Welcome to the March edition of our Luwero Newsletter. The prevailing conditions in Uganda have made it difficult to maintain contact. However, Ernie and Gabriel persevered and managed to furnish us with the latest news.
Gabriel, Deborah and the four girls are all well. The triplets are now sitting up and going through the trauma of teething. As you can see below, they look the picture of health.
Sadly, Gabriel has lost close relatives (2 aunts, 1 uncle and 1 nephew) in the past two months. Please remember the Kijjambus and their relatives in your prayers.
At the time of writing, notified cases of coronavirus numbered 40,408 and deaths totalled 334. The accuracy of these figures cannot be guaranteed. Locally in Luwero, four pastors contracted coronavirus: two have survived and two have died. Some vaccinations are expected to become available in Uganda next week. A government programme commencing with the vaccination of teachers is planned, although there is a lot of rumour and misinformation circulating in the country about the vaccine. Uganda’s population is just over 46,500,000 with approximately two-thirds below the age of 24.
Funds continue to be sent to Gabriel to enable relief to be given to staff and pupils at the projects as well as the needs of local people with whom Gabriel has contact. We are indebted to those who continue to support the work at Luwero both prayerfully and practically.
Schools in Uganda face an uncertain future as a consequence of the Coronavirus. Some parents, because of unemployment, cannot afford school fees. In other situations, children who have not been at school for over 12 months have found work and have chosen to continue working. Some schools have closed and others have been sold because they are no longer viable in the changed circumstances.
Despite problems, the schools at Luwero continue to function. Sponsored children are returning and contact continues to be maintained with those who have yet to return. It is likely that all sponsored pupils will become boarders. The Board are continuing to support Gabriel and building work is continuing, albeit under coronavirus restrictions, to the boy and girl’s dormitories at the secondary school.
- P6, P7, S4 and S6, returned in January,
- S3 and S5 returned on 1st March,
- P4 and P5 will return on 12th April,
- S1 & S2 will return on 19th April and 21st June respectively,
- P1 to P3 will return on 21st
School exams for P7, S4 and S6 pupils take place between now and June. The academic year for all school years will move temporarily from January to December to the new arrangement from this year’s commencement dates for the school year until June/August 2022. In 2023 schools will revert back to the school year and calendar year coinciding.
The success of the farm continues with the news that the recent maize harvest yielded about 8 tons of maize!
This will provide food for the school children for the next two months. Please pray that the farm continues to thrive.
The church continues to meet under COVID19 restrictions. A 9.00 pm to 6.00 am curfew still applies across the country. People attending services need to comply with sanitising procedures, wear face masks and apply social distancing measures. Services are limited to 200 people, so two services are held on Sunday mornings. Mid-week Bible studies continue. The co-ordinating committee will meet in May for 3 days to plan ahead for conferences and youth camps in 2022 and 2023.
This year’s Pastor’s Conference has been cancelled, and whether a youth camp will be possible in September remains uncertain. Plans are afoot for preparing videos of Bible teaching sessions for use in Uganda with limited numbers attending.
Some political unrest followed the national elections which took place in January. This has now quietened down and the country is stable again.
We ask that you continue praying for:
- the Kijjambu family, and Gabriel in particular as he copes with the loss of his loved ones and supports those left behind,
- the pupils in their phased return to school,
- the continuing success of crops and livestock at the farm,
- continuation of the return to normal Ugandan peace and stability following the national election
- everyone involved in arranging future conferences and youth camps
- further afield in Uganda, as people continue to cope with the effects of COVID-19 and the negative impact it is having on their lives.