Gambians Grappling with Life amid COVID-19


By Momodou Jarju & Makutu Manneh

Amid the Coronavirus pandemic causing havoc to the entire world, scores of Gambians are also grappling with the hardship the deadly disease brought to humankind.

Speaking to Foroyaa recently, Gambians have expressed the hard conditions they are living with and hope for the immediate end of the deadly virus known as COVID-19 to unburden the tough situation they are faced with.

Amie Sarr and Awa Gaye are tenants who share similar hardship amid the global pandemic.

Mrs. Gaye, who is renting in Brufut, Western Region, said the difficulty she and her family is facing is compounded by Covid-19. Gaye said she is occupying two bedrooms and a parlour.

Mrs. Gaye said she is a maid and since the advent of the COVID-19, her employer had asked her to stay home until further notice.

She said she is a single mother taking care of her two sons, but lately it has been hard on them.

“Now I sell vegetables at the market in order to make ends meet,”

Amie Sarr, also a tenant in Brufut, said life has become very difficult for her family too.

Her husband, a cobbler pays rent every month and feeds the family on a daily basis. She is a gardener.

“We are suffering a lot, waking up every day thinking of what to give our family,” Sarr said.

Yusupha Ngum, a taxi driver, said they are facing many difficulties, ranging from not getting enough passengers to low earning among others.

Mr. Ngum, who has been a driver for over a decade, said they hardly get commuters due to the virus because people are afraid.

He said it is difficult for them, who usually go on trips to have even one per day.

“Now you can sit for a day, only one person will call you for a trip (town-trip). Sometimes you will not receive any call,” he said.

Ngum further said the taxi he drives is not his and it now takes him two to three days before he has D500 to hand over to the owner. He also rents and this has also compounded his situation, thus, he appeals for government to further reduce the prices of fuel.

Lamin B. Barra is an actor with a team of talented youth called the Young Stars Movie Production.

Barra said the deadly Coronavirus has been impeding their career progression and financial opportunities for the past months.

He said since last month, they have stopped all their projects and rehearsals due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“All the doors we used to knock for financial aid are closed. People that normally help us are no longer helping us because this thing (Covid-19) affects everybody,” he said.

An electrician cum bricklayer in his late twenties who pleaded for anonymity said life has not been the same for the past two months.

His father passed away when he was going to school leaving him and his elder brother to shoulder the daily survival of their family of eight.

The advent of the deadly Coronavirus has compounded their situation, according to him. He said people have money, but they are afraid of spending it during this difficult period.

“Just yesterday I had a contract to wire a compound but the owner of the compound said what I charged was expensive. The owner told me he has the money but if he spent the money, it will disturb him,” he explained.

He said the main constraint they are facing is feeding, while adding that nobody prays for the virus to last for two months or more. Nonetheless, he said regarding hand-washing, people are adhering to the measures but warned if people don’t have what to eat, they might go out and find something to eat.