Sunday, 8 November 2009

Sharing the pain & the joy

After moving to Lungujja last Saturday we havnt been able to get to the internet but dont imagine that means we have been sitting here enjoying the weather ! Following the loss of Teacher Gorretti we encouraged all the children and teachers to write about their happy memories of her and to draw a picture. The response was overwhelming - a encourmous pile of pictures, comments and thoughts, it was quite inspiring and very moving to see that this delightful young enthusiatic teacher had left such an impression on her young pupils. We spent an evening with the teachers, encouraging them to read what the children had written and to enjoy the things they had said. It started off as a slightly sombre time as they knew they were thinking about their departed collegue but ended up as an evening of fun and laughter as they shared the childrens stories and added many of their own. It was a real case of "tears at night but joy coming in the morning". It was a privilige to share with them and also to be allowed to share in their heartache and sadness about other losses they had suffered. We ended the evening thinking about the passage from Romans 8 where it says "in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." amazing to realise that He knows everything that we are going through, the pain of loss, the despair, the turmoil of feelings and this was such a powerful reminder that in whatever circumstances we are and even in the face of death and the desparate sadness of the situation, nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God.....

Saturday, 31 October 2009


woo - whilst the computer is on I will do a quick update. . .

Sadly teacher Goretti died on Monday night. The burial was on Tuesday and 200 people from Lungujja travelled to the ceremony. We visited on Weds to give our condolances - so sad, everyone is mourning her loss. We plan to go to stay with them at the weekend and hopefully to help them to create a Memory Bench for her.

We have kept ourselves busy visiting both Nansana Royal Primary School and the Child Care Centre in Kakiri. At Kakiri we have funded some books and a stove. They have very few books until now but with a grant from The Kabanda Trust they have been able to stock a small library. I t was great to see the enormous stove they have installed - big enough to feed 825 children and a new kitchen around it - brilliant.
At NRPS we held a health workshop for the teachers and then took two classes - Gordon's model of a mosquito made out of an empty water bottle went down very well as an illustration. Next week we will hold a Health Seminar for the parents so that will be fun! We have ordered 100 mosquito nets to arrive on Monday which will be used in the boarding houses and for families.

PSteve is just arriving to collect us so will be back in a few days :)

Monday, 26 October 2009

Metaphoric weather

We have been having a difficult few days with a number of challenges that have left us feeling quite despondent. Sunday came. A grey morning which turned into the most almighty storm, with thunder and lightening through which we made our way to KPC a church held in a former cinema. It was as though the rain was a metaphor for how we felt as we arrived along with 2000 other people and joined the 3rd of 4 services held yesterday morning. After some VERY VERY LOUD praise & worship the speaker a pastor from London (rather ironic we thought)spent 45 mins expounding the first verse of Ps 46 - God is our refuge and strength an ever-present help in trouble. Dealing with frustration being the subject, twas brilliant,it was just what we needed and spoke right into our situation and as we left the building the sun shone brightly!
So there you go, there is always sunshine after the rain and the storms that trouble us although they are threatening and loud pass over.

Friday, 23 October 2009

In hot and sunny Uganda

If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power with us. As it is, there's not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we're not much to look at. We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized; we're not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side; we've been thrown down, but we haven't broken. (2 Cor 4 v 8-10 The Message)

It wonderful to be here again, the warmth after the cold spell at home and the everlasting sunshine really inspire! As I arrived at Rock of Joy in the early evening the 40 boarders were all outside singing Welcome Sue, welcome Mama Lizzie . . . it was lovely and so exciting to see them all.

Already the reminders of how fragile life is are obvious and the meaning of the words above 'I am not sure what to do, but I know that God knows' is already very real. On Tuesday evening Pastor Steve took me to visit one of our teachers, Goretti, who is in hospital, "it will cheer her up to see you" he said. Goretti, thin and wasted, is in a 6 bedded room, no bigger than our spare bed room at home.With people sleeping on the floor under the beds as well as in them, the air is stiffling and as we arrived she was fitting. She has remained unconscious ever since. I stood feeling absolutely helpless at the desperate situation, and all i could do was pray as her sister soothed her forehead with an old damp towel and her mother moaned in disbelief.
Please do join me in prayers for her - she was such a vibrant, enthusiastic young woman, an excellent teacher and the children love her.

In the less modern versions of the passage above Paul uses the word 'perplexed' which does describe the way i am feeling at the moment. But not in despair - there are signs of life and exciting things all around me so I invite you to journey here with me for the next couple of weeks. When I can I will try and keep you filled in on what is happening. Now I am going to meet with Pastor Steve to catch up on all the developments at Rock of Joy and later this evening Gordon will arrive.... hurrah!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

October 2009

And on my way to Uganda again. Have just spent a frustrating 30mins in Amsterdam airport trying to log onto this blog, finally have done it and my money is about to run out - hey, ho . . . keep watching!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

A Special Guest

A couple of days ago I met Esther, the wife of the Prime Minister of Uganda through a mutual friend here.  This morning she she accepted my invitation and came on a private visit to Rock of Joy Children's Centre - the children and staff were very excited to have such a special guest and as usual the children greeting her saying they were "Fine, smart and organised".  Esther was very impressed by all the developments at the school and the stories of the support and encouragement that we recieve from schools, individuals and churches in the UK.  Pastor Steve was of course thrilled to show her round and talk about all that is happening.  It was lovely to end the visit with Esther praying for the school and the work of The Kabanda Trust! 

Gordon has now safely arrived and we are busy with all  three schools. Yesterday we took delivery of 200 mosquito nets which are going to make an important difference to the boarding house and staff at all of the schools. Tomorrow we will start to distribute them and hold some health seminars for the teachers.  In Lungujja they will sell some of the nets at a very low price to the families of the children.  People are already coming to ask when they will be available.  The nets will make a big difference to the health of the children and their families.

Tim Smythe, a young friend from Cheltenham has also safely arrived by bicycle. He has cycled from Cairo to Nairobi to raise money for Darfur and then from Nairobi to here in Uganda to work at Rock of Joy for a month. He has become a local hero for his long bike ride as no-one here has heard of such a thing before! people keep coming to inspect the bike and to hear the stories of the journey.   Tim is now well stuck in teaching English to all and sundry, children and adults alike and seems to be having a great time.

This afternoon we will take supply of 30 clocks, one for each classroom so need to return to Lungujja for that :)
Time waits for no man  - or woman and they need to be paid for on delivery! 

Internet access is very restricted at the moment.  Please keep praying for the Health House - we would like the lady to move out by Sunday 29 March .... watch this space!

Saturday, 21 March 2009

New School visit

The computer access here this is very limited and very frustrating so I have given up.  Today have come to a hotel in kampala and using theirs.
I have had a busy week visiting the schools - at Nansana Royal Primary there is a new head teacher, Madam Sylvia, who some people may remember as the deputy.  We had a good time reviewing how things are going and already she is making some positive changes.  Their chickens are finally laying the number of eggs they should be and they are saving some money from selling eggs...... hurrah at last !
On Thursday I visited the Child Care Center at Kakiri which is a new school we are supporting.  Westwood First School in Leek, Staffordshire has linked with Kakiri.  The headteacher Abraham greeted me wearing a stunning hat which clearly from school photographs is a permenant fixture :) I had not been to the school before and was carrying gifts of photographs and letters from the staff and children at Westwood.  Abraham was very excited to recieve these and we then toured the school were he distributed the letters and photographs to the children and staff.  We visited all 14 classrooms where the children politely stood and greeted me with "you are welcome our visitor, feel at home"  they were then invited to tell me something about their school in English and so I learned that they have over 800 children, that their like their teachers, they enjoy learning English, they eat posho and beans for lunch.  They are very proud of their school despite the fact that  some of the classrooms have no windows, they sit 6 children to a bench to work and they have very few books. 
Next week I am going back to deliver 80 mosquito nets to them some of whihc were paid for by money raised at Westwood First School.  We are also going to provide them with a clock for each classroom and collect letters they are writing back. 
  My time on the computer has run out
love to all and thanks for your support. x