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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 ( 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 (

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