Untold Tales from Kuwait through the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Yr Since Mahboula and Jleeb had been placed on Full Lockdown

Kuwait Lockdown

Kuwaiti law enforcement officials maintain a checkpoint on the entrance to the city of Jeleeb Al-Shuyoukh, south of the capital, Kuwait, after the district was locked down.
Picture Credit score: AFP

Kuwait: Right this moment marks one yr since Kuwait imposed a three-month lockdown on Mahboula and Jleeb Al Shuyoukh in accordance with the federal government resolution, “as a way to look at and deal with the residents there in addition to to include the unfold of COVID-19 to different components of the nation, ”Kuwaiti state media KUNA reported.

Each neighborhoods, principally populated by migrant employees, have been utterly closed and nobody enters or leaves with out a legitimate allow issued by the federal government.

A number of residents shared their experiences of the three-month detention with en.v, a non-profit group working to advertise a extra inclusive and resilient society, as a part of the Neighborhood Tales: Kuwait Beneath Lockdown assortment.

The lockdown has severely affected individuals financially and psychologically, with most being unable to go to work or lead their regular lives. Principally, life has been placed on maintain.

This play, the third set of Untold Tales, focuses on the untold tales of group members who skilled the lockdown and highlights the struggles they endured.


When the lockdown was first introduced on April 9, the federal government stated it could final for 2 weeks.

At first, many residents stated that they had no points with the lockdown as they understood it was a well being disaster and was put in place to maintain individuals secure.


Margie, a Filipino beautician, recounted how, “for the primary month of confinement in Mahboula, I did not consider a detrimental, as a result of for me it is for security, for our security right here. That is it. It would solely be a month. Okay, no downside, we are able to survive. ”

Then, after the 2 weeks, the federal government introduced it could lengthen the lockdown till additional discover. The sense of uncertainty was felt by many in Mahboula and Jleeb as they didn’t understand how lengthy the lockdown would final, not to mention after they would be capable to return to work and resume their regular schedules. .

Ashwin, an Indian Mandoob dwelling in Jleeb, identified that through the lockdown, “we stayed in our room. We frolicked simply chatting with a few mates on the cell like that. Watch tv. However I used to be unhappy inside. Unhappy as a result of there isn’t a cash, I borrowed cash from others to eat. For this reason I used to be very unhappy.

Kuwaiti Police Hawally District

By June, the variety of instances had declined however the lockdown continued in Mahboula.
Picture Credit score: AFP

Though the variety of instances was excessive firstly, by June it had dropped drastically, however the lockdown continued. Between June 18 and July 2, no case was recorded in Mahboula.

Monetary struggles

Throughout Kuwait, individuals have witnessed payroll deductions or wage cuts as companies stay closed and employers attempt to minimize prices. Like many individuals round Kuwait, the individuals of Mahboula and Jleeb suffered a monetary disaster, a lot of them unable to pay lease or purchase fundamental requirements, or ship a refund to their houses. households.

Margie lives in an house with 4 different mates and by the third month of the lockout a couple of of them had been unable to pay the lease. The doorman due to this fact minimize their air con regardless of the excruciating warmth of summer season. For Margie, the entire state of affairs was aggravating: “Why did not they take into account this type of state of affairs? This pandemic, proper? Actually. They surprise, the place is the center of this porter?

Whereas some had been ruthless, Helen, an Ethiopian gross sales affiliate, defined how her landlord diminished the lease cost by 25 p.c after which by 50 p.c. But she was nonetheless in debt to him and struggled to seek out the cash to repay the mortgage as she stopped receiving a wage throughout the complete foreclosures, then solely acquired 25% when she was lastly in a position to return to the job.


Regardless of the obstacles, individuals like Margie and Helen realized that their state of affairs was higher than others as they had been nonetheless in a position to purchase meals, undergo confinement with their roommates (who turned like household ) and hold busy whereas staying indoors and secure.

The financial affect of the lockdown primarily affected blue collar employees and low-paid individuals who relied on their wages to pay lease and purchase meals. Those that had been most affected had been the individuals who labored each day or hourly, as they weren’t in a position to depart Mahboula or Jleeb.

Helen met a number of individuals in Mahboula who had been in extreme ache, a lot of whom didn’t even have the funds for to eat. She informed the story of a younger man who begged her 250 sons in order that he might purchase meals. As a result of language barrier, Helen didn’t perceive what he was saying till he put his palms to his mouth and stated “ruba dinar” (Arabic phrase for KD quarter).

“I see a younger man begging for a dinar ruba. What do you are feeling? If he is my brother? What I really feel? Like he was my son. Think about. In fact, it was very arduous. You recognize, once I bear in mind him, I cry, ”she stated.

Neighborhood assist

As a result of monetary burden, many relied on assist packages to supply them with prepared meals or containers of meals which often contained fundamental requirements. A number of worldwide organizations such because the Pink Cross had been distributing meals to these in want, along with native assist teams which rapidly grew in power resulting from elevated demand for meals assist.

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As a result of monetary burden created by the lockdown, many individuals have relied on assist packages to supply them with prepared meals or containers of meals containing fundamental requirements.
Picture Credit score: AFP

Ashwin defined how, regardless of the private hardships he endured (not receiving a wage for 4 months and getting a divorce), he helped distribute meals to individuals in want. He described that individuals would inform him that there are lots of people right here with out meals. “I name the group that gives meals and inform them that there are individuals right here who haven’t any meals,” he stated.

Castille, a Filipino nurse, though she didn’t dwell in Mahboula or Jleeb, was in a position to enter these areas along with her ministry ID card and assist distribute meals. He recalled how, particularly within the second and third month, individuals had been so hungry. He identified that at Jleeb, individuals know if a “new automotive is coming, they have a look at it. They comply with her as a result of they assume this automotive is new to the world. They are going to in all probability have meals. In order that they stand, as if ready for the, they will have [their] share.”

Along with serving to individuals achieve entry to meals, Ashwin volunteered on the Indian Embassy to assist repatriate these searching for to return residence.

Take away the barricades

When the barricades and barbed wire had been lastly eliminated, individuals lastly felt free. Margie felt like, “I am out of jail. I breathed effectively.


Whereas the residents of Mahboula and Jleeb had been delighted to have the ability to transfer freely round the remainder of Kuwait, most had been principally joyful to return to work. Helen recalled: “Everyone seems to be working to work. Making an attempt to be again. So now life is regular hopefully. It begins. It is good to begin. You recognize, it is busy.

The lockout could have ended on July 9, however the state of affairs remains to be tough as many nonetheless haven’t obtained full pay or are struggling to seek out work.

Ashwin stated through the lockdown he realized the significance of establishing a fund or financial savings account so that individuals do not starve, particularly migrants, as they often ship all of their cash residence to supply for the wants of their households. “There needs to be one thing on behalf of migrants. No matter little we get, a KD no matter, we should not simply ship it to our mom and father, ship it to our kids, ship it to our spouse. There isn’t any one to maintain us right here. You see? We have to take duty for our meals. “


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