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We can all relate to how our lives have altered over the past few weeks—how we are all working to accept a ‘new normal’, even if we aren’t used to it yet. While the COVID-19 crisis impacts all of us, some places in the world have experienced more dramatic consequences than others.
These updates from our staff members in Central Africa help us understand how the outbreak is impacting this part of the world:
It is with sadness that we announce we sent our teammate B back to his village in the south today. Things have rapidly changed here in a matter of days. I’m sure you can relate. As all of the schools are closed, he could no longer study English and was far from his family’s support. Please, please pray for his travels over the next three days. Central Africa has stopped all buses, so he will be returning to his village on his moto. This will be a difficult journey. Pray for his protection on the road—from accidents, breakdowns, and men’s evil intentions.*
Other changes here include that all the mini buses for transportation in town are forbidden. Taxis are limited to three people, moto taxis to two.
*Update: B returned safely to the south in a matter of two full days of travel.
Shopping & Income
This all makes going to buy food and necessities cost-prohibitive for most people, not to mention the people who live off the sales of their crops. The good markets are open if people have means to buy food or to get there. As most other shops are closed, people who drive the minibuses, sell non-food items, sell tea with communal cups, make things out of steel or wood, etc. are all out of work.
The government has instituted a curfew from 7pm to 6am. Airports and borders remain closed.
The prudent restrictions are already being felt as heavy burdens by the population, and not just due to lack of means to get food. The authorities are taking physical action first and asking questions later in manners of breaking the curfew or having a non-food shop open. A friend told us that a man was taking his sister-in-law to a clinic after curfew because she was in labor. He got beaten even though it was clear she was in labor.
It’s possible it’s hearsay, but the radio is reporting many cases of aggression by the authorities.
In talking to a CA friend in regards to the lack of income to buy daily needs and means of transport plus the aggression of the authorities for so many he said, “that we are all going to die before the virus has a chance to kill us”.
Please pray for this place. We know the Father cares for the poor. Pray for the Father to intervene and for us to be sensitive to how we can be His good here. Pray for the country’s leadership to have wisdom and compassion for their people.
There are now 40 reported cases here, though suspicions that there are more as testing is not widely available. Pray for the containment of this virus.
Pray for our global staff members in Central Africa and for their communities. All of these changes can be especially frightening, as these people find themselves at the mercy of the authorities.
We can rest, however, in knowing that our lives are ultimately at the mercy of the highest power, our God, “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3 ESV)
His power is greater than the virus and earthly governments, and nothing can separate us from Him. (Romans 8:38-39)