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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.

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