Some people will claim that I am alarming Ugandans. Non, this is not my intention. My family in Canada does this every winter because the snow storms or ice storms could cut off a lot.
The situation in Uganda is volatile. We all pray for the best outcome.
I saw the fighting during Idi Amin, Obote II and Okello. When I hear of Defiance now, I completely understand it but do terribly fear for Uganda.
You will need the following stocked up for at least 3 weeks supply.
1) If you take medication or your kids do, stock up for it.
2) Rice, posho, beans and cooking oil.
3) Pineapples, oranges, lemons, onions, garlic, ginger, sugar, salt, curry and tomatoes. Tomatoes spoil but you can cook with the other ones without tomatoes.
4) Soap and toilet paper.
5) Bottled water (as much as you can afford). If power goes off and water vanishes, you need a supply of your own. You can ask people in Montreal when they had an ice storm for 3 weeks that killed many.
6) If you use gas for cooking, refill the tank.
7) If you have a generator, buy the diesel. You can ask people in Toronto when they fell off the grid and there was no power.
8) Charge your phone fully every night. If you can afford those battery packs of sh. 750,000, buy one and ensure it is full.
9) Fresh foods like matooke are not easy to keep for weeks. Consider cassava, yams, irish potatoes and sweet potatoes. You can keep them in a cool area in the house so that they do not spoil. You can also dig a hole behind your house and bury them and keep them in the dirt.
10) Fresh vegetables (sukuma, nakati, dodo, etc..) can be kept in a basket but will need to be watered daily to keep them fresh. If they go bad, you still have the dried beans.
11) Buy charcoal. OR you think that you will not need it. But you will.
12) Buy the parafin. This will come in handy when the electricity goes off. UMEME has no obligation to keep the power on for your family.
13) Powdered milk. The kids will need milk and if power goes off, this comes in handy.
14) Those who drive need to buy petrol in jerrycans. It must be kept very far away from any flammable objects. No one should go near it with a match or fire of any type. One of my uncles got burned by this. No tadoba near anything flammable be it paraffin or petrol.
15) Pick up some books for your kids to read if they get bored. Or board games. It is great for them. Do not throw away any old newspapers. You might need them yourself in case you cannot go anywhere or you need them to light up the fire.
16) Stay safe and take care of your neighbours. “This too shall pass”.
Martha Leah Nangalama
The writer has survived many winters in Canada and follows the Emergency Preparedness Guidelines issued by the government of Canada every year. I also lived through Hurricane Katrina.