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Friday, July 13, 2012

Sarah's Story - Physio, Robinah returns and more!

Hellooooooooo! How is everyone?!?!?! I'm doing great here, and things are going on well! The last two months have been relatively busy.....

One thing that you may be interested to hear about is that I'm doing some physio. I'm seeing two patients... one has a bad back, but one is a neuro patient, and I'm reeeeeally enjoying seeing her and doing some neuro physio! She's given me permission to talk about her to you, as we've become good friends over the last 6 weeks. Her name is Nampijja, and she's 24 years old. She was involved in a car accident just over a year ago, which damaged her spine, so she was left unable to stand or walk. She had some rehab at the time, but was discharged back to her village about a year ago, and for the past year, she has been lying on a mattress on the floor of her tiny room, with few visitors, and nothing to do but stare at the ceiling and listen to her radio (when she has batteries).

When I first saw her, she couldn't sit up in bed, she was very depressed, and she was doing nothing. I wanted to cry when I saw how awful her life was, and how little support she had from family and friends, and I could hardly sleep that night with thinking about her! Anyway, I've been going to her village once a week since then to do some physio, and she's gradually progressing, and, (most importantly!), she's getting some hope that her life isn't over, and she's smiling a lot more!!!! We've become good friends, as I said, and she's helping me with my Lugandan... actually during my physio sessions and visits, we speak in Lugandan only, because, (despite my limited Lugandan), she has slightly less English than I have Lugandan.

I've also enjoyed seeing quite a lot of one of the girls who used to live in the girls' home, and who returned to live with her family a year and a half ago. I miss her (and the other girls who've left the home), so it's been really nice to spend lots of time with her recently, helping her as she prepares to apply to our Leadership Academy for support to go to university. She's pictured below with her beautiful little baby girl.

Most of our kids have been on school trips and had various parents days and fun days recently. Kitibwa and Mercy had their faces painted at their school fun day. They were soooooooooooo excited about going to it beforehand – Kitibwa talked NON-STOP for two and a half hours (from 6am onwards!) about what he was going to do and how excited he was!!! I wanted to gag him!!! Anyway, luckily it lived up to their expectations, (-apart from the cake... apparently they were all expecting a huge cake as on previous occasions, and it didn't materialise... but all was fine, because we'd baked a cake for my birthday, so Kitibwa and Mercy ate that and then decided that the day had been a success after all!!!)

There have been quite a few talks and things that I've done over the last couple of months too... I spoke at the River of Life's Schools Conference in June, where children and young people come to us from about 9 different schools for the day. All of the children love it because they get fed good food by us, and especially because we don't give them beans, weevils, and posho (which they all get EVERY SINGLE DAY for lunch and dinner whilst they're at school).

In June, the White Eagle Project joined in the Day of the African Child celebrations, which involved a march through Masaka and then various performances by different children. The kids all found it very exciting, but I found it rather stressful, as I spent the day chasing after 15 children, and trying to make sure that we didn't lose anyone!!! (-No matter how many times we told them not to wander off without telling us where they were going, they kept on wandering off because it was just too exciting!!!). Anyway, we returned with all 15 children and no injuries, so the day was a success in my eyes!!!

Anyway, that’s all my news!

Lots of love,


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Operation JK:UK - A Home Away from Home

Well done Mr Julius Kintu! He’s taking our slogan ‘Flying High’ to dizzying new heights, having just completed the first year of a Diploma in Ministerial Development Training at Carmel Bible College, Bristol, UK.
Julius has done brilliantly - scoring 79%, while adapting to a very different life in the UK and being a long way from home - all the challenges of long-term mission! Due to Visa restrictions, Julius has just returned to Uganda, but hopes to go back to Carmel College for the second year of his course in September, hosted by and working with our good friends at Hope Community Church again. Julius says: “This year has been a year of new beginnings in my life... Going through Bible College has challenged me spiritually and in all aspects of life. Being in the UK has brought more meaning to life. I have been taught what dependency on God means especially when you lose all that gives you confidence - when you are away from all your loved ones, friends, home church and all those people that believe in you and think that all you do is cool! But I have enjoyed traveling the UK, food (especially roast dinners!) making friends, everyone has been very welcoming. UK has been a home away from home.
Julius is proving our vision that Ugandans can take their place in the international community and really make a difference! We REALLY want him to complete the diploma, but we have a funding shortfall of about £6,000. If you want to help, please get in touch.

Monday, July 2, 2012

How high can a White Eagle fly?

Our motto at the White Eagle Project, and one that speaks of our commitment to quality at River of Life is ‘flying high’. With the opportunity to do the National 3 Peaks Challenge, we decided to put it to the test (literally) with Mr Julius, former White Eagle Project Manager. Rob takes up the story...

“I couldn’t climb up or down stairs for three days afterwards, but I’m incredibly proud to be able to say we did it! Julius was seen, 'Flying High', from the top of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon, all in 24 hours!

 Ben Nevis Summit conquered
The idea took shape in a small office in Manchester 2 months previously, as Rob and Miguel (a White Eagle Sponsor and long-term hatcher of madcap fundraising challenge ideas) wondered how they could make the already barmy idea of doing the 3 Peaks a little more eccentric. And then the thought of taking our very own White Eagle, who had never climbed a mountain before, to the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales dawned on them...

So, at 1710hrs, on 30th June, the River of Life Team started their ascent of Ben Nevis. By 0440hrs the following morning, they were on the slopes of Scafell Pike. And by 1330hrs, they'd left the minibus for the final assault on Snowdon...

Dan, Julius and Ming on Snowdon
Now, for the uninitiated, Ben Nevis is MASSIVE. Scafell Pike is a big heap of rocks - in driving rain and hail it’s the last place you'd want to be at anytime of day, let alone 5am. Reaching Snowdon, we had just 3hrs 40 to complete the challenge...

Stiff, sore and still wet from Scafell, the advance party, including Wing Commander Julius, made mincemeat of the climb, pushing through to record a fantastic overall time of 23hrs20. But with 10 mins to go, there was no sign of the rear guard...

Finally he hobbled into view, the rear guard being just me, and I reached the mini-bus (painfully parked at the far end of the car park!) with just 5 mins to spare! It was the most epic challenge, and has raised nearly £5,000!”

Made it! The Team at the finish
To all the climbers - Anna, Dan, Jeff, Julius, Mark, Miguel, Neil, Rich, Rob, Robin, Sandor, Tom, Tommy - well done! And to the wonderful support crew - Andrew, Phil & Meredith - thank you! And finally, a massive thank you to Rich Statham and his Dad Tony, for organising the whole thing and keeping us safe :)

If you would like to sponsor the heroic efforts of Julius (and the team!), please visit!

If you want to relive the adventure, all our photos and video clips are plotted on an awesome interactive map - check it out!