My first 2023 Uganda update, rather long but I hope interesting!

1 – Two operations

2 – Ebola

3 – Good Luck Junior School

4 – Progress of our sponsored students!

1 – Two operations!

Dear friends sorry for the delay in writing an update, it’s been a difficult couple of months. I won’t give you the gory details but just tell you that Innocent and I have both survived! Innocent’s experience 4000 miles away in Uganda was very different to mine in a modern hospital in the UK but I think he probably moaned less than me, they’re made of tougher stuff out there!!

Soon after the operation Innocent went back to his village to recuperate with his mum helping to care for him just as she did in hospital where the nurses don’t play a caring role as they do here. You only get fed, washed, etc if a member of your family are there to look after you! Often you see whole families camped outside hospitals while their loved ones are having treatment inside.

Innocent will return to the hospital for a check up and possibly some physio sometime soon. Knowing him he’ll be very frustrated not being able to carry out work round his farm and be the usual hands-on dad and carer for his family. He’s being seriously nagged by me regularly to be patient and let his body heal after the trauma it’s suffered over the last few months. Obviously I would love him never to get anymore seizures but being realistic I know I can only hope sincerely that he gets no more before his arm is strong enough to take the falls! Any prayers and thoughts for him will be appreciated.

I will always be so grateful to Bosco who found a qualified surgeon to operate on Innocent after the terrible experience he had using ‘local’ method of repairing broken bones! He was very very scared about the anaesthetic though, believing he wouldn’t wake up again. The local ways used no anaesthesia and just involve daily massage and bandages made taught by turning sticks!

It was good that I ended up having my operation a day before Innocent as it encouraged him to go ahead too, though Bosco said it was rather touch and go right up until the last minute especially as he had been listening to people in his village had been discouraging him by talking about the benefits of traditional medicine and witchcraft! But I really felt Innocent and I were there for each other!

Looking a lot better than before the op!
Innocent with his elderly grandma and looking much happier with his new arm!

2 – Ebola – the good news is that the restrictions caused by the Ebola outbreak have been lifted and schools are opening again, which is the beginning of the Ugandan school year.

3 – Good Luck Junior School
I sent money to Innocent to pay the teachers at Good Luck Junior School half wages for December and will be doing the same this week for January. This encourages them to turn up promptly at the start of term! Ugandan’s are not known for their time keeping!!

Registration for pupils has started but Innocent tells me ‘actually registration in the villages here is done mostly when school starts, this is when the parents feel that responsibility more.’ Although between you lovely supporters and Norman and I, we now have enough money to subsidise the fees of the children for another six months so the teachers will continue to be paid and the children will get a meal every day! The parents don’t know money is coming from the UK. We know most will not be able to pay full fees and some maybe not able to pay anything at all at the moment. But this is all kept private so that there will be no jealousy! Everyone is encouraged to pay what they can and Ibrahim the head teacher, knows each family’s circumstances.
Innocent commented that ‘all are trying their best as they want their children to receive an education.’ Parents told him that they really wanted to ‘clear their fees but with the current crisis it is impossible’ and that they ‘have now stopped buying sugar and salt because of the cost! Thanks to all of you who have and still are helping this little school survive giving the children in this village an education they wouldn’t have been able to have. Realistically I know we can’t keep subbing the school for ever but would like to give them a year or two more support to give them the opportunity to work out they can stand on their own.

With Innocent’s health problems he has only been able to visit the school once where he witnessed the building of foundations for an office/staff room being built. 130,000 (£30 approx) had been raised at the nursery graduation ceremony at the end of November and Ibrahim decided to start the construction.
Innocent wrote: ‘Ibra decided to start brick laying so we could have some bricks ready for the construction by the end of the long holiday however the money that was raised isn’t enough to even fund the brick laying project, as of now 3,000 bricks have been laid.
‘In the brick laying project Ibra needed to pay boys who help in things like; digging the soil, preparing the soil, laying down the bricks , fetching water and after the bricks are laid and are dry enough to be burnt wood is bought to do the burning.’
They haven’t got very far with their building project but I always admire them trying to improve the school themselves. Hopefully once the school is in a more stable position eg all fees are being paid by the parents, we might be able to help them develop the school more, but the financial position for most people is very difficult out there.

The children will be looking forward to going back to school

4 – Our sponsored students
The five young people we sponsor with help from some of you, also go back to school. All are progressing well. One, Emma, has passed his exams to go up to secondary school. This is a big achievement for Emma as he is 3 years behind his peers having started primary school late, and along with Covid and his own health problems he’s had a big job on his hands. It’s wonderful knowing that we are giving these sponsored children the possibility of a better future which they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Looking back on photos of Emma since I first met him

This is Emma. I woke up to find him at the bottom of my bed chasing this goat out of the little mud house I slept in when I stayed with his family for Christmas one year!
I had taken him some popcorn from the nearest town. He shared it with his best friend who was very scared of me, a Muzungu (white woman)! I remember they ate it very slowly because it was such a treat.
Emma under the family jackfruit tree. They never went hungry during the jackfruit and mango season!
Emma with some of his friends. Notice the machete he is carrying. They soon learn how to use them and do lots of jobs around the home and farm!
Emma and I walking back from their garden (fields)
Emma off to school on a boda taxi bike, with everything he needs for the term including his mattress
This photo was taken early 2020, the last time I was in Uganda 🇺🇬
With his mum and neighbours and below collecting water from the borehole

Emma’s certificate qualifying him for secondary school! The search is now on to find him a suitable secondary school!

Paul – This week Paul, currently our eldest sponsored student took his final exams at uni. He has had his struggles too but has done amazingly well. We will still need to support him as he awaits his results, applies for his licence to practice and then looks for a job. You would think with doing a course in Clinical Medicine and Community Health he would get a job no worries but it doesn’t work that way in Uganda! The country desperately needs more medics but, just like here in the UK, the Ugandan government doesn’t like to spend money! There are many private facilities in Uganda but most workers are extremely poorly paid with very long hours and very few days off, maybe only one every two weeks! Also these establishments don’t offer ways to progress in your career or have anything like pension schemes. Hopefully Paul will be the lucky one and get a government job! Enjoy the photos looking back on him over the years.

Paul stood at the back of his brothers on the motorbike that took me to his village for Christmas
On his way to school. Seems a long time ago now!
Writing a letter to one of his sponsors
Washing up at home
Working at the field clinic
At home spraying the beans and below helping his mum harvest maize. The drought has been long so yield was low, again!
Paul, with the red tie, with colleagues looking very happy and relaxed after finishing their exams!

Latest news from Innocent who as you know helps me with my projects (we previously sponsored him through uni but no one will employ him because of his epilepsy!) He’s just had another X-ray and it showed his bones mended. Relief all round! The doc says because his arm is very strong he can start lifting 5kg and then after another two months 100kg! Innocent has asked me to thank those of you who helped my hubby and I pay for his operation. Well worth the £800 it cost to prevent him losing his arm and being crippled for life, an enormous disadvantage when you are a farmer!
I am very grateful too as without Innocent I couldn’t carry on with my projects. I also live in his little house while in Uganda. No running water or electric but Innocent and his family make my stay as comfortable as possible.

Hope you’re still with me!

I’ve just had a very happy and heart felt message from Paul!
‘Hello mum and dad
How are you doing today? I do hope today it’s a very beautiful day for you over there. It’s sunny over here, very bright and joyful I can say.
Today I have written my last exam which was my research defence and hopefully I think I have passed it as I gave it my best.
‘I would love to wholeheartedly leave this sincere message here reading that ‘am very grateful and thankful to you all for everything you have sacrificed for me to reach this level of my education. Even in the hardest times, u didn’t let me down, u were there for me. Sent me everything I needed for school in time, am heartful very appreciative for everything. I don’t even know where I would be without your support, you have given me everything that I don’t think I will ever be able to repay in any way possible.
‘We’ll The only thing I do is pray to God to bless endlessly each time I kneel down to pray, I know mum isn’t in a good condition currently but I know you are strong lady and will get through this.
I love you so much and I thank you so much for everything🙏🤓🤓🤓 Paul’.

I am so proud and happy at what Paul has achieved even though he started primary school late, couldn’t speak English which is necessary as all lessons and exams are in English, and had never owned a book living in a home and village where no one could read.
It is so rewarding sponsoring children through their school days in Uganda, allowing them to go to a good school where they get the education they deserve. If a child doesn’t have a father they are classed as orphans, mums traditionally stay at home looking after the family and farms and are unable to afford to go to a decent school. Paul, Emma and the other children we have sponsored over the years, come from very poor homes and before we intervened were lucky to get a meal every day. It’s wonderful watching them grow up from the children who have no way of climbing out of the poverty they were born into, and into a life of hope. We see them gain confidence in learning and giving them a much better start in life. Over the years with a little financial help when they leave school, collage or uni, all and of our students gained employment or started a business. One developed a taxi & tour business, another trained as a mechanic. One gained a degree in computer studies and another, who wasn’t keen on study, started a market stall in Kampala. Then there is Bosco who I often mention who is now a nurse as well as volunteering at a dental clinic. I keep in regular contact with some of the young people who help me with my projects and who I often rely on when I go to Uganda!

If any of you think you would like to get involved with helping one of the children we sponsor in Uganda please get in touch. The rewards on both sides are immense!

Well that’s about all the news from me. Thanks to all of you who support my projects in Uganda 🇺🇬, you’re helping make a difference to people’s lives!

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.

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!

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! 🤣


[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:

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. 🙏