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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Aug-Sept WEP Report: Holiday betrayal whilst we welcome the Flixton Team!

Here are the highlights from August and September's monthly reports!

The White Eagle staff met together to develop a new admissions policy for the project, in line with the Government of Uganda’s National Orphan Policy. We hope to be able to support more vulnerable children next year. The staff also worked on a disciplinary policy for the project, and once Emily was back from maternity leave met with a number of teachers from schools attended by the White Eagles to talk to them about appropriate disciplinary techniques – although illegal, caning is still very common in schools.

A local architect began work to draw up plans for developing the whole Nyendo site into a Church and Children’s Centre. We are hoping to extend the buildings so that there is more comfortable accommodation, and so that those girls who we need to give residential care for can also move into their own accommodation on the site. The plans are very exciting, but in the meantime there is also work to be done to maintain the existing boys home as rats have begun to nest in the ceiling of the bedrooms, and the office is nearly fallen down!

The elections scheduled for February 2011 meant that the holiday we anticipated to have in August was shortened to 2 weeks, which meant that whilst our friends from Flixton Fellowship Church were here a lot of the White Eagles had to return to school. Nonetheless it was a great trip - Sarah, the girls' home aunty, and Lizzy who has been staying at the girls' home for a few months on her pre-university gap year are also from Flixton, so there was a great reunion at the airport! The team spent time on the Prayer Mountain, took part in the hospital ministry, visited Nazareth Children's home, led the evening fellowship sessions and even helped to plant some crops on the farm. And of course they joined the White Eagles on a trip to Lake Nabugabo for sunshine and swimming – with the added excitement of rescuing 3 people from another group who had got out of their depth in the Lake!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Our maddest cycle challenge ever to raise £21k!

This is going to be our biggest challenge ever... after the exploits of Manchester to Blackpool in 2008, the Great North 'Try'Athalon in 2009 we've set our sights higher... a non-stop team endurance ride from Manchester to London! 185 miles of batty-punishing, thigh-knackering, madness which will see us riding in pairs from Manchester's Albert Square to London's Big Ben in one go!

The madcap scheme was inspired by Jon Room, who liked the look of the London to Paris 24 hr endurance ride. Jon has already run a Marathon, cycled from Manchester to Liverpool and back and swam 2 miles in aid of River of Life, and was clearly wanting more of a challenge... He nearly bailed when working out the route he thought we'd be going most of the way on the monster-road, the A5, but has regained his enthusiasm with the revised route which will takes us from Manchester, over the Peaks to Derby, down through Nottingham and Milton Keynes to end up under Big Ben. Hopefully.

Jon has been a tower of strength in our challenges over the years - you can check out his motivational talk 60 miles into last year's bike-ride here.

So this year, we really are going one better. We'll be riding 185 miles non-stop in pairs - 3 hours on, 3 hours off the bike - all the way to London. We have some awesome team members - some familiar faces from previous years, and some new ones: Ming the Merciless,  joining us in his jesters outfit; Mark "I'm not waiting for the rest of yous" Cartmell, Dan the Man (who can forget his yellow leotard of the Blackpool Ride?) the legendary Tim 'Rabu' Crow and the unforgettable Andy "I'm ready to throw my bike into a ditch and catch a taxi" Rous. New to this cycle challenge we also have Will, James, Richard and Leigh - all of whom i'm sure will provide unforgettable memories!

And why are we doing this? For the poor and needy, and the Orphans and Street Children of Masaka, Uganda! The 50 orphans and vulnerable children that we're helping 'fly high' and reach heights they never in their wildest dream thought possible all need extra funds. But there's thousands more children that need help, so we've set ourselves the fantastic challenge of raising £21,000 in 21 days to help establish the next phase of the White Eagle Project and rescue more children from a future of despair in Masaka! The money we raise will also go towards running River of Life's other ministries - wherever the need is most.

You can be part of something amazing, and save a child from neglect and poverty. Please give generously on our JustGiving page - click here!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The latest news from Sarah @ the Girl's Home

Helloooooo everyone!!!! I hope that you are all well!!!! I'm sorry that I haven't written a newsletter for AGES!!! I've been quite busy! Anyway, here's my news.....

I've had a really great couple of months! It started with going on safari 2 months ago with Anna and Liz (the 2 gap year girls who've been living at the girls' home), which was soooooooooooooooo much fun!!!! We rode on top of the Project van as we drove around the safari park, and then had a boat trip on the lake, and I got completely over-excited at seeing monkeys, baboons, zebras, hippos, crocodiles, etc. close up!!! We had SUCH a fun day!!!!!!!

Shortly after that, Anna left us (sob!), to go and prepare for starting university.

I had my week's holiday during the first week in August, and I spent it in Entebbe and Kampala with a group of Christian and Messianic Jewish dancers who I used to dance with in England. They were ministering at a church in Kampala, and asked me to join them, which I was very happy to do. I had a FAB week - we really saw God move during the sessions we did at the church, through the teaching, dancing, praying, etc., and I felt completely spoiled the whole week - we were staying in a lovely house on the edge of Lake Victoria (it was really beautiful!), we had amazing food (we even got taken out for a Chinese one day - my favourite!), we got to visit the source of the Nile (which was beautiful), we got treated by everyone we met, we had the privilege of visiting and meeting some amazing places and people, and I had a brilliant and very inspiring time just hanging out with everyone - it was just generally fab!!! (I'm running out of words to describe how amazing it was!)

The kids broke up for their school holidays as soon as I got back, so I was then busy running the holiday programme with them for a couple of weeks, which I reeeeally enjoyed, as we had a lot of fun and the kids were very enthusiastic (although, as usual, it was tiring!)!!!

Then, a couple of weeks ago, 9 people from my church in Flixton came to visit Masaka (Yeahhhhh!!!!!!!) - 5 of my really good friends, and 4 of the girls from the teenagers group I used to help with. I almost burst with excitement seeing them all, and I had the most brilliant week with them!!! I just loved spending time with them, laughing, joking, talking, praying, etc, and it was great for them to all come to the church, the White Eagles Project, and some of the other ministries, and get involved with all the stuff that I'm involved with! And they came equipped with chocolate and cheese!!!! (Yeahhhhh!!!!) It was really wonderful (- having them here, that is, not just the chocolate and cheese, although that was really wonderful too!)!!!

We also took the kids to Lake Nabugabu, (- funded by some people from my old dance school, who had raised a whole load of money so we could treat the kids to a day out -- THANK YOU SOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!), where we spent the day swimming, eating, chilling, playing, chatting, etc. with the kids. In short, it was an amazing week!!!

Then, Liz (the other gap year student who'd been staying in the girls' home) and Kate (a girl who came here for just a month) left (sob!), as did most of the Flixton crew.... But 2 of my really good friends, Sarah and Anna, stayed on for another week, and we had a great week doing some stuff with the kids and staff, going out for meals, etc. It was reeeeeeeeally wonderful to spend quality time with them!!!!

Now they've all left, but we have 3 American visitors who are here for a week! Phew!

- So, life has been busy, but lots and lots of fun, with lots of visitors who have been a HUGE blessing to me, and also to the White Eagles kids and staff!!!!

Life should settle down a bit now, as we don't have any more visitors planned, and the kids are all back at school this week, so we'll all get back into our term-time routines!