Miriam Watsemba | How To Survive a Pandemic
Uganda Press Photo Award
Before COVID swept the world in 2020, Timothy Tulibatono, 29, was teaching in a school in Eastern Uganda. The Uganda government pursued a policy of mandatory lockdowns, including the longest period of mandatory school closure in the world, and teachers were left both unemployed and abandoned. ‘Every time the President addressed the nation, the opening of schools was postponed. After four months of waiting, I had to find an alternative.’ Unable to make a living from teaching, Timothy turned to construction and joined a site in Mbale town where, in an ironic twist, he now earns more to build classrooms than he was paid to teach in them. But in his heart, he’s still a teacher, and on Sunday afternoons he talks to girls in his village after the Church service. ‘My hope is that talking to them regularly will encourage them to be patient and look forward to finishing school first before marriage.’ He remains unshaken by the strange twists and turns of life. ‘A teacher can be anything, unlike other professions. My English teacher told me that during school and I kept in my heart as a student’, Timothy boasts, saying he knew he could do anything he sets his mind to as long as he believes in himself.