dad’s place that is if I am found okay. And self quarantine myself in my old room. Family is πŸ’ž it’s impossible to not hug and kiss people you love.

What if after 14 days I got sick? And like dominoes the rest follows.

So no I am not crazy I am being practical. I have to be extra sensible and cautious until the first case and double the effort of self preservation once there is an active case identified … self quarantine and pray that the pandemic blows over and start the life back better and the environment cleaner.

The First Temple I Visited When I Was In Nepal

Who would have thought that when I accepted the job in Nepal to support my organization respond the destructions brought by the earthquake in 2015 it would also pave the way for me to visit holy site after holy site … I started a pilgrim without me knowing.

I was happy to meet Nepalese returning from their work abroad, like our driver and many new physical therapists to help in rebuilding Nepal. They are willing to leave their high paying job because they know that their family and country needs them. It is good for us as outsiders to work with them knowing that their intentions are the same as us … to help and support the nation building.

The Monkey Temple

Found the middle of the busy streets of Kathmandu, the Monkey Temple was named because of the abundance of monkey around the hills that joins the pilgrims as they climbed the stairs to venerate their gods.

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Buddha welcomes you to the temple … start your ascent!

In Hindi, it is the Swayambhunath Stupa and temple complex. It is on a hill that can be seen from far if you know where to look. Hindu worship animals and as you already know the “cow” is a “holy cow” to them.

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The view from the top of the hill … overlooking one part of the densely populated city of Kathmandu in the late afternoon as the smog rises up covering the sky

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When you see them in the middle of the streets, you drive around it, or you completely stall the traffic until it moves out of the way, you cannot shoo them away, or you will have the evil eye upon you!

Reading up on Swayambhunat made me feel sad when I saw the destruction around the complex brought on by the devastating 7.2 and 6.8 earthquakes within one month apart in April and May 2015. Most of the buildings, statues, and murals that toppled to the grounds can be said to be over 100 years, and in that jolt, they fell like Lego bricks and nothing could have prevented it.

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Fallen bell

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One of the altar with the Buddha eye in the center

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Prayer bells … you can see the shine caused by the hands of those passing and pray

It is wonderful to see that the spirits of the people didn’t falter, they come in droves and continue life after the destructive earthquake. With the contributions from all over the world – the pilgrims and the devotees had made constructions and reinforcements of the structures possible. The community was able to start rebuilding early.

The photos are some of the devastations I saw when I visited the temple during one of our weekend breaks. There was less and less aftershock by that time, and there are more and more people allowed to visit and worship again in the temple.

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The peace it brings to the pilgrims amidst the rubbles

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More climbing required … the price is at the top of the stairs

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The stairs … along the way you will be welcomed by HIndu gods to guide your way, to the enlightenment

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Constructions commence. The community reinforced the structure to prevent further collapse

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One of the last standing column/stupa that’s reinforced for safety and reconstruction

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One of the stupa that didn’t make it … it was reduced to a stub

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The temple complex with the round bell for everyone to turn as they pass by praying

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One monkey contemplates the outcome of the destruction the earthquake brought to his temple

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Monkeys are part of the life in the temple

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Bells left hanging secured by those huge chains

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Rubbles blocking the way to the other side of the complex

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Cracks in the wall of an old building that houses monks looking after the temple complex

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It all comes down to this … more rubbles

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More structure damage … some of them are condemned to be demolished completely

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Debris everywhere … the red building is an old library and bookstore

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Houses of monks destroyed during the quake

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Piles of rubble from buildings that collapsed during the shake

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One of the stupas and housing complex for the monks