GLJS, EBOLA, INNOCENT, Happy 14th GERRY Mukisa & my knee!

Dear friends,
I’m very pleased so many of you enjoyed the post and videos of Graduation Day at Good Luck Junior School. Thank you for all your lovely comments both on here and on my private WhatsApp. That little school has come a long way over the last 2-3 years because of your support, just look at the photos I’ve added to remind you of the improvements we’ve made to GLJS since I first came across the school in January 2020 when my mosquito 🦟 net distribution was based at the school. Pre-Covid! It seems so long ago!

The old classrooms were collapsing. Dark, dingy and dangerous!
The first block of new classrooms sponsored by Poynton Rotary Club
The old latrines were falling down, we’re full up and stinking!
The new latrines
Desks were sponsored and painted with sayings of your choice

But now to the more serious news:
EBOLA closes all schools in Uganda! Yes, the Ugandan government has ordered all schools to close because Ebola is spreading!
The end of the school year is not too far off anyway as the long break for Uganda schools is December and January.
Fortunately it worked out that Good Luck Junior School’s last day was that of the nursery Top Class Graduation Ceremony which everyone enjoyed. These children will be in Primary 1 when they return at the beginning of February, the start of the Ugandan school year.

THANK YOU for continuing to donate money to support my endeavours to keep the school fully open next year. We now have two thirds of what we need, just over £1000 short, but we’re getting there. I will be sending money out to give the teachers half pay during December and January, which they have accepted and are very grateful for.

Re Ebola-Thankfully there have been no cases of Ebola in the areas I live and work in, though there have been some in Jinja District not too far away where some of my friends live such as Godfrey who has given me much guidance over my years in Uganda and Bosco the nurse who we sponsored in the past. Of course student Paul who is working in a hospital in an affected area towards the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the Ebola virus came from, is at more risk but hopefully he will stay well.

INNOCENT NEEDS OUR HELP!
At the end of August Innocent was involved in a road accident leaving him with various injuries including a broken arm. He went to the local clinic for treatment where they used the traditional method of healing of daily massage of the limb (ouch!) and binding with bandages using rough sticks to get the tension! I’ve been told and can just imagine how painful this sort of treatment is, but that is all that is on offer in many areas of Uganda unless you have money.
As soon as I learnt about it I persuaded him to go to the community hospital in Kamuli, the nearest town, but unfortunately it was too late to get it set in plaster so he has been left with a deformed and weakened limb. This wasn’t the end of his problems as two weeks ago he had a seizure (he is epileptic) and as he recovered he’s realised by the pain that he had broken his arm again! No-one in Kamuli hospital is qualified or capable of giving him the treatment he now needs, which is to pin the bone while it heals. I asked nurse Bosco for advice and through his hospital contacts he has found an orthopaedic surgeon in Jinja town who is qualified, but it would cost 3.5 million Ugandan Shillings. This is approximately £800 which is a fortune to Innocent! Are you able to help me with this bill please? I have given the go-ahead for the operation as without it Innocent would be crippled for life and, being unable to do the heavy work as a farmer, would be unable to look after himself and his family. Of course i would miss the support he gives us with my projects very much too!

Innocent in happier times overseeing the delivery of bricks for the latrines, one of his many jobs for us

HAPPIER NEWS – my lovely sweet intelligent caring namesake Gerry Mukisa (Blessed) is 14 today! Her Dad Patrick is the man who helped me fall in love with Uganda in 2002 when he took me under his wing during my first visit and showed me the real people, the real Uganda beyond the walls of the English-run Children’s home I was based at. Thank you Patrick for leading me to such a fulfilling life!

Happy 14th birthday Gerry Mukisa!

MY KNEE NEWS!
When I first started writing this post my news was that I have a new date for my knee replacement 15th February, that this seemed a long way off but that time seems to fly these days! Then I had a surprise phone call to say they had a cancellation and would I like the op on Saturday, 3rd December! Of course I accepted straight away! Fingers crossed I pass the pre op and Covid tests!

Being realistic this still means my visit to Uganda will be during our summer months rather than spring but it’s sounding more hopeful.

CHRISTMAS!🎄Yes my Christmas shopping will be an online affair this year as I don’t want to be responsible for tripping other customers up with my crutches! As usual I will be sending my Christmas greetings online too and donating 50p for every local card not sent and £1 for one that would’ve needed postage, so that should help school funds a quite a bit. I’m grateful to my friend Anne who has offered to do the same this year too. Thanks Anne. If anyone fancies joining us I’d be grateful, and of course the environment will be too!

That’s about all for now. Thanks for your support to help keep Good Luck Junior School running next year, and hoping that you can squeeze a bit more out to help me help Innocent please.

Love and many thanks to you all xxx

PS – Some of you know my story from the beginning but many have joined in recent years. If you are one of the ‘newer’
supporters and would like to know a bit more about particular parts of my history in Uganda or particular people, for instance my story with Patrick or how and why I got to know Innocent, please just ask.

Graduation Day at Good Luck Junior School

*Nursery graduation 🎓at Good Luck Junior School!*

I wanted to share these wonderful videos before I say anything more as it felt so good to see the little school you helped to build and are now helping to keep open, celebrating!

*Innocent reports* (with a few comments from me in brackets). ‘The band lead the young graduates 🎓, teachers, parents and many locals (they love a party!), as they moved around the village advertising the school and inviting everyone to a meeting at the school. (I’m picturing this and smiling as I’ve witnessed and been caught up in these joyous processions several times!)

‘The pupils entertained the guests with song, dance and a special poem by the nursery graduates 🎓. Even the staff did some entertainment! There were speeches from chairmen of the four zones around and the head of security from the nearest town who promised to be by our side as we built GLJS. He also called upon the locals to support the school by bringing more pupils and meeting their responsibility.

‘They all asked me to pass on their sincere thanks to you for the great support. Head teacher Ibra in his speech also thanked me and madam Ann hambridge for good work well-done for GLJS. (Ann is my middle name!)

‘There was also fund raising for the construction of an office and a a kitchen. (At the moment the meals for the children are cooked out in the open making them vulnerable to whatever the weather throws at them and is very uncomfortable for the cook who is exposed to the strong sun for long hours.) 134,800 Ugx (£30) was collected on fund raising.

‘The cake was cut then the chief guest issued out certificates to the graduates 🎓. Then we had lunch. (The chief guest was a lecturer from the college Ibrahim attended.)

It sounds like it was a wonderful day for the school and hopefully will put more pupils on the register at GLJS especially those who have been denied an education so far.

More news soon.

Parents and other members of the community gather for the village celebration

The graduates 🎓perform a poem. (Very difficult to hear!)

Very short but shows the smart children better!

The Top Class of the Nursery receive their certificates

‘Even the staff gave entrainment, this was the cook’!

Notice members of the audience giving her the odd coin or two. I can remember being encouraged to join in one of these ceremonies and being given coins too! 🤣

Easyfundraising!

[22/11/2022, 11:17:28] Gerry Hambridge: So far this has raised almost £300! Please consider signing up, it’s really easy and loads of shops and online companies qualify. Thanks Gerry

Hi there! Great news, we’ve been paid by easyfundraising! Thanks to everyone who’s helped make a BIG difference and please keep raising donations for us with all your Black Friday and Christmas shopping! If you’re not supporting us yet, it’s a free and easy way to help during these difficult times! Plus, for a limited time, once you’ve raised your first £10, easyfundraising will double it! Visit: https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/geraldinehambridge/payments/6cd195?utm_medium=social&utm_source=whatsapp&utm_campaign=qp-nov-22&utm_term=Q3221&utm_content=socialshare

Thanks to those who have signed up. 🤗
I’ve been asked if there is a way to remember when you purchase an item to check if the retailer donates to easyfundraising, there is! Hubby Norman says – When you sign up to easyfundraising you can download the app to your device which will tell you if the online shop donates to easyfundraising which helps him remember! Easypeasy! Thanks again x😊

Good news!

Good news! We are almost half way there! Yes, nearly half the funds needed to keep Good Luck Junior School open for one year have been donated! THANK YOU 😊

Dear friends, since I launched this challenge at the beginning of October, less than a month ago, I’ve had a wonderful response from many of you, with different ways you wanted to donate. Some of you have chosen a one off payment, others opting to have a monthly standing order and several asking to sponsor children or teachers for a specific period. Whichever way you’ve chosen, it is wonderful! THANK YOU 😊 Video and photos attached at end of post. Enjoy 😊

One friend has already received photos of the two children she’s sponsored who are the same age as her own grandchildren, Alice 9 and Theo 5. She tells me her grandchildren were thrilled to be connected to their knew friends Safina and Sadat, and loved the photos of their friends and the messages they sent to them. They are busy replying!

So, if my maths is correct, as of today 2/11/22, and using the recent 4421 UgSh to £1 exchange rate to show Ugandan Shillings, we have raised –

£1652 (7,303,492 UgSh) of the

£3393 (15,000,000 UgSh)

needed. But we still need £1741 to fund the school for the year. I have included the total of the standing orders in these figures.

The new Ugandan school year starts in January so we still have time to raise the remainder needed. If you have not done already please consider helping keep the school open. Thank you

Other news. As you know, with help from friends and additional funds raised by dog boarding, we also sponsor several young people in Uganda. The eldest of these Paul, is at uni in his last year of a clinical science and community health course. He and his fellow students are on their last placement before they sit the final exams in the new year. They and us were very shocked to hear some of them, including Paul, have been sent to a hospital in Fort Portal, towards the border with the Congo, where two medics recently died of Ebola, and numbers are increasing in the area! As you can imagine we are very worried about him and he admitted to being scared when he last messaged me. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

Emma too, has a very important time ahead as he takes his Ugandan National Primary Leavers Exams next week, hoping the results will lead to promotion to secondary school which is not an automatic right in Uganda. It’s been a difficult couple of years for Emma and his classmates as they have missed a lot of schooling due to Covid. At least we have been able to sponsor him whereas some of his friends have been denied their place at the school because, with the enormous hike in the cost of living, their parents now can’t afford the fees. We wish Emma all the best for his exams next week.

My personal news is that although I’m still hoping to go out to Uganda spring next year, it will all depend on the situation with Ebola which unfortunately is spreading, and also on my knee replacement. My operation was actually due today but unfortunately it has been postponed because I have a too low salt count in my blood! Apparently it can cause problems with the healing process. I’ve been advised to eat more salt and drink less! So I’m a bit miserable at the moment as adding salt to my diet isn’t easy, and I have always had a big glass of water on the go so feeling rather thirsty! But, I have rediscovered eating celery sprinkled with salt which I always had as a child! I can hear my daughters now going ‘yuk’!! 🤣

I’m having another blood test mid November and hope the results show I’m going in the right direction. Otherwise I shall just have to eat more crisps!

Thank you for your continued interest and support. Please, if you can donate to help keep Good Luck Junior School open so the 126 children receive an education, a meal every day and the care and attention they deserve, then please get in touch. 🤗

Gerry x

The children at Good Luck Junior School say hello!
Children in P1 during lunch break. Notice the home made educational charts around the classroom
Headteacher Ibrahim addressing the children. In the background one of the classroom blocks you helped to build!
The staff room under the mango tree! Ok until it rains!!
A friend for Theo
And for Alice
Paul, hopefully qualifies next year and gets a job to help the community
He’s a natural!
Emma with his mum. At the time he was on treatment for malaria
Studying hard towards his graduation to secondary school next year
Emma at home with his mum and neighbours
I can’t wait to get back to Uganda and so hoping that we will succeed to keep the school open. Thank you so much for any help you’ve been able to give. 🙏