June newsletter part 3 – Pigs, chickens, mangoes, snakes, etc. plus dates for your diary!

16 - Richmond Rovers FC donated footy strip to St James

Inter-School Activities The children at St James are becoming more and more involved with competition with other schools, most recently with sport and drama, in both cases doing very well. They wear with pride the donated football strip from Richmond Rovers and Poynton Football Clubs. This term they are taking part in singing and music events though they are lacking musical instruments, another challenge for us when the buildings are complete!

The pigs go on holiday! In February at the beginning of the school year James had to find temporary homes for the pigs and their offspring because he has employed two teachers and a cook who are Muslim and they were living at the school. Julius, the local brick maker and a close neighbour to the school, looked after the pigs. James has now found the staff accommodation elsewhere so our pigs are back in their rightful home in their recently built piggery. James is a very busy man having the big responsibility of looking after the children, the teachers and the animals, keeping them all happy!

George’s Den fills up again! My recent stay at St James was during the dry season in Uganda and James heard that a disease amongst chickens was spreading so he sold off all the chickens as they were likely to get it too. The risk has now passed and James is slowly re-stocking the chicken flock so those of you who have sponsored chickens will shortly be receiving a photo of your bird! He is trying a new breed of chicken called Kuroiler which apparently grows faster and lays more eggs! They are free-range, need no suppliments which would cost money and never stop to rest! Thanks for your sponsorship of the chickens and for those of you who sponsored goats and pigs too. The animal projects are crucial to St James and were started by Vernon buying ten goats way back in 2008!

Happy for rain! There has been a prolonged wet season which has enabled more planting of cassava, maize and sweet potatoes on the school land to help feed the children. All the land between the buildings will be cultivated, even inside any unfinished buildings will be used temporarily to maximize the growing area.

Sierra Exif JPEG

The maize looked very healthy but then deteriorated with the weather before it ripened

Using every spare piece of land including unfinished buildings to grow food!

The children working in the garden behind Hambridge Hall












Unfortunately much of the land around St James is swamp and gets water logged during the rains and during drought the texture of the soil is sandy and salty so not good for gardening! One day we hope to buy some additional land so that we can grow more food especially fruit and vegetables that we cannot grow at the moment.

Mangoes in Gerry’s Square! One fruit that is in plentiful supply this season is mangoes. They are everywhere so no-one is going hungry. Even the two big trees in Gerry’s Square under which James first started the school, are heavily laden. I hope they come again in December when I return to Uganda! Once you have tasted a mango straight off the tree the ones you buy in the UK are never the same!

Snakes! James reported that it had been so wet that snakes that normally live in the swamp are coming out onto the school compound and that they had already killed three poinsonous ones! The children keep the compound swept as clean as possible to prevent snakes hiding in any debri and I can see now just how important it is to do this!

Keeping the compound free of debris prevents snakes from hiding!

Parents help! The parents of the great majority of the children who come to St James are very poor and a few are destitute and unable to pay the tiny school fees so they come and help with the gardening and animals, or donate such things as firewood in exchange for their children coming to school. James is going to identify more parents who need this help and get them involved in other jobs around the school.

Official Opening of St James postponed! James and I had proposed to hold the official opening of St James In February 2016 but we now realise this would not be a good idea as it is the Ugandan Presidential Election and a time of possible unrest or worse. I had the unfortunate experience of travelling through Kampala to the airport a few days before the 2011 elections and it was very frightening! I will let you know when we decide on another date for the opening.

James has become a grandad again! Faith Joy Elizabeth was born last month, the third of James’ granddaughter to be named after his late wife Joy.

My friend, James Mutyaba. Without James’ love, care and sheer hard work many of the children in Nakakabala would still not be going to school. James sends his thanks to you and all his other friends in the UK for standing by him all the way. And a very big thank you from me too!

Dates for your diary! Saturday 18th July and Sunday 19th July (12-5pm)

167 Bramhall Moor Lane, Hazel Grove, Stockport, SK7 5BB. 0161 483 2704
Angela and David Brannan, friends and supporters of St James, are opening their garden as part of The National Garden Scheme to raise money for St James! I will be there serving tea and cakes and generally enjoying myself so please come along and join us for an hour or two in their beautiful garden.

Thank you once again for your interest and support for St James. It is now over seven years since it opened its ‘doors’ to the children of Nakakabala who were not getting any education. Many of these children went on to secondary school and all of them, without doubt benefitted from however long they attended and I am sure that when the time comes they will make sure their own children go to school! Education IS the route out of poverty!

I would love to hear your comments on our St James and our wonderful achievements so far and if you can sponsor a desk or an animal, or offer a donation for Gem’s bike ride to Berlin, then I and all those at St James and in the community with be very grateful.

Asante sana!

Hope to hear from you soon.

Love Gerry

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