This summer I had the privilege of being part of an All Saints’ group that went to Kisoro in Uganda. There were many highlights of the trip but here are just a few I want to share with you.
On our arrival in Kisoro, the very first thing we did was visit Potter’s Village which is a Child Crisis and Medical Centre situated right near Kisoro Cathedral, about ten minutes walk from the Diocesan guest house in Murabura where we were staying. The Potter’s Village exists to rescue babies who would have no other chance of survival. It has a Special Care Baby Unit to care for premature babies and also has facilities to help babies and children who are acutely malnourished.
We were welcomed by Sue Hughes (Director) and her husband Mike (pediatric doctor) who showed us around the complex. We heard harrowing stories of women dying during, or after, child birth and families being so desperate for help that without Potter’s Village these babies wouldn’t survive. One story in particular stood out for me. This was the story of Moses who had been abandoned and left in a latrine and who amazingly was found and rescued and taken to Potter’s village. The rescuer is now exploring with Potter’s Village the possibility of adopting little Moses! It was truly amazing to witness first-hand the wonderful way in which these abandoned babies are cared for and looked after by the dedicated team there.
The team were able to visit two schools very near Potter’s Village called Sesame and Centenary Primary School. The heartfelt welcome we received from both schools was quite overwhelming and the team had so much fun playing with the children and making new friends. By using some of the funds raised in the UK before the trip, we were able to present both schools with some sports equipment including a cricket bat, and an indestructible football. God works in mysterious ways! We found out that some German interns had just arrived in Kisoro to work in Sesame and Centenary to teach sport to the children however they didn’t have any sports equipment! Isn’t it just like God to join up the dots. God is good all the time!
I think I will remember the many smiling faces of the children for a very long
Participatory Evaluative Process (PEP)
Tearfund in partnership with local churches have been running PEP projects in Uganda since 2006 and I was excited to see and hear first-hand how two of these projects were working out in the Diocese of Kisoro. Both the projects we visited had a common story. Both explained how in their church groups they had studied God’s word and learnt how God had provided for the needs of His people. Drawing inspiration from the accounts of the feeding of the five thousand (Matthew 14:13-21) and the widow whose jar of flour and jug of olive oil did not run out (1 Kings 17:7-24), the communities spoke of how they were challenged to identify the needs in their communities and how they had opened their eyes to what God had provided and given to meet those needs. Both communities spoke with such faith and hope as to how God is transforming their community in very practical ways: planting crops with irrigation bottles, building latrines, installing lightning rods and solar panels for the church and building a health centre and eye clinic for the community were all things that were happening. It was an incredible privilege to see such faith in action and a challenge to us to ask the same questions concerning our community: What are our needs and what has God given us to meet those needs?
As we spent time in Uganda we were blessed with incredible hospitality. Many of the people we met gave so much of their time and attention to make sure we were welcomed and had all we need. I loved the slower pace of life, where meeting people and living in the ‘now’ rather than rushing on to the next thing were clearly savoured. I have to say I have never experienced a confirmation service quite like the one in rural Uganda where approximately 1000 people gathered in the village church wearing their best clothes to praise and worship God in a service which lasted four hours!
I come back cherishing and thanking God for the team that went and our time there. Can I encourage you to pray for Potter’s village, for the Church in Uganda and for the schools in Kisoro.
Every blessing in Christ,
Daniel Currie (Vicar)