Next, Emma (Emmanuel) Paul’s younger brother who has had no schooling since his primary school closed in March. He’s been back home living with his mum in the village and is finding it difficult to keep an interest in his studies when most of the other children in his village don’t go to school. Emma’s favourite pastime is playing football! I took two footballs out for him in January, a gift from a sponsor, (thank you Helen and Joshua!). He has already worn one ball out on the rough stony ground he plays on! His mum says he isn’t allowed to play with his friends though, until he finishes his chores such as collecting water from the borehole, taking the goats to pasture, digging, playing and other work in the garden! Earlier in the pandemic Emma and Paul made a hand washing facility called a tip-tap, basically a small jerrycan hung on a rough wood frame which is worked by a foot ‘pedal’. They made a tip-tap so that they could wash their hands easier and more safely.
Primary schools are due to be opened again in early February, the beginning on the Uganda school year so let’s hope that the pandemic allows this to happen as Emma and his classmates have already missed a whole year of education.

Emma with big brother Paul when Paul visited Emma at school.

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News about my young friends in Uganda

Now an update on the young people my husband and I support, along with help from several wonderful sponsors. Paul, Emma, Alex, Nico and Innocent.

Firstly Paul: Since March when the virus hit Uganda, and up until three months ago, Paul had been at home in his outlying village living with his mum but was continually worrying about missing out on his uni studies and training. He is studying Clinical Medicine and Community Health. The university was sending out study notes but the remoteness of Paul’s home is such that it’s often difficult to get a signal for mobile phones and especially not to download lots of material. This, added to the problem of charging his laptop, was making it very difficult for him. Though his mum and little brother Emma love having him at home and he’s a great help in the garden (farm), he jumped at his older brother Bosco’s suggestion that he move to the large town of Jinja and work alongside him at the hospital. Bosco is a nurse who has also previously had our help with his education.
At first I was a bit dubious as it would be taking Paul into a less safe environment with the Covid situation. But after talking to Paul and hearing how he felt I realised he couldn’t just sit back and wait for this pandemic to pass. I’m happy to say that Paul is finding the work at the hospital very interesting and fulfilling. I was amazed that within a couple of weeks he was giving immunisations and doing procedures such as attaching cannulas! He tells me he was particularly nervous giving a vaccination to his first baby! I am sure all the experience will benefit him in the future. Importantly he is now able to keep up with his studies too and is preparing for his return to university in early January, though I’m still rather doubtful about this actually happening but do hope all goes to plan for him.

It’s worth one mosquito net!

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Making masks in Uganda!

Firstly, I’m sure you remember my friend Patrick who was one of the initial people I worked with when I first went to Uganda in 2002 and who, over the years, has become a valued friend of mine. In fact he manned his first child after me, Gerry Mukisa (Mukisa means Blessed. What an honour! It’s Gerry Mukisa’s 12th birthday today!

The first time I met Gerry Mukisa in 2008

Now at 12 years old, she is a great help to her parents helping with her siblings and loves going to school too

Patrick and his wife Kevin now run a workshop in Kampala, for women who for some reason or other were denied an education when they were younger. They teach their students basic reading, writing and accounts and also give them skills such as simple tailoring so they have a better chance of gaining employment.

Two years ago, as well as making the usual items of clothing, I had asked Patrick if the ladies could make reusable sanitary towels which I gave out to those in desperate need when I delivered the mosquito nets earlier this year. They were a great success and put smiles on lots of faces as managing without sanitary pads is a nightmare as you can well imagine! During the pandemic Patrick tells me he has, very sensibly, made the production of masks a priority and I’m sure will keep this up for as long as they are needed. Amazing work on behalf of the people in his community and beyond. I would like us to support him in this vital work if possible by giving him a donation towards the material for the masks.

We also support four students. Paul and his younger brother Emma at primary school, Alex at secondary school , and Nico who is profoundly deaf. News about these young men next.

Busy making masks for the community

Update on Uganda

Dear Friends
It’s been a while since I wrote to you but things have still been moving on in Uganda, though in different directions to those planned before the outbreak of COVID.

As a country they are not reporting big numbers of people affected but
things aren’t always as they first appear and speaking to my friends out there who live in ‘the real world’ things are very different on the ground.

The young people we support have not been to school or uni since March as many of the institutions are being used to isolate those who have contracted COVID or been near someone with the virus. The patients are forced to stay in the isolation centres for fourteen days, quite rightly, and are supposed to be well cared for but if you don’t have money or family nearby to look out for you then you are left to go hungry! I can’t imagine how it would be if you got really sick and needing help such as ventilation as the majority of hospitals just do not have the facilities at the best of times.

The Ugandan government have been laying down rules and giving advice for staying safe and avoiding the spread of the disease but are completely ignoring them themselves as they encourage people to congregate in huge numbers at rallies to hear the politicians rallying for support for the country’s general election in January, and as with Trumps America nothing is more important!!

I’m just hoping and praying that the heat, often dry heat, of Uganda and the mainly outdoor life will keep the virus numbers low until a vaccination is available to all. The alternative is too frightening to contemplate!

News about my friends, the young people we support in Uganda, and my projects, to follow.