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KIU Together: KIU Western Campus Congolese Community Sticking Together in Lockdown


KIU, Western Campus – The KIU Western Campus Congolese undergraduate students, under their umbrella association KIU Congolese Students Association (KIUCOSA) have developed a collective modus-operandi to go through the nationwide lockdown imposed by President Yoweri Museveni on March 30 to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, safely.

The students, who stay in a gated compound along the Ishaka-Kasese highway, developed uniform studying, eating, exercise and leisure schedules to maintain a sense of togetherness and shrug off the homesickness that was bound to affect them because of the lockdown.

We visited their leaders and they shared their lockdown story with us.

The Vice-President of KIUCOSA, Dorcus Ntabuye (pictured right-background), a first-year medical student, said they knew the loneliness and homesickness that would come with the lockdown, and that is why they decided to streamline their daily routines.

“We wanted to make sure we know what is happening in each others’ lives and be able to check on one another to prevent some of us from being stressed because of the situation,” Ntabuye said.

Celestine Uwimana (wearing a red t-shirt in the picture), a fifth-year student of medicine says they wake up at 7:30 and together, they do exercises, under strict social distancing and self-protection measures, for an hour.

They then prepare and eat breakfast together, before starting their daily studying shift, which goes up to around 1:00 PM. After that, they prepare lunch-she says they stocked enough food and don’t need to go to the market- and by 2:30 PM, they are eating.

“In the afternoons, it is leisure time, so we dance, do make-up and do challenges on the internet about COVID-19. The doctor’s challenge is our favourite challenge,” Uwimana says.

She adds that they study during weekdays and over the weekend, they only do discussions

“We formed discussion groups and we usually discuss on weekends. We have two discussion sessions on Saturday and Sunday,” she says.

Uwimana disclosed that they use YouTube videos, SlideShare from the internet and digital books, in addition to their normal course content provided by the university.

She says that some students have discovered their hidden gifts and talents during the lockdown, with one particular colleague surprising them with her décor abilities, after doing decorations at a friend’s birthday party.

Uwimana advised fellow KIU students to concentrate on their studies.

“No one expected or planned for this but we should accept the situation as it is. In medicine, we say that when you stop reading, the doctor in you dies. So, we should not stop reading just because we are not at school,” she said.

Picture credit: Simon Mambo Binezero