In February Gabriel contracted typhoid and was hospitalised for a while. He made a full recovery and is now back to normal and he is back leading all the aspects of the project.
I am delighted to inform you that the Luwero clinic has a new nurse. Her name is Joy Harriet. Nurse Joy replaces Nurse Rose who left Luwero following her marriage last November. We welcome her to the staff at the project and wish her well as she embarks upon her new post.
We have been working with a fellow charity, Rock Projects Uganda, who are building a clinic for their own ministry in Kampala. Early in February they despatched a container to Uganda and we were able to send some equipment to Luwero via the container. We are very grateful for their assistance. The container left Glasgow at the beginning of February. Its journey was disrupted by heavy storms initially but it is due to arrive in Kampala on or about 4th April. Goods for Luwero include primary school reading books, theological books for the Bible School, footballs and new baby clothes. About 18 months ago we were contacted by a supporter who owned a small industrial sewing machine and an overlocking machine. At the time, we were unable to ship the machines to Uganda, but the donor was willing to keep them until such time as we could. Six months ago, a retired tailor contacted us and said he wished to go to Luwero for approximately six weeks to teach children and staff sewing techniques. About the same time our friends at Rock Projects were preparing to send a container of equipment for their clinic. ‘All things work together for good …’ (Romans 8:28).
A team of 3 UK visitors were at Luwero during the first two weeks of March. Tom, his wife Eileen and colleague Terry (pictured) spent two weeks at the project meeting and encouraging all those involved in the work at Luwero. Tom is a keen Northampton Town supporter. Below, he and his wife are seen making presentations at the award ceremony. In addition, Tom also presented two local football teams with football strips for their entire squads. They were received with much jubilation by the team members.
On a more sombre note, the project has encountered some problems in recent months arising mainly from witchcraft. There has been an increase in witchcraft activity in some areas of Uganda, and Luwero has not been exempt. Some key members of staff have been forced to leave the project, not because of any involvement in witchcraft themselves, but due to external pressures and influences. This is a phenomenon with which we are unfamiliar in the UK. Wisdom and guidance need to be given to leaders handling such issues. Please pray for the protection of the folk of Luwero against such attacks.
COVID-19 is now affecting visitors to Uganda. As a consequence, two people who planned to visit at the end of March and a team of 11 people scheduled to go out in May have had to cancel their visits. Other visits in April (from Germany) and July are being cancelled. During Gabriel’s visit to the UK, a number of people expressed a desire to visit Luwero either in 2020 or 2021. Anyone planning to do so should contact the office to discuss alternatives given the current and continuing restrictions on travel. The May 2020 Pastor and Church Leaders Conference, Children’s Club and ICCU events have all been cancelled. The September 2020 Youth Camp is also under review and may be cancelled. Food prices have rocketed and long queues are evident at banks as people try to withdraw cash. Effectively, the country is in lockdown. At present we are monitoring the situation with Gabriel and will keep supporters advised of changes in the situation as time progresses. The Board is looking at a number of options to help support Gabriel and his ministry at this time. Many people have lost their jobs and there is no social security support or infrastructure from central government. Businesses have no responsibility to pay people who are unable to work. People who are suffering turn to the church as their only means of support.
The Ugandan government has closed all schools and banned all public meetings in Uganda for one month even though, at the time of the imposition of the ban, there were no reported cases of coronavirus in Uganda. The school term which has been aborted was due to end on 1st May with children returning to school on Monday 25th May. The situation may well change between now and then. Please pray that the pupils and their families are able to cope with the restrictions imposed upon them and that their absence from school will not be permanently detrimental to their education. Please pray especially that all of them return to school when it re-opens. Lack of family income and contact with the school could lead to a drastic fall in families sending their children to school and our prayers should be directed towards preventing this.
Kiltwalk 2020 Cancelled
Mass participation fundraising events across the UK, such as Scotland’s ‘Kiltwalk’, by which many supporters have made significant contributions to support the work at Luwero, have been cancelled because of COVID 19. To offset the drop in income as a consequence of the absence of these events, any supporters, donors and intended participants who would have been making a financial contribution are asked to consider making a donation to the projects using the existing methods, ie through the website or by post.