KIU, Western Campus – Samuel William Okodi, a first-year student of Medicine at KIU Western campus is determined to turn the otherwise grim period of the COVID-19 lockdown in Uganda into a productive one for himself and his family.
Okodi, who hails from Apuuton village in Ngariam County, Katakwi district has embarked on a range of income-generating projects which he believes will not leave him the same way the lockdown found him.
“I have learnt to make liquid soap, grafting citrus trees and other agricultural mechanization methods like irrigation,” Okodi says.
“I have also planted 100 eucalyptus trees and started a piggery unit with a starter pack of 6 piglets,” he adds.
While most of his colleagues are locked down at home with a lot of spare time on their hands, Okodi says he has never been busier in his life.
His daily schedule is a back-breaking series of activities that run from 3:00 am to 11:30 pm. He kicks off his day by reading his books from 3:00 am to 6:00 am before heading to the garden.
He leaves the garden at 10:00 am to attend online lessons which usually run up to 5:00 pm, after which he does routine inspection of his projects. He does some physical exercise and reads again, until around 11:30 pm when he finally lies down to rest.
The exception in this routine is Mondays and Fridays when he goes to the hospital to observe hands-on clinical skills.
And despite this seemingly hectic daily routine, Okodi is not complaining.
“COVID-19 is an evil but I think to some extent, it is a blessing because it has helped many people learn different ways of survival,” he notes.
He’s not without his challenges however, especially regarding his studies.
“Because of lockdown, online learning is the only way but there are network disruptions as well as financial implications caused by data and power expenses. There is no power in my village so I have to devise ways of charging my phone, which is a bit costly,” Okodi says.
He advises students to adhere to the COVID-19 SOPs, be resourceful to their families and avoid irresponsible social behavior so that they can be blessings to their families, not curses.
He prays for his as much as the country’s sake that COVID-19 comes to an end soon because he believes many people will wallow in poverty if the current situation goes on.