Dental Outreach comes to St James

Dear Friends

I am trying a different way of sending news about St James.

I used the video of my digital camera for the first time this visit and have been putting the footage on You Tube. The results are not perfect but I hope they give you a good idea of my experiences in Uganda. Please let me know what you think.

 

SLIDE SHOW

 Click here to see the Slide show – There are no medical or dental facilities in the area of St james so it is wonderful when we can get one of the Dental Outreach groups to call and offer free treatment.

 

VIDEO FOOTAGE

1 Alex arranged for a Dental Outreach Charity to come to St James and Nakakabala offering free dental treatment as there are no medical or dental facilities for miles around. This was the third time they had come to St James and I was glad I was here to witness it. Alex and two of his younger brothers were involved, Mike with interpreting and Ivan helping with the cleaning and sterilising of equipment. Everyone was given a number and James was No 3, he had to have a tooth out!

Click here to watch the video

 

2 Using a giant toothbrush and set of teeth Alex gave a talk on dental hygiene to all who came. I wonder how many cannot afford toothpaste or even a toothbrush!

Click here to watch the video

 

3 Ivan was in charge of cleaning and sterilising the equipment after each patient. Innocent turned up, you see him briefly!

Click here to watch the video

 

4 James’ turn for a check up and at first the dentist complimented him on his teeth but unfortunately he had to have one extracted! Poor thing!

Click here to watch the video

 

5 Poor James had to have a tooth extracted!

Click here to watch the video

 

6 A very elderly lady came to see the dentist. James introduced me to her, she was Julius’s Mama, grandmother. When she greeted me her hands were frozen and she looked cold too. I gave her a gift of a shawl that a friend had donated.

Click here to watch the video

 

7 Julius’ Mama, grandmother, asked me to walk her home where I sat with her family and was handed a young baby, the newest member of the family. Then Julius told me his sister wanted me to name her baby boy. I could only think of one name at the time and that was Norman, so this little baby in Nakakabala has been named after my lovely husband. I hope he likes his name! I also hope Norman is a lucky name as many parents don’t name their babies until they are older as so many of them die.

Click here to watch the video

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WONDEFUL NEWS FROM ST JAMES!

Dear Friends

I still have quite a few newsletters to write up from my recent stay in Uganda but today I got some news that I can’t wait to tell you!

I called James as I had not spoken to him since being back. He was thrilled when he heard my voice as he was bursting to tell me something. Last week he got the results for St James’ pupils National Leaving Exams they took in November. EVERY eligible child from St James passed and the majority got 2nd Super Grade which is amazing!

There is only one grade above this and that is a 1st Grade. We have had a few first grades in the past but this to me is more rewarding, seeing most of the children achieving good results. Its not been an easy year at St James either as we have had lots of problems with staffing, children unable to pay their fees and adverse weather which prevented James harvesting enough food.

James says every child will be able to go up to secondary school too which is wonderful too. AND I have just remembered that 2004 was the first year that our children sat their exams at St James as it was awarded NUEB status (National Uganda Exam Board).

I feel so happy for James as he works so hard and really cares for every child.

He also tells me that he has all the staff he needs for this year and that the children have started to arrive and school doesn’t officially open until the 2nd Feb!

Now I must get down to more fund raising to help him in the only way you and I can do and that is by continue to build the school classrooms, dormitories, clinic, etc. etc. Still lots to do but I feel that you are with me on this journey and will not let me or our friends in Uganda down.

Thanks for all you have done so far and PLEASE keep up your friendship and support for St James.

Love Gerry x

Thank you for the 200 new desks for the children of St James!

Dear Friends of St James

I have been home from Uganda for just over a week and gradually settling down again though I always find it far more difficult than settling into my Ugandan life! I hope you had a lovely Christmas. I was greedy and had six Christmas’s! I had a wonderful time in Uganda though very different from my usual as the children were all on school holidays. I took out books to read, music to listen to, videos to watch but never used any of them as I was too busy having fun!

It was really good to be able to spend more time with friends and ‘family’. I spent a total of a week with one of our Ugandan ‘daughters’ Florence in Kampala, at the beginning and end of my stay, and then with my other young friends in between, many like Florence have been helped with their education by my family and friends. But mostly I was living with James and this enabled us to talk a lot about St James and try and iron out some issues. The school holidays also allowed James to take me on ‘tours’ of places of interest in Uganda as we had done for him when he came to the UK!

It was great to catch up with all that has been happening at St James and seeing Hambridge Hall in use was wonderful. James and I would like to thank all of you so much for raising money to buy 200 desks, fifty for each of the four classes in the hall.

I hope that one day there will be a desk for every child at St James! As you see by the attached photos many of you asked for your desks to be named and we gave the job to a local unemployed man who wanted to earn money to help feed his family. I wonder what the children will make of the names on their desks when they return to school next week at the start of the new school year.

I have also attached the YouTube link to a video I took inside Hambridge Hall showing the four classrooms and the new desks. We still have to finish the walls, and more importantly put in the ceiling. We would like to do the ceiling as soon as we can find the money as the pounding of the heavy rain on the metal roof during the wet season is so loud that teaching becomes impossible. Also now St James is a National Exam Centre the noise will not help those trying to concentrate on their Primary Leaving Exams every November!

Thank you once again for all your interest and support for St James. If you know anyone who could help us out with raising money for the ceiling please let me know. For instance, do you know anyone in the building industry that might like to sponsor the completion of the classroom block by building the ceiling and/or finishing the walls? The children and teachers at St James would be forever grateful to them and you!

Thanks again for all the interest and support for the children at St James Junior School, Nakakabala, Uganda.

Will be in touch again soon with more of the newsletters that I am writing up!

Love Gerry x

Click here to watch the video of the classrooms and desks

I’m home!

Dear Family and Friends

I arrived home yesterday, tired and dirty (clean dusty dirt!) but happy after a wonderful holiday. Yes it was a holiday compared with my usual ‘working’ holiday to St James! But it was just as much ‘hard work’ having fun all the time!

As I may have mentioned earlier I have quite a few stories to tell you about my stay and as soon as I can I will forward them to you. I expected my five weeks stay to be quiet and uneventful but it was far from that!

Thanks again to all of you who have kept in touch and donated to Joy Clinic. I will update you with the progress of that too.

Will be in touch again soon.

Love Gerry x

On my way home… gradually

Dear Friends and Family

Yesterday I said a sad goodbye to James and Innocent and all those I have come to love over the last few years. There were many hugs, shaking heads and tears but I know I will be back with them in 13 months time God willing as my friends here say. I have had a wonderful holiday, and I call it a holiday as it has been so different to my usual visits where I spend most of my time teaching at St James. This visit I have been shown parts of Uganda I have never been to, met many new people and spent special times and for longer with my friends.

When I was packing for Uganda I put in several books to read and my husband put lots of music on two Ipods all because we feared I would be bored. I have not read one word or listened to any music as I have been so busy having fun, most of the time! There has been a lot I know you will be interested in hearing about but with lack of free time, power and network my news has built up but I will catch up I promise as I love sharing with you the wonderful place Uganda is and the wonderful people I meet. In fact both power and network are great here in Kampala so I might be making the most of them!

As I write this I am looking over the tops of Kampala city with all the usual city noises, strange to my ears after the silence of Nakakabala. I am staying with Florence and Judith again and also Florence’s very lively and amusing nephew Joshua, who had me dancing to Ugandan music in my night shirt last night! They are both asleep on a mattress beside the comfy bed I’ve been given though a while ago Flo sensed I was awake, got up and made me tea and then went back to sleep! I do get looked after!

I will be here until late Saturday when I fly back to the UK arriving 10 am Sunday. I hope you will order some sunny mild weather for my arrival!

Love to you all