As millions of pilgrims from within and across the world flocked the Martyrs shrine at Namugongo, some on foot, and others grabbing the easiest means possible to get there just weeks before the big day, excitement kept on building in the atmosphere.
Over the past years, pilgrims would spend almost a week before they travelled back to their homes. Some still enjoying the beautiful view of the area, others making a tour around the area, while others lacking transport to get them back home. Security was heightened and traffic disrupted.
The devastating consequences of Covid-19 on the yearly celebrations of the feast of the Uganda Martyrs, also known as the “Solemnity” by the Catholic Church never left anything the same for now two years in a row. ” We may be scattered but are not in disarray” , say Vatican City.
The notable absence of the Archbishop of Kampala, Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, who made two months on 2nd June ever since he died, was felt by the pilgrims during the celebrations.
On the other hand, the businesses that would boom on that day were not given chance to prevail as of June 3 since few numbers of around 200 guests had been invited.
Businessmen would look forward to that day because millions of profits were targeted. Several items such as clothes, shoes, food, groceries, to mention, displayed.
As of today, business at Namugongo is going on as usual like nothing happened at all in the area. The Martyrs Shrine gardens empty and highly guarded from the trespassers and any possibilities of second wave of COVID-19 infections.
he man, who only identified himself as Charles, said previously, he would make a lot of money during the celebrations.
“This year is terrible. This place is empty like last year. By this time, this place would already be full with pilgrims, but now we are counting losses,” he says
“I used to make about Shs500,000 in profits per day selling these things, but the situation has now changed,” he adds.
Opposite the Catholic shrine, the place that usually beams with people is dull.