Baking one step at a time. How COVID-19 has affected me.
It is with the deepest gratitude and utmost honesty that I thank the Almighty God for enriching your and your loved ones generously with the gift of health and sustenance during this exaggerated pandemic period. It goes without saying this has been test on each individual in all ways; financially, emotionally, physically and also intellectually. A myriad of unforeseen challenges & opportunities have sprouted during this “New Normal” despite the social ineptness that came as a result of the isolation precautions.
Here are some of the merits from a few of the bakers we were glad to talk to. Necessity! Let me try and paint the picture for you. There were lots of functions like weddings, birthday parties and family gatherings perhaps you could say that was because there was some spare time on multiple hardworking Ugandans who got a break from the hustle and bustle of the endless search for bread. According to Paul Kyomukama of Cake and Cakey, there were more celebrations; more clients to satisfy.
Adaptation! A lot of the novice bakers some fresh from school also got to improvise with WhatsApp advertising and offering their skills to their nearby communities. Rosemary, a 23-year-old student of Catering from YMCA has decided to expand her menu to other confectionaries like samosas, daddies and small cookies. In the beginning, it was hectic to always bake only when she received an order especially because they would come once in a while. However, she found a clever solution to that dilemma. Rosemary decided to talk to a few of the neighboring community shops and even though they wouldn’t necessarily buy the small cakes and cookies and daddies, at least she would have an interaction with her audience. Her products would always be available at the shopkeeper’s desk and eventually it picked up.
The Setbacks that came with the novel Opportunistic Infection
Transport! With the initial lockdown we got a glimpse of just how difficult it is to walk or jog to town. Sure it was easy before to enjoy talking about how fast it was for the suburban residents to commute daily but that all changed when public transport was out of the picture. For some of the bakers who aren’t car owners, boda bodas became the proverbial delivery option. With the heavy movement restrictions (public transport closed) imposed in July during the second lockdown, deliveries were quite tricky. Paul
Kyomukama(Cake and Cakey) remembers an occasion where his clients sent him a vehicle that picked up the cake and catering team to the destination.
Suppliers! Some materials got so rare in the market like Chroma. You could move all through Kampala and the answer would be the same everywhere. It would have to be an improvising moment you had to pull off to satisfy your client. The border closing as a necessary precaution to protect our livelihoods made it cumbersome for some suppliers to stock up all the exotic materials they usually would have. However, that has changed currently! The baking industry in Uganda has been a strong growing force that is making it’s mark. Payments! The installment culture isn’t a new practice in the Ugandan society. Sometimes it could take months and regrettably years for the full amount to be finally delivered. The effects of the financial ineptness that arrived with the lockdown aren’t just specific to bakers, they are in every business sector. I am glad there are no strong complaints from some of the bakers we have had the pleasure to talk to.
There’s always a silver lining.
In summary, the New Normal has sparked a lot of polarizing debates. It has given us a chance to adapt to some of nature’s harshest fits and starts. I personally believe the potential of the Ugandan Baking Industry has barely been scratched. Schools still remain closed as a precaution and perhaps there is an advantage with the energetic and untapped bakers who are out there starting up their bakery businesses from scratch and some getting work experience from established and experienced bakers. It’s mentally empowering what the baking industry is doing for a country that has been blessed with an enormous youth population and plagued by a pervasive unemployment. There’s lots of work to do obviously, lots of different avenues to open up and lots of knowledge to be imbibed from different places. We value and support you in your journey here at Uganda Trimmings Limited.