Get Flash

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Geoff in Uganda - Socks and Pork, it's Christmas!

Hello again! I’m writing this on the 31st December 2011, I hope that this year has been one filled with love for you and your families. I pray that growth has happened through any hardships, and that you have been able to experience God in new and exciting ways. My 2011 has been filled with many different experiences but I will just focus on those of the last month in this letter!

A slightly different month this month - as stated in the last post the White Eagles are on holiday now so we are mainly with them in the day running the holiday program. Also the ministry has started a new sports ministry which goes by the name of SYNERGY SPORTS STRATAGY...I hope you hear a sound effect of thunder rumbling as you read that just like I do!

Also it has been slightly different as it has been Christmas (as I’m sure you were aware) It was a different Christmas in many ways, the church service lasted for three hours, which is the norm here, and I didn’t even get to show off a teddy to the church. However I did get some socks through the post off my mum aka Ros, and nothing says happy Christmas like a pair of socks! After going to hospital for some hospital ministry, some of us ended up at Tim and Sarah Crow’s where we had a lovely meal with BBQ’d pork, roast veg, gravy, stuffing and even some mince pies to finish us off. Like I said it was different but I truly enjoyed my Masaka Christmas.

We also as a Project had some pigs BBQ’d a few days before Christmas. Along with the pork there were sodas and chapattis, all were extremely tasty and everyone went home satisfied. I know some of the people from Culcheth Methodist Church contributed to the buying of the pigs, and I would just like to thank you deeply for that blessing and generosity, and that thanks also comes from all who enjoyed the meal.



Geoff is volunteering with River of Life for 4 months - to read all his blog posts, just click here


Friday, December 30, 2011

Out in the Community - White Eagles Monthly Report

Welcome to the December 2011 White Eagle Project Report from Emily, Director of Training at River of Life:

1st December: World AIDS Day
We spent November teaching about HIV/AIDS, and so on 1st December, some of our White Eagles came with me to bless some of the people in our community with HIV. Our Project blessed about 8 families, giving them sugar, bread, rice, etc., and our kids went and helped out in some of those families (helping to de-leg and de-wing grasshoppers), and those families were so blessed.

Mini Operation ARK (Acts of Random Kindness)
On 10th December, we did a mini Operation ARK, where we took all of our White Eagles (including our community White Eagles) to Mabeera, and did a few hours of sweeping and clearing to tidy up the area (which was covered in rubbish). Many local children came to help us, and some from the community expressed their thanks to us.

Youth Changers Youth Conference:
Many of our White Eagles attended the first Annual Youth Changers Conference from 12th-16th December. The theme was based on Colossians 1:28: “We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.” Many of our White Eagles were involved in organising the conference, and Sarah and myself preached there during the week.

Parents' Sensitisation Day:
On 17th December, we held our Parents' Sensitisation Day. We carried out workshops on: “Resilience and Thriving” and “Child Abuse and Child Protection”. The day was well attended by the parents/relatives of our residential and our community White Eagles.

Holiday Programme:
We invited our WEP Family kids to attend the Holiday Programme from 5th-10th December, which involved:
  • Life skills (We finished our series on HIV/AIDS with a look at stereotypes and prejudice, a question and answer session, and teaching on other sexually transmitted diseases.)
  • Fellowship led by staff (- We did an interactive prayer session with a focus on the Lord's prayer, and a teaching on bearing fruit in their lives.)
  • Games and sports (We have played netball, football, badminton and volleyball, as well as indoor games, in our games and sports sessions);
  • Group discussions;
  • Opinion forum - we asked the White Eagles to look at a photo, and think of a discussion topic. They decided on 'Why do the rich Western countries take away all the resources from African countries?' We also did a session on looking at things from others' points of view, and discussing co-operation in society, in terms of obeying the speed limit and paying taxes.
  • Music, Dance and Drama - we spent some time going through the nativity drama for the Christmas Day service
  • Letter writing to sponsors
  • Group Revision
  • Computer Training

Uganda Child Rights NGO Network
The Uganda Child Rights NGO Network (UCRNN) held a meeting for Children's Services organisations in Masaka. They want to establish a group to promote and enforce Child Rights and Child Protection Policies within Masaka, and want to work with local organisations. I shared about what is happening in Nyendo, and UCRNN hope to meet us again next year.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Geoff in Uganda - busier December!

December sees the beginning of the big school break and it's all systems go across the River of Life Ministries - so Geoff was even busier this month:

Hospital ministry – this ministry has been continuing throughout the holidays and I have had the chance to go a few times. As ever there were people there in desperate situations, but through my translator we were able to bless patients with bread and bananas, and also talk to them about Jesus and what he means for the world. A few people even took the opportunity to give their lives to God which was amazing. I pray that this relationship is a close and sustained one. We also went on Christmas day to the hospital to give out fruit juice and biscuits. This was a surprisingly joyful occasion as many seemed to really appreciate the gesture and be lifted by an act of love on such a day.

The White Eagle Holiday Program – games and sports, fellowship, life skills, aerobics, music dance and drama, group discussions, revision, dvd watching, these are all part and parcel of the holiday program which is intended to give the White Eagles oppourtunity to relax, have fun, and also learn. All has been just that, and the atmosphere has been good around the home. On occasion, I have thought, ‘is this really doing work that is needed or serving in the best way’ as to be honest, it is mostly relaxing and fun, but recently I thought about what the White Eagles would be doing if there were no project or holiday program. Most of them were street children before they came to the project. So just to be able to have fun in a constructive and positive manner is really worthwhile and we hope that it contributes to them becoming good citizens when they leave, faithful husbands and wives, loving parents, and willing servants of God.

Synergy Sports Strategy – the new sports ministry of River of Life has started very well indeed. Within a couple of football training sessions the numbers were up to around 35/40 which was incredible as we didn’t even advertise much. As it is the holidays we have had four training sessions a week, focusing on technique, fitness, game awareness and a lot of other things which I don’t have when it comes to playing football! Along with this though we also focus on fostering a good team environment, and promoting good values both on and off the pitch. At the end of every session we also have a short talk which focuses on an aspect of football ie team work, which then links into life ie community, which then links into church and the gospel ie fellowship and the body of Christ. The boys/young men that have been coming to the sessions have started to respond to this a bit more which is encouraging and hopefully this input will have a positive impact upon their lives in some way. On Saturdays we also run youth club straight after training and have invited the boys to come along to that as well, a number have responded to this and enjoyed the experience, even coming to the Sunday service the next day, which is very encouraging as the main vision of Synergy - to see young people in Masaka/Neyendo come to Jesus.

Youth club – this has been going well and we have continued on the theme of salt and light. This has been a really good focus for the Youth as it has a lot of application opportunities. We also have had a couple of sessions where we have either played games or relaxed with a dvd; this has been good in introducing some of the boys from Synergy Sports to the group. A few weeks ago I did a session on light and how it casts out darkness. I tried to make the point that darkness is a deprivation of light as where there is light there can be no darkness, and to encourage the youth that if we are all lights for Christ in his world then even the corners that attempt to block the light will be illuminated from many angles, thus casting out darkness... Amen!

The Nyendo Nativity that I wrote and the White Eagles performed seemingly went down well on Christmas day. Instead of shepherds we had grasshopper sellers, instead of Magi we had Pastors, and instead of a donkey (even though there isn’t one in the Christmas story) we had a boda boda motor cycle. The performers rose to the challenge well and all enjoyed watching and performing. Hopefully also it provoked some thought with lines such as... ‘As both the grasshopper sellers and pastors left, they all wondered about the infant king, wondered what his kingdom would look like, and what would happen throughout his lifetime.’

Geoff is volunteering with River of Life for 4 months - to read all his blog posts, just click here

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Preparing for Resettlement - the White Eagles Monthly Report

Welcome to the November 2011 White Eagle Project Report. Our key areas of work are Resettlement, Quality Education, Intensive Mentoring, and promoting a Safe and Secure Home - here's how we are getting on! Emily, Director of Training at River of Life, writes:

Resettlement
We've been preparing some of the White Eagles that are over 18 to move out of the home, and so November has been a month of intensive mentoring especially. Through counselling some young men have been able to appreciate the new plan. One of them has said “we will not actually develop when we keep in the home and everything is provided to us!”. The biggest worry for most of them however is feeding and accommodation, because they are used to eating good quality food, and living in spacious rooms which they are sure cannot be found with their relatives. The parents/relatives will be coming for a parenting meeting next month, and we will be doing more training on Parenting and Preparation for Resettlement.

Quality Education
The P6 children who have been in boarding school came back home near the end of the month, and have settled back into the homes well. Our P7 White Eagles completed their primary leaving exams this month, and our S4 White Eagles completed their O-level exams. The S6 candidates began their A-level exams, which are due to finish at the beginning of December.

Mentoring
God has continued to bless the White Eagles through the team that is running the evening programme. In the Fellowship sessions, we have done:
  • Times of prayer, with different prayer stations around the room.
  • Small group discussions on Mark 11: 12-25: The Withering of the Fig Tree and Exodus 3:1-4:17: The Call of Moses.
  • Life Skills Sessions - we have continued with our series on HIV/AIDS, studying: How does HIV and AIDS affect the body? Transmission of HIV, Myths around HIV.
  • Music, Dance and Drama: In MDD, we have done sessions on Mime and mime games, dance moves to express our personalities; mirroring and mirroring games; discussion of different styles and ideas for acting out a nativity drama.
  • Games and Sports Sessions

WEP Family Sessions:
This month we started our Sunday afternoon sessions for the children from our WEP Families. Each session has involved a Life Skills teaching (where we have repeated the HIV/AIDS teachings given to our residential White Eagles in the evening programme), a time of games and sports/MDD, time spent meeting with individuals to mentor them, and dinner.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Geoff in Uganda - Busy November!


Geoff's been busy in November! Check out his updates below:


Schools ministry – I have been developing many sessions for the different schools that I have been visiting each week.  Some have been short sermons that have been given in the high schools, I have never preached really before so that was an interesting experience.  They went well, I preached on the Sheep and the Goats, The Withered Fig Tree, and finally on the disciple Peter and what we can learn from him. However I wouldn’t worry Rev. Hare, I won’t be looking to take over your post any time soon! This ministry however has now come to an end until February as the schools are now on the long holidays.

Hospital ministry has been continuing; it is still not what I call a ‘good’ experience, but it is certainly worthwhile.  Having to have full faith in God’s healing power is good to do, and to see the situations of some of the people there is very humbling, and also fills you with praise for the numerous blessings you have in your own life.  This week there was a child a prayed for who had cancer. To see a child there in bed overcome with cancer rather than running around playing football was hard to see. I hope and pray that God’s healing hand works over him over this next week as I am sure he could lead a happy and healthy life if cured.

Ball-line football Academy – as in October this month I have been going down to the local football pitch to watch games and train with the boys.  There were some very good results this month and the boys seem to be developing as footballers.  However the link between the River of Life Church and Ball-Line football academy has had to officially end this month. Due to certain circumstances, the two organisations have had to part ways. River of Life is hoping to start a new ministry based around sport, so my allocated time will therefore be dedicated to that.  It has been a hard month in that respect for all involved with the organisations, but hopefully the Lord will use this as an opportunity for new growth for both Ball-Line Academy and the sports ministry of River of Life.

White Eagle Project – as stated before the boys and girls are now beginning their long holidays, which are much deserved after a long and hard working term at their various schools.  They and I have enjoyed spending evenings together, and taking part in different sessions such as fellowship, life skills and music, dance and drama. I have often been employed in the role of music dance and drama leader, and have a chance to use my experience form Spotlight performing arts to good effect.  All seem to enjoy just having a fun session and expressing themselves in different ways. I am currently writing a script for the Christmas day service which will have the Nativity story taking place in the modern day in Neyendo, Massaka, so hopefully all of the White Eagles will enjoy bringing that play together.  Also this month we have started to clear a small playing pitch which is just below the church.  All of the White Eagles, big and small got pitched in and moved rocks, sand, and mud, and with a little more work we will have a lovely area to run sports and games sessions during the holidays.

Some of the older White Eagle Lads

Geoff is volunteering with River of Life for 4 months - to read all his blog posts, just click here

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Geoff in Uganda - Breaking up a Bird-fight...

Hi again! Wow this month seems to have gone very quickly which is a good and a bad thing. November has been busy as we have continued to work in schools and in hospital, and the White Eagle evening programme has been in full flow.

Firstly though; some fun parts of the month. Last week was the beginning of grasshopper season. That was really fun, although it seems to be mostly over now. The way which the locals catch the grasshoppers is interesting; there are lots of very bright lights scattered around Masaka town, and below the lights are big barrels with metal sheets coming out of them. The grasshoppers seem to be blinded or something by either smoke that is produced or the light, and they fall onto the sheet and then into the barrel. Then they are sold the next morning. One night in particular there seemed to be so many that i couldn’t see the night sky behind the swarm of grasshoppers. As well as this they seem to make good toys for the children who enjoy catching them, and pulling off their hind legs so that they cannot push themselves into the air and begin to fly. But most importantly they are rather tasty. They are cooked slowly with some onions and whatever you like, and make a lovely snack.

We also went to on a day safari this month. We set off at 6am in the morning in a 4x4 and set off for Lake Mburo. The roads were a mix of good and bad, but we didn’t much care as we were all excited to see what animals we would find there (plus we had chapattis to occupy us). We had not even reached the official gates of the park when we saw a few dozen zebras. They were truly amazing, so striking with their different stripes. As well as seeing the zebras we also wart-hogs, cranes, buffalo, monkeys, and spring-box (or something similar). They were all seen from the lake but we also took a boat ride around parts of Lake Mburo. On the lake we saw plenty of hippos, which I really enjoyed as they are one of my favourite animals. The size of just their heads fills you with awe. We also saw some baby crocodiles, as lake Mburo is connected to the river Nile, I think they were Nile crocodiles. Finally we also witnessed a 20 minute long fight between some African Fin-Foot birds...it was pretty interesting, but what was more interesting was watching the other boat of obviously dedicated bird watchers, be filled with both amazement but also dread as they feared that a rarely sighted bird might be killed by the other....thankfully we managed to break the birds up, told them to keep their beaks closed, shake wings, and paddle off in opposite directs. It was a truly amazing day, which I didn’t expect to happen when I arrived in Uganda so I feel very privileged to have been able to do that.


Also this month was my birthday; I had a good day at work and got to share some sodas and chocolate with the White Eagles. Then a few of us went for a meal in a local restaurant, in all it was very special to celebrate my birthday here in Masaka.


Geoff is volunteering with River of Life for 4 months - to read all his blog posts, just click here

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Geoff in Uganda - my timetable as a volunteer!

After my first week's induction, this is the plan...

Schools Ministry – I am scheduled to visit four different schools during the week as part of this ministry. Two of these are primary and the other two are secondary. I won’t be teaching there as such but I will be leading sessions based on Christianity. In the primary schools, the children worship, pray, learn about passages from the Bible, and recite parts of scripture. I am looking forward to developing sessions for these schools. In the secondary schools they also worship but then there is more of a sermon given, after one of the first sessions I attended four people gave their lives to Christ, which was amazing. Last week I gave my first talk at a secondary school, which was on the parable of the sheep and the goats, I challenged the pupils to be sheep this week! So hopefully they will have some good examples of that when i go next week.

Ball-Line Football Academy – ran by Walu and Tim Crow, Ball-Line is a thriving academy that meets in the Nyendo district of Masaka. The ages range from 8-18 and there are some very promising players there. Last season one of the older teams entered in Division 2 of a National League and gained promotion into Division 1. As well as honing football skills the academy has a passion for seeing young men develop into responsible members of society, by training them in team work and taking part in social action weeks in May. My first session was a eye opener, I will definitely have to work on my touch on the uneven pitches, and my fitness will need improving as the heat can be quite draining. The older boys had a cup match last week, and were 2-0 down at one point, but with some inspired play and great team spirit, they managed to end up winning 3-2!

Hospital Ministry – this takes place on a Monday afternoon from 3pm to 5pm. A group from the church go to Masaka hospital armed with bananas, bread, and the power of prayer. We split up and enter different wards where we give out the bananas and bread to the patients, then talk to them about their illness or disease, and finally with their permission pray for them. This is a really humbling experience as there are people there who seem to have little hope or chance of making a recovery, and are really grateful to receive a simple banana or slice of bread. It leaves you feeling pretty helpless, and all that you can do is turn to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to hold them in His hand. One week six people gave their lives to God which was amazing. As a culture people seem to generally be more open to God here than back in the UK, and through its ministries the River of Life helps a good number start their walk with Christ. Last week we met a man who was handcuffed to the bed as he was a prisoner, he admitted to us that he was a thief and a murderer, but he also said that he wanted to give his life to God, so we prayed with him as he died. Please pray that he accepts the Lord’s grace and that it can work in his life and he can make a positive impact within society.

White Eagle Project – this is certainly one of the most amazing parts of the River of Life Church, for many years now the church has been housing and caring for boys and girls from Masaka, most of whom were mostly street children before they came to the project. The charity puts the White Eagles through school, gives them a home, and encourages them to become active members of the church. I have really enjoyed getting to know all the boys and girls, they all wonderful, and have got involved with the sessions I have led with great enthusiasm. I have tea with I’m down at the project in the evenings, and it is always real Ugandan food cooked by the amazing Moma Kat who helps look after all the boys and girls down there. I am well used to tasting matooke (a savoury banana plant) and beans now, as well as cow peas and also posho (flour and water mixed into a lump)

Digging – the grounds at the visitors house are fertile and can grow many different foods. There is Matooke, beans, cabbages, maize, jack fruit, and there is a section for produce found more in the UK such as carrots and onions. I have a slot now in my timetable to dig, and work the land; getting to use the local tools has been fun, even though my hands are rather blistered now!

Geoff is volunteering with River of Life for 4 months - to read all his blog posts, just click here

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Geoff in Uganda - Arrival!

Hello from Masaka! The flight out to Entebbe Airport went very smoothly, so smoothly that we even arrived 30 minutes early which was a great. The 3 hour journey then down to Masaka was not quite as smooth, as even though the country has done really well with many of the main roads, when we got into town there were a few canyons to navigate around.

It has been great to begin to settle into the Visitors House, it is a lovely place to be, and I am living with lots of wonderful people. There is Rob and Katherine and their daughter Elena. Rob is one of the leaders of the charity, and he and his family have moved out here long term earlier this year (although they are now on a two month visit to the UK). Then there is Beth, a gap year student who has been working with the church for over a month now. Marije also lives at the guest house; she is a Dutch student who is carrying out research into malnutrition in rural Uganda. Gerald, who along with studying social work at university is the grounds keeper of the Visitors House, he grows lots of lovely fruit and vegetables which we are able to enjoy, as well as lots going down to the White Eagles Project that the church runs. Finally there is Julius, he is from Masaka and has had a big part to play in the River of Life Church over the years, however by the time you read this he will most likely be in Bristol, England, as he has received his Visa and is starting studies at a Bible college there. Please pray for him as he enters a new culture and a new climate (especially a English winter) .

The first week, was in a way a taster week where I got to sample many different aspects of the Church’s life including, playgroup, schools ministry, Ball Line Football Academy, Hospital Ministry, as well as attending my first Sunday service at the River of Life Church. I now have an itinerary that will remain on the whole constant. Most of my time is now split between the Schools Ministry, Ball-Line Football Academy, Hospital Ministry, Church Youth Group, White Eagle evening sessions, Sunday school training/leading, and digging! I'll tell you a little more about each of these in future posts...

Julius' last dinner before flying to the UK

Geoff is volunteering with River of Life for 4 months - to read all his blog posts, just click here

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The New Girls Home! A sneak preview...

There are over 1,748 orphaned girls, just in our part of Masaka (according to the latest figures available, which, from 2002, are pretty out of date). For 5 years we've been able to give a small number a home, but at the end of September the girls had to move out of the house we were renting.

Over the last few months we've been building a new Girls apartment, to give short-term accommodation whilst we work on resettling them with their families. The aim, of course, was to finish just before the rent ran out, but we missed the deadline by a week or so!

Anyway, it's very nearly complete, and we thought you might like to see some sneak preview pictures before the official opening...



Saturday, October 1, 2011

We’re coming of age - help us celebrate!

1st January 2012 marks River of Life Church’s 18th Birthday! Help us mark this wonderful milestone by fundraising for our work now and in 2012!

From recruiting sponsors for the Sponsorship Challenge through to arranging a Fundraising Event, we’re delighted to give you the opportunity to do something a bit different in the next 3 months to help us ‘come of age' in 2012.

We’ve got solid plans to expand our impact in Masaka - to support 300 orphans through the White Eagle Project, protect and purify Nyendo’s community wells, partner with the local hospital for a community-based nutrition and healthcare programme, finish building our Children’s Centre and Church in Nyendo, take part in mission trips to Northern Uganda and continue praying and working for peace and reconciliation, develop the new Prayer Mountain, build up our healing work in the villages through our Roots Ministry...

But none of it is possible without you! We’ll keep you posted to inspire you with ideas, or contact Rob direct on rob@riveroflifeuganda.org

Friday, September 30, 2011

Onwards and upwards with River of Life Church

The end of this year marks a 'coming-of-age' for River of Life Church, as we're turning 18! Some of us have been around since 1994, when Pastor Duncan and Aunt Mary responded to the call to leave their work with the homeless in London, and come to Masaka in Uganda to plant a church. Since then we have grown in response to God's call, trying to keep our vision always in sight:
To see the Glory of God cover Uganda and the Earth through Church Revival and Community Transformation in the name of Jesus!
The White Eagles enjoying
the Day of the African Child
Over the years, various activities and ministries have been piloted, established and developed to help us realise this vision, from Schools Ministry (visiting 9 schools a week to run Christian Fellowships) to Street Evangelism, Operation Acts of Random Kindness (social action on the streets) to the White Eagle Project - supporting orphan and vulnerable children, particularly street children through resettlement, quality education, intensive mentoring and ensuring a safe and secure home. There are many more - we currently have 24 separate ministries either fully operating, or in pilot stage.

It's fantastic that, even in the face of grinding poverty, ill-health and the general challenge of living and working in a developing country like Uganda, the River of Life Team are plugging away with courage and determination to help some of the most vulnerable and destitute people of our Community.

Over the last year, the River of Life Board have restructured our work into four distinct departments - 1) Community Outreach, 2) Training and Discipleship, 3) Prayer and Healing and 4) Operations and Mission. We've brought on a new Operations Director, Mr David Nyongesa, who is ensuring we have the capacity and the expertise to do the work we are called to do, and so, as we 'come-of-age', we are excited by what lies ahead.

We've designed a leaflet that introduces you to all the ministries at River of Life Church. Do download it, and share it with your friends, family, church or whoever you please!



Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sarah's Story - The Last Stand of the Rats


Hellooooo everybody!!! I hope you’re all well!  I’m very well over here.  Let me tell you what’s been happening over the last month and a bit.....

The big event has been the countdown to leaving the Girls’ Home building that we currently rent.  Our contract runs out at the end of September (Friday this week), and it was decided that we would move out when that happened.  At the same time, the project has been building a new children’s home down on the site where the Boys’ Home is situated, and so the race was on to try and get it built and finished in time for us to move into.  For several weeks now, we’ve all been thinking that there was no way that it would possibly be finished on time as we watched progress, but the guy in charge kept on telling us that it definitely would be.... Well, he has had to concede defeat, because (as you’ll be able to see from the photos below, taken yesterday), it is not going to be ready by tomorrow lunchtime!!!  He has now set the expected date of completion at Friday of next week instead, but I’m not convinced that it will be finished by then, either!!!  (It’s nice to know that builders are unrealistic with their time-frames the world over, isn’t it?!?!?!)  So we are moving out of the current Girls’ Home building this Friday, and we’re going to stay somewhere temporarily until the new building is finished, and then we’ll move in.

At the same time, some of our girls are being resettled back home with their relatives.  Hope (16 years) and Isaiah (1 year) have already returned to live with their relatives during the last school holiday, and Judith (17 years) and Teddy (11 years), are going to go home this Friday when we leave the old Girls’ Home building.  Of course, we’ll continue to follow them up, sponsor them, meet with them, and mentor them, once they’ve gone, so I’ll still get to see plenty of “my girls” even after they’ve gone, which is good!!!

.... So it is change all round, come this Friday!!!

This last week has been a week of war on rats!!!  Our current Girls’ Home building is infested with rats, and we’ve tried everything over the past few weeks and months – rat traps, rat glue (VERY sticky glue that you smear on a piece of cardboard, and then put in the favourite spots of the rats with food on, in the hope that they are stupid enough to walk onto it for the food, and that they will then get stuck), rat poison, and just simply trying to hit them on the head with a big stick!  We had practically no success whatsoever... they ate the food from inside the rat trap, and then walked out of it, without it snapping;  they avoided the rat glue, or managed to free themselves if they did stick to it (apart from one very small rat that got stuck – which I then bashed on the head to kill – I’m very proud of how brave I am – it’s the first rat that I’ve personally killed!!!); they aren’t foolish enough to eat the poison-soaked food; and when we try to hit them, they just run and hide under furniture!!!  HOWEVER!  Because we’ve removed nearly all of our furniture from the girls’ home in preparation for leaving this Friday (we had to move it when the boys were off school last Sunday, so that they could help us with all the heavy lifting), we’ve taken away nearly all of the hiding places that the rats would go to, so this week we’ve spent every evening chasing rats round the house with big sticks, and hitting them on the head when possible!!!  (- I say “we”.... actually, it was the girls and Aunt Tinah, because although I was brave enough to kill a small rat stuck to rat glue, I am not brave enough to chase a huge rat around the room, which can jump up at me and bite me!!!)  So far they’ve managed to kill 3 between them, but the war continues, and it’s our nightly entertainment now that our TV has gone!!!  The only place that the rats can hide now is in the top of our cooker, but Teddy has found a long metal skewer, and spends her evenings poking the skewer through some slits in the back of the oven in an attempt to get the rats to run out of the cooker again so that they girls can hit them!!!  The girls are having great fun!!!

I’ve finished my Celebrating Children course now, although I don’t know if I’ve passed my assignments (apparently lots of us have failed and will have to redo them!).  So, for now, there are no more assignments to do, and I can concentrate on putting everything that we learnt into practice, and I can relax more on my days off, which is very nice!

We had a team from Runcorn  visit us last month, and the kids put on a bit of a show to welcome them.  They decided to paint their faces after my cousin sent some face paints out to me, and they had a fabulous time singing and dancing, and we had a fabulous time watching them – they’re very talented!

Anyway, that’s about all of my news!  Have a good October!

Love Sarah

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Lane's Log Final Farewell - Webale Uganda!


We are now into our final days in Uganda and so this will be our last blog during our time here in Africa. The last week has been gave us the chance to reflect on what has been an amazing three months and to start to say some goodbyes. Leaving Uganda is going to be far more difficult than we had ever thought and it is still hard to believe that we are actually leaving. We feel very much at home, despite it feeling like we arrived just a short time ago.

The fantastic Lutaaya Family
We have made some really good friends and had so many valuable experiences. Although we have found a number of things difficult along the way, we just cannot believe what a wonderful place Uganda is to live and work and are just blown away by everyone's love and generosity. The memories will live with us for a long long time and we hope we have made some friends for life.

It has also been a real privilege to have been part of the River of Life. They have made us feel so welcome and we have been made to feel part of their family, which has been really special. The work they are doing and their vision for the future is inspiring and already benefits countless people. We would really like to continue to support and assist everything they are doing in the future where possible. So be warned we may keep going on about it for a long time when we get back to the UK!

If anyone would like to know more about the River of Life or has felt that they would like to help, please take a minute to have a look on their website (http://www.riveroflifeuganda.org/). There are many ways people can help but an area of particular need at present is trying to get further sponsorship, so that they can support further children and keep them off the streets (http://www.riveroflifeuganda.org/sponsor-a-child.aspx).

News on Joseph is that his wife had returned back to their village and given birth to a baby girl. Joseph has been collected by his brothers and has been taken back to his village. His other leg hasn't been amputated and he continues to put on weight.

We have been making the most of our last week here with plenty of treats. It was a “special” Birthday for Kat, so we celebrated with a big Birthday cake, ginger biscuits, scones and jam, pancakes and a special pick nick. Given we only had about 3 hours of power we managed to time all the baking in a borrowed electric oven perfectly. The boys, Gerald and Julius, have also treated us all with a pork BBQ which was tough but great tasting!

Working hard
There has been some hard work done too! We both have worked on the land. Offering a hand to Gerald (who is employed to work on the land) by digging, planting maze and harvesting the crops we have grown on the land. We have also been set some last minute documents/reports to write up so we must get to do that soon!

In true Ugandan style we have been without power for the past 3 days so using this precious time to utilise the power to have warm showers and charge up everything we own for the next part of our adventure!

We have loved living with Kat and Rob and have valued them welcoming us into their house and family. We are certainly going to miss our mate Elena, who is now 16 months and learning new things everyday! We are desperately trying to encourage her to say Andy and Hannah. So far it's a debate whether it's Hannah or banana!

Thank you for all of those who gave money to help us to come out! We have valued your support hugely! Its difficult to say too much more as nothing we write will really sum up our thoughts and feelings. So we will end by just saying...

...Thank-You Uganda!

Andy and Hannah are with River of Life for the next 3 months. They are Physiotherapists from Newcastle, UK and are helping River of Life develop our links with the local hospitals and ROLC's Hospital Ministy. If you would like to support their work with River of Life, head over to their Justgiving page

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Lane's Log Episode 8 - Meeting our sponsored Child

Due to power and internet problems this is being sent out a little later than we would like. Apologies!

We have had another busy two weeks here in Masaka, working in both hospitals and attending several Ball Line Academy games and training sessions. As we write this blog we amazingly other have just over one and a half weeks left! And although we have done and experienced so much, we already feel sad to think we will be soon leaving.

Since our last blog, the football season has got fully under way, with Ball Line having a great start, picking up 13 points from a possible 15 points. The Ball Line guys are a great bunch of lads and a pleasure to work and be around. Walu and his team certainly deserve all of their success to date and we hope it continues for a long time. In their last game, a well deserved 3-1 win, they managed to keep their discipline in very difficult circumstances. Towards the end of the game, their opponents became more and more aggressive to both Ball Line and in particular the referee. It came to a head at the end of the game, with their opponents team, squad and support invading the pitch and assaulting the referee. Everyone from Ball Line kept their heads and reacted very quickly to defend the referee and their team mates, trying to quickly defuse the situation.

The Masaka Physio Team
We have also been gradually running our programme and other commitments down, including our work at both Masaka and Kitovu Hopsitals. The work has been full of challenges and a number of difficult moments along the way for both of us, but it is something that we have ultimately enjoyed. We have certainly learnt a lot and equally hope that we have contributed to both respective services during our time working there. We now have really good relationships with many staff at both sites and wish them all the very best in the future.

Donating Medical supplies
Thanks to our time in Gulu and the generosity of E3 partners, we have also been able to give Kitovu Hospital a gift of four suitcases of medical supplies this week. To say it was appreciated is a huge understatement and it was a privilege to give the donation along with the River of Life.

The school holidays have now arrived here in Uganda and it is proving to be a very exciting time for the White Eagle Project. This morning three White Eagles left Masaka to start University on Monday, with two more are soon to join them. That takes the total number of White Eagles studying at University up to an amazing ten people!

Building work starts!
This week has also seen the start of the next building phase of the White Eagle project. The build aims to be completed in two months and will be a self contained flat, complete with living room and balcony. Several of the older White Eagles have been given the opportunity to learn a trade in their Summer break and have been working hard alongside the other workmen. It is a shame the build will be finished around a month after we leave but we look forward to seeing photos of the final build. It is going to be very impressive and make a huge difference to the project.

Margaret's family
A huge highlight of the last few weeks has been meeting Margaret, one of the White Eagles. For the last few years we have sponsored her, but since our arrival in Uganda she has been working hard at boarding school. The holidays have gave us the chance to meet her on a few occasions, including getting to drive her home to a local village. Margaret and her family are fantastic and we have been so happy to meet them in person! She is (and has) an amazing testimony of the power of prayer and how the project has helped her develop into a lovely young lady. If anyone reading this would like to know more about sponsoring a child, the White Eagle Project have a long list of people they would love to support and send to school! Just visit the website here

In our day off last week we drove to Lake Mburo National Park and did our very own Safari. It was a really unique experience and it was great to get so close to so many animals. Okay, we may have got a little lost and a little concerned when we lost the track a few times, but still had a great time. We also got to see another of the 'big five', zebras, who are stunningly beautiful. Their stripes just look like they have been painted on!

Sugarcane at Bujja Farm
In the last few days we have been given the chance to visit two farms, The White Eagle Farm (Bujja Farm) and MMF. It was great to see how lots of the food we eat at the project is sourced and were really impressed with the White Eagle vision for the development of Bujja farm. They hope to raise enough money to develop the land and significantly reduce their rather large food budget for the project. MMF is a new private farm, started up as an income generating project by Rob and Katherine, alongside a good friend, John. We loved getting shown around and seeing how excited they are about the future!

Finally we have been upset to read and hear from friends and family about the problems back in London and across the country. We hope everyone is well and we continue to think and pray for home.

Lots of love and God bless,

Andy and Hannah

Andy and Hannah are with River of Life for the next 3 months. They are Physiotherapists from Newcastle, UK and are helping River of Life develop our links with the local hospitals and ROLC's Hospital Ministy. If you would like to support their work with River of Life, head over to their Justgiving page

Saturday, August 6, 2011

We're building again! The White Eagle Project goes up a gear...

It's been over 2 years since we completed the second phase of the White Eagle Centre, back in 2009. By then, we had six simple rooms for the White Eagle boys, a lounge, dining room, kitchen and toilets. Throughout 2009 and 2010, fundraising for the building work has continued, most memorably with Tim and Sarah Crow's Wedding Gift List, and the maddest cycling challenge ever - non-stop from Manchester to London.


 The new WEP Centre with Church
behind and Offices on left
At the same time, we've been working with Local Government and the Police here in Masaka to ensure that what we are building is absolutely perfect for the needs of our community. We've now had a new plan agreed, which includes building four, purpose-built 2-bed apartments so we can give more family-based care to children. We will be keeping our lounge and dining room, but converting the 6 old rooms into one of these apartments, and then building three new ones.

Front of the Church with Offices and
Rooms above on the right 
The plans also include development of offices (because our current offices are falling down!), an extension to the church, and some independent accommodation that can either be staff-quarters, or be rented out to provide a small amount of income.

The plans have been agreed by the local Planning Authority, and we are in the process of getting the "Permission to run a residential Children's Home" approved by all the relevant authorities - Local Councillors, Health Inspector, Police and Probations Office. In the meantime, we've received permission to proceed, so today, August 6th 2011, with Pastor Duncan and Mary skype-ing in from the UK, we have laid the foundations for the next phase! Hallelujah :)
With Julius leading worship, Duncan and Mary with us through Skype,
we pour in the footings for the next phase of building

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Lane's Log Episode 7 - Community Physio and New Kits for Ball Line


Sorry it's been such a long time since we last wrote a blog, we have been busy with our programme, and had many visitors since the last blog.

We currently have 6 extra bodies in our house (a total of 13 people). It's lovely having visitors and we're really enjoying getting to know more and more people. Especially when the power is out we have enjoyed many interesting conversations sat up at the dinner table. Four of our party are children, all under the age of 5.... we have been wondering why we are so tired lately?!

The water situation is a little better. We have had a few hot showers and yesterday we had a huge down pour of rain so our grass is looking greener and our rain water tank is full! With 13 people using it I am sure it will go quickly but in the mean time we can enjoy showering! However it's always quick as you're not sure when the power will cut out or when the tank is going to dry out, but were a little more presentable to the public anyhow! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!

Masaka Hospital Gym
For the past couple of weeks we have been mostly following our programme. We are seeing more and more patients and learning more and more about different conditions. The majority of our referrals being children and some adults we have seen patients with a variety of conditions such as TB meningitis, Tetanus and severe burns.

One of Andy's outpatients is a 64 year old lady who fell, fractured her hip (intracapsular neck of femur) and because she couldn't afford surgery is now 4 months down the line with a hip that has healed, but she will always be limited to what she can do.
A lot of treatment unfortunately depends on money and therefore you see patients discharging themselves without efficient assessments or treatments. We have both found seeing and treating these patients quite distressing, however have learnt a lot through it.

Having never really thought about it before it makes you realise how important it is that we are so well looked after in the UK with our vaccines as children. In Uganda the majority of people are vaccinated against all the conditions that we are in the UK, however some do not get them due to money or the area they live in.

We continue to work at both hospital sites, with one extra morning at Kitovu Hospital. Andy has done some in-service training about lower back pain and Hannah is teaching Andy more about paediatric assessment. We have also had some interesting discussions about different treatments and learning to use translators patiently and gracefully.

Thanks to the E3 Ugandan Team, we have also been able to give out a wheelchair that was left over from our medical mission to Gulu. It was a unique experience to visit the lady's home, initially to meet and assess her. As we have found in many cases, we were warmly welcomed, with a family member bring us a soda each from the local shop! It was fantastic to give the wheelchair to a family that will benefit so much from it and will it will certainly offer the opportunity for the lady to get out of the house more.

Our programme has been made a little easier as we have been able to drive the Land Cruiser. We still enjoy walking, but it is more convenient that we have some transport on some days. We are realising just how quickly our time is flying whilst we are here and aware that to complete all that we want we need to fill our day with as much as possible!

Saying this we still make the most of our days off! Last week we went to the lake Nabugabo,
where we had local fish and chips and a stoney (ginger beer). We enjoyed having a swim in the lake and prior to jumping in were reassured that this lake doesn't have crocodiles! Apparently they have all been shot!

Most weekends we are involved in Ball line. Either training or watching. Andy and Simon (one of our visitors) also played in a friendly against a local team. We have enjoyed getting to know the boys and becoming part of the team. Simon kindly bought some kit for them from the UK which was greatly received. We have had a number of disappointments where competitive teams have not turned up, which means they have won the game but through default. However when playing against their local rival cub they gained one point with a 1-1 draw.

We have also found another toon army fan - The local kebab man was spotted by Andy. Unfortunately he could only speak French or Lugandan, so the conversation was limited despite Andy's best efforts!

News from the garden is that we have harvested two pineapples this week. Sure they are a little small, but edible and juicy none the less.

We are both well in ourselves, although over the past two weeks Andy has been suffering with his stomach and his finger continues to take him back and forth to the doctor. Hannah has had a cold (... in Africa). But thankfully we have plenty of medical supplies to keep us going!

Thank you again for all of your support and encouragement! We would love to hear from you if you have time and keep in contact with what is happening back home.

Lots of love!
Hannah and Andy x x

Andy and Hannah are with River of Life for the next 3 months. They are Physiotherapists from Newcastle, UK and are helping River of Life develop our links with the local hospitals and ROLC's Hospital Ministy. If you would like to support their work with River of Life, head over to their Justgiving page

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Lane's Log Episode 6 - Hospitals, Football and the Day of The African Child


We are now two weeks into our full programme with River of Life, Masaka. Our programmes consists of a mix of activities between working as a physio and assisting with some of the River of Life ministries. We have now successfully started work at both Masaka General Hospital and Kitovu Hospital and are getting to know the staff and our roles. At Masaka we work with a friendly team of 2-3 Physios based in their own small outpatient department. Here we have already started to treating a wide variety of conditions, with Hannah volunteering to see the paediatrics. Although we are gradually learning a little more Lugandan (How are you?, I am fine, just here sir, thank you, well done) we still require a lot of help from our colleagues to translate!

Kitovu is a little different as they don't currently provide a physiotherapy service. So for the next two months we hope to help out in the best way we can. Kitovu has a large variety of wards including trauma, surgery, paediatrics, general medicine, malnutrition and gynaecology. We have been setting up a referral system to allow us to find those most in need.

Hannah taking on the u-14s
Physiotherapy is also continuing away from the hospitals with increasing involvement with Ball Line Football Acadamy (training and matches) and adhoc physio clinics. We have since both had the chance to train with the boys.  In the mid day heat, no shade, and having not done much exercise for a while Hannah felt ill after the two hour training! (she would also like to highlight that the altitude is also very high!)

Day of the African Child
The rest of our time here is getting to know the white eagle boys and girls. Last week we were a part of the celebration for the African Child day.Despite a few concerns that the focus may have been lost slightly through the adults being entertained and not the children and running 3 hours behind schedule, we had two hours where they put on some African beats and we all got our groove on!
African dancing involves a lot of bottom wiggling!

Dancing at the Day of the African Child
Within our timetable we will also be serving some of the Church ministries. We are leading some of the white eagle evening sessions. Focussing on life skills and fellowship, along with having lots of fun! All of the girls and boys are a delight to be around and we are really enjoying getting to know them and the staff. We also visit Masaka General Hospital as part for the hospital ministry team where we give out food and pray with patients who request it. This week we gave out some of the mango's that are growing within the compound we live in.

Mangoes!
It has been great to get our programme up and running. We have quickly realised that since arriving that although three months felt like a long time whilst we planned, in reality it is going to be no where near long enough!

We are keeping fit by walking to work and this has been going really well, even if Andy does get a little grumpy in the heat! The rest of the time we get 'public', a local taxi (5 seater car) which follows a set route. So far our record is fitting up to 9 fully grown adults in it (two in the passenger's seat, five in the back seat, and two in the drivers seat).

We have struggled to communicate back home in the last two weeks, thanks to ever increasing powercuts. It is now rare that we have electricity for any real length of time. This is apparently reportedly thanks to the government being in huge debt to the electricity companies. As we are living on the top of a hill, this also has had a knock on effect to our water supply, as they don't have enough power to pump it up to us. With our back up supply of rain water very close to empty we are looking forward to trips to the local well with jerry cans and bucket baths for the foreseeable future. There is a general panic for water as all the wells are becoming dry, although this is is nothing like the situations in some of Uganda's neighbouring countries. It also gave us the unpleasant experience of working in the hospitals with no water to wash our hands. Never thought I would say this but prayers for rain would be gratefully received!

Andy was excited to find his first fellow Newcastle fan on Sunday, whilst watching a local football game. And this week, was asked by a physio colleague if he had heard of Alan Shearer. Happy days!
Hannah has been enjoying the garden, regularly picking avacardos and mangos. She is making the most of mango season, making mango juice as well as borrowing a neighbours electric oven to bake a lemon drizzle cake with the some of her birthday presents. Thank you for all the birthday well wishes and thoughts as they really do make a big difference to us!

Elena reading FourFourTwo to Andy
We have also had some excitement within the house. Elena is now walking!! We like to think it's due to our physiotherapy involvement, but really its possible that she has been watching some of the other walking children at the play group which Katherine has recently set up.

We will update you soon on how Joseph is getting on!

Lots of love! Please keep your emails coming! We love hearing from you and power dependent we will reply as soon as possible!

Andy and Hannah are with River of Life for the next 3 months. They are Physiotherapists from Newcastle, UK and are helping River of Life develop our links with the local hospitals and ROLC's Hospital Ministy. If you would like to support their work with River of Life, head over to their Justgiving page

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fanning the Flames of Revival!


For over 22 years, Duncan has held faithfully to a vision of a Prayer Mountain that will rekindle the flames of the East African revival. 22 years is a long time to wait for a vision to see fruit. It seemed like it would never happen...

Duncan writes: “In 1989, while still in London, I believe the Lord showed me a vision of Misaali Hill, on the outskirts of Masaka Municipality, Uganda.


In the vision I saw small tongues of fire covering a small part of the hill. Then I saw those tongues spreading all over the hill, and from the middle some tongues of fire started rising. When they reached the clouds, they started breaking off like shooting stars. These tongues of fire then fell to the ground - on Masaka Town itself, the wider Masaka District, the Ssese Islands, Kampala, Uganda, East Africa, and the rest of the world.


Suddenly the Holy Spirit whispered to me “Duncan, go back to Masaka and join with others and re-kindle the fire of East African revival which was quenched through fear and religion in my church.”


I believed the strategy for the vision was to build a Prayer Hut for every nation, and to build facilities that will ensure the spiritual and material development of Masaka and Uganda. So half of the site was to be a Prayer Centre, and the other half given over to developing sports fields, an International School, and a church.”

So, the vision was awesome! But there were many that doubted - if we’re honest there were times when most of us doubted! For over 20 years the land remained available, despite it being one of the prime development sites of Masaka. But by 2010 the owners of the land were getting very old and frail. It was a complicated story - they were the trustees of the estate, and if anything happened to either of them, it was likely that the land would be parceled up and inherited by about 70 different people, making it impossible to purchase. We spent 2010 praying, surveying the site and negotiating a payment plan - completely in faith, as we didn’t have anything like enough money. Amazingly, we managed to secure a generous payment plan, at a great price...

So, by February this year the Board were presented with the choice. Either we agreed to go for it, or we could probably say goodbye to the vision. We looked at the bank account - there was no help there. But we knew we had to be faithful, and if this was of God, HE would provide.

The first massive boost to our faith was when the money for the deposit came in by the deadline - end of April. We could hardly believe it! But by the end of June, the size of the challenge was beginning to daunt us. We have many other ministries that need funding, as you know, and some of us were beginning to think, “what have we done?!”

Praying at the site at the end of June, Sarah, a visitor, shared Ezekiel 36 with us, in particular verse 36:
Then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I am the Lord; I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it.

“I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it”. Fantastic, but how and when? Some of the ROL Elders have been prayer-walking around the site since 1994. Is 2011 going to be the year ROL buys the site?

The answer is yes, because 48 hours later, on 1st July this year, the Lord provided all the finances needed to buy the land. We. are. gobsmacked. Praise the Lord!

For more information, download the Prayer Mountain Vision Leaflet here



Bringing a Smile to Masaka


In May we welcomed a Dental Team from Christian Relief Uganda to help bring a smile back to hundreds of patients in Masaka.

They were incredibly impressive setting up their mobile pain relief clinic at the Church, in a Rural School, at the local Prison and out in the community, performing tooth extractions, abcess draining and all manner of procedures. Uganda has a real problem with Infant Oral Mutilation - the practise of digging children’s teeth out with nails or bicycle spokes - and CRU equipped us with the potentially life changing message of oral hygeine and good practice, which we can now help to spread far and wide!

The Lane's Log Episode 5 - Back to Masaka

Its hard to believe it, but we have already spent four weeks in Uganda! We are having a great time and continue to be bowled over by the beauty of the country and its people. This week has been a little quieter that the last few, giving us some time to recover and reflect further on our recent trip to Gulu.

The Road to Gulu
Uganda is around the same size as the UK, with around half the UKs population, 30 million. But whilst in the UK most people live in towns and cities, in Uganda, many still live in the countryside. The drive from Masaka to Kampala and then onto Gulu was an beautiful journey, on mostly good roads. We did have the occasional hairy moment thanks to one or two drives who seemed keen to play 'chicken' with other drivers on the road! The total journey time was around 7 hours and was mainly spent looking at greenery as far as the eye can see. Neither of us had imagined Uganda to be so green!!!

Kipp, Kim, Hannah & Andy
The week with E3 and the medical team was one of the most challenging but rewarding things we have ever done. And to a large extent we are still breaking down our experiences. It is still difficult to describe the week as a whole, but it was a real privilege to get serve the local communities and people surrounding Gulu. The work was certainly appreciated and well received with the help of E3 Ministry materials, such as Project Hope (HIV/AIDS cube), Malaria cubes and Evangecubes.


The E3 Physio Team
We particularly enjoyed getting to know and work along the E3 team, made up of 28 very happy Americans, 11 Ugandans and 7 Brits. Everyone was amazing and very supportive throughout the week. We would certainly think very seriously of future E3 trips and projects and would love to work along Kipp, Spanky, Lara and co. again. One highlight was educating the younger (slightly gullible) Americans into the English culture. This of course included the words to our national anthem being 'God save the Queen' repeated 37 and a half times. These guys were brilliant fun to be around and we loved getting to know them. We did own up to them by the end of the trip, when we both had to sing what we new of our real national anthem.

Upon our return, we have missed having Christina (Katharine's sister) around, who had been out visiting Katharine and Rob and joined us for the trip to Gulu. It was nice to get to spend so much time with her, and we truly appreciated all of her support on our week away. On a positive note this week did give us the opportunity to spend more time with Emma and Pete Hulme, two of the doctors from the Gulu medical team. Andy was Pete's right hand man at winding up the Americans. They both travelled back to Masaka with us to spend some time with close friends, Katharine and Rob. We had a great time getting to know them and look forward to crossing paths further in the future!

The walk to Kitovu Hospital
Over the last two days we have been starting to finalise our programme, and had trial journeys to and from both of the hospitals we will be working in. Both take around 45-60 minutes to walk on dusty paths. We have really enjoyed doing a little more exercise! We will see if we remain so keen after a few weeks of walking to work! We have also fed back and typed up our experiences in Gulu for The River of Life and had some very positive meetings regarding future potential benefits to similar projects/trips/ministries.

The majority of our physiotherapy skills this week has been focussed on encouraging Elena (the daughter of Rob and Katharine) who is 14 months old to walk and to talk. She is great fun and has us both wrapped around her little finger!

The walk to Masaka Hospital
Today we were given the opportunity to visit a gentleman, Joseph, that has recently came to the attention of The River of Life. He is a local taxi driver who three weeks ago was asked to drive a "special taxi" (private taxi) from one town to another. Every now and again there are police patrol areas on the roads and when the taxi was stopped, the police opened fire at the car. Apparently, the two passengers he was driving were 'most wanted'. The two men escaped, but Joseph was shot in both of his legs. He is now in hospital and as we have previously mentioned they are very different to the UK. Government hospitals can have 'private' paying patients who are seen before others, which can result in some people not getting seen at all. Resources are also very limited and sadly Joseph has to date had little treatment for his injuries. Joseph has now had one leg amputated above the knee and may still loose his other leg due to infection. Furthermore, his wife is seven months pregnant with their third baby and is looking after him whilst he is in hospital. Due to lack of money she is sleeping on the floor and eating a poor basic diet that the hospital provide. River of life are appealing for donations to give them food and cooking equipment to improve his dietary requirements and healing. Depending on the next few weeks, he may also require rehabilitation equipment. We met Joseph today and he and his wife appear very positive despite their circumstances. We also started with some basic physiotherapy which we hope to progress over the coming months. If anyone at home would like to know more about Joseph, or what The River of Life are hoping to provide, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.

We are gradually settling more into living in Uganda and are even getting more used to making unwanted friends! Although we having seen the friendly mouse 'peep' since are return to Masaka, we have encountered several geckos, cockroaches, grasshoppers and even one (small) snake! Hannah has been very brave!

Finally Andy would like to thank everyone for his birthday messages on Tuesday last week, he had a great day, even if Hannah did need a little reminding! We are looking forward to starting our programme in full next week and will try our best to update our progress and experiences!

Andy and Hannah are with River of Life for the next 3 months. They are Physiotherapists from Newcastle, UK and are helping River of Life develop our links with the local hospitals and ROLC's Hospital Ministy. If you would like to support their work with River of Life, head over to their Justgiving page