Schools are opening!

Dear Friends, a belated Happy New Year to you all!For once I don’t have any bad news for you, only good!

Firstly the schools in Uganda DID open on Monday! Good Luck Junior School, the school many of you have helped to rebuild recently, since I used the school as a base for delivering mosquito nets and sanitary wear at the beginning of 2020 and found the buildings in a really desperate condition, is back, though registration has been slow as parents are finding it difficult to find the money to pay the small fees necessary to run the school, such as to pay the teachers.

I’m really happy though, that your response to my appeal to help with the salaries for the teachers for the first six months (only £23 pm!) has been wonderful as usual! Ibrahim, the headteacher, needed to encourage the teachers back as they’ve not had any pay for two years and some were doing other jobs to prevent their own families going hungry. It’s been a real struggle for the majority of people in Uganda during the pandemic. It’s early days yet but hopefully over the next few weeks more children will be able to come to school as I know for certain they will want to, especially with the wonderful improvements we’ve been able to do to the classrooms and latrines!

Alex and Emma, two of the young people a few of you and my husband and I support, went back to school after two years with no education, certainly no online teaching and only the few books I’ve managed to take out over the years and I’m sure their enthusiasm for those must have waned pretty quickly when their village friends will have been busy playing footy with whatever spare time they had between working on the land and fetching water from the borehole!

They’ve gone up into the correct classes but having missed so much work they have lots to catch up on as well as this years’ lessons! They’ve both got a big challenge ahead of them especially Emma who is due to take the National Leavers Exams in November which he has to pass to be able to go onto secondary school this time next year.

The Ugandan government has lengthened all the school terms this year to accommodate the extra work needed but that is still going to be a very big challenge for teachers and the children! And no half-term or Easter breaks for them this year either!

The other student we are sponsoring, Emma’s big brother Paul, has returned to uni for his final year studying Clinical Medicine & Community Health. His ‘requirement’ list for this year included medical equipment such as stethoscope and BP machine reminded me of the good work he will be doing in the villages of Uganda once he qualifies! With help, we’ve been sponsoring Paul since 2008 and it’s been so rewarding seeing him grow from a shy scared boy who could hardly read, into a hardworking, caring young man who is so keen to help his community.

I’m still hoping to go to Uganda at the end of this year but of course it all depends on the pandemic. More adults out there are get their vaccinations now but of course no one knows which way this virus will turn! So I will just have to be patient and carry on funds raising for what I can organise from here. The most important at the moment is to raise money for the teachers salaries so the bills for Good Luck Junior School are reduced and more children can get back to where they love to be, at school! If you would like to help with the salaries it costs just £23 a month per teacher.

Thanks for all your support last year, you’re amazing! 🤗

Great news, a baby for Christmas!

Welcome to this world Geraldine Ann Nantale!

‘Thanks be to God for he has given us a baby girl’ – I received this happy message on Monday 20th December from my friend who is also the wonderful man who helps me with my projects in Uganda. Congratulations to Innocent and Betty!

And then today –

‘Hello mum G, I have named my daughter. GERALDINE ANN NANTALE I will always remember the love you have shown me. Thank you for that love.’

When I received this message this morning I felt a mixture of love and pride, and was quite emotional. Only wish I was in Uganda!

Happy Christmas to you all!

(Nantale is the clan surname for all girls)

Don’t the desks look wonderful!

Don’t they look great? The desks and blackboards are complete and have been delivered to the school awaiting the opening of the new school year at the beginning of February. I bet the children can’t wait to come back, they love school and will have had no education in two years because of Covid. Thanks for providing them with six new classrooms, 8 new latrines and all the lovely desks and blackboards. You’re amazing! I hope you enjoy all the photos and videos. I’ll be sending photos of the individual desks to those of you who sponsored them.

Innocent will return to the school next year to bring us an update when the school reopens and the school becomes a busy happy place once again. Wish I could be there!! X

The children will live reading these sayings. Other desks had the names of those who donated them or if someone they were dedicated too.
The old blackboards were few, small and very worn out. They had to be shared amongst the classes!

Each of the six classrooms have a big new blackboard hung up so it won’t get damaged like the old ones that were moved from class to class

Brilliant news!

The remaining desks are well on their way to being completed.
This week Nico has been working with carpenters near where he lives in Nawanyago rather than in the big town of Kamuli where he had been having his carpentry training. Innocent and I are hoping that as people in his local community see that although Nico is deaf and non-speaking, he is a lot more capable than just for collecting water from the borehole. Though it is a very difficult time for everyone in Uganda at the moment with the Covid restrictions so limiting and jobs of any kind are few and far between. In fact many families are going hungry, in fact Innocent tells me that Nico’s family only has one meal a day, and that will be very basic. I’ve asked Innocent to pay Nico for his work, his first ever real wages. I also asked Innocent to spend 50,000 Ugandan Shillings (approx £10) to buy some staple food for Nico’s family of nine. This bought 10kg of rice, and 15kg of posho which is ground maize that they steam in banana fronds over a charcoal stove. Hopefully this will help feed the family for a few weeks.

Once the desks are completed they will be transported to the school and be labelled. As you see by the photos Innocent has now got the blackboards made and Nico is busy helping to put two coats of black paint on them. Rather different from the interactive whiteboards every classrooms in the UK have! I wonder what the children in Uganda would think or them!

Thanks for all your amazing support. The children are going to be very happy once the Ugandan government give permission for the schools to open once again, hopefully at the beginning of February, the start of their school year.

Nico helping make the desks. They have set up workshop in Innocent’s bar, Wallet Pup, which has been closed since lockdown started in March 2020! This was Innocent’s main form of income.

Love the goat 🐐! Love the sounds, the atmosphere of Uganda. This trading centre is not far from Innocent’s home where I live when I’m in Uganda.

Once they get the opportunity to earn some money to feed their families, the work is soon completed!