August Newsletter

August Newsletter

Annual Youth Camp

The 13th annual Youth Camp is scheduled for 9th to 14th September. This year’s theme is, ‘O Lord, enlarge my borders’ (1 Chronicles 4:10; The Prayer of Jabez); the theme is being developed with a series of studies on the life of Joshua.

The camp, as in previous years, is residential and will include workshops, sports, games, competitions, choirs, health programmes and community involvement. The speakers shown on the poster will be at the camp on various days, teaching, leading and running the all week’s programmes.

Gabriel has predicted that 1200 young folk – between the ages of 14 and 35 – will be in attendance.  Most of the delegates will be residential although some will attend daily.  Most will come from across Uganda, the others will travel from Rwanda, Kenya and South Sudan.

The camp will be advertised on local radio as well as through churches and locally displayed posters .

Ernie Bayton will again be speaking at 12-15 sessions including workshops over the 6 days. He will be joined this year by Peter Apolo, a Kenyan pastor and friend of Gabriel, whom he met when studying at Capernwray Bible School in Cumbria.   Peter plans to speak and lead a series of studies on the book of Ephesians

Thirty students from the ICCU (International Christian College, Uganda will attend at the same time as the youth camp but have their own programme led by local pastors.

Recent Visitors

Some of you may already be aware of the work done at the Project by the recent visitors from East Kilbride in Scotland.  During their two-week stay they achieved the following:

  • dental examinations and oral checks for all the pupils and many of the local villagers,
  • preparation of the senior boys’ dormitory to make it fit for habitation,
  • installation of sports courts – basketball, netball and volleyball courts
  • teaching of handicrafts in the vocational college – knitting and sewing,
  • teaching in the primary and secondary schools.
  • a pictorial overview of all the aspects of the Project.

If you would like to read about their visit in more detail, visit the News section of the website and take a look at the photographs in the new Luwero in Pictures section.

Gabriel Will Be Visiting Supporters

Gabriel plans to visit Germany and the UK this autumn. He will be in Germany for the first three weeks in October and in the UK during the last week in October through to mid-December. His UK itinerary is currently being planned and will include visits to Worthing, Northamptonshire, North West England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Anyone wanting Gabriel to visit their area should contact the office via the website.

 

The New Wells

Last August I reported that Luwero, like the UK, had experienced a shortage of rain and that some of the wells in the community had dried up.   I am delighted to inform you that the 2 new wells drilled over the summer months are working well and yielding a steady supply of fresh, clean water.  In addition, the recent rainfalls mean that the existing well outside the clinic is working well too.

School News

School pupils are busy preparing for their end of term exams. The school term finishes on 24th August and recommences at the end of September.

2020 Luwero Calendars

2020 Luwero Calendars will be available from October this year.  Details will be included in the next Newsletter.  As usual, copies can be ordered via the office.

Visitors from East Kilbride

Visitors from East Kilbride

We gathered in East Kilbride on the morning of Tuesday 2nd of July excited at the prospect of journeying together to Luwero via Edinburgh Airport, Istanbul Airport, Kigali in Rwanda and on to our ultimate destination of Entebbe Airport.  Little did we know what the journey had in store for us.

We were aware that the turnaround at Istanbul Airport was tight, just over 90 minutes, but were primed to make it work.  We were delighted to find that the gate we landed at was the same gate we were to depart from, meaning we did not have to negotiate the airport and the time pressure just disappeared.  As it turned out, the plane we had just disembarked from was to be the same plane we would be flying in for the remainder of our journey.

The onward flight passed without incident until we arrived at Entebbe Airport.  Imagine our horror when we discovered that our 40 cases had been removed from the plane at Istanbul and not put back on.  This was the same aeroplane remember!  We spend a total of 3 additional hours in the arrivals area completing forms individually to identify our luggage.  Having been told that it would be 2 days before we could be reunited with our luggage, we then engaged in a “full and frank exchange of views” with the manager and received an assurance that we would get them the following afternoon.  We were not happy. 

Deborah had arrived an hour early to meet us along with some others to help with the luggage.  She began to think that we had missed the flight until we managed to contact her via text message.  We eventually set off for Luwero for the 3 hour journey to the Project.

Our welcome was everything we expected and it was a delight to be back among Gabriel and his team.  Half of the party had been before and knew what to expect but the folk visiting for the first time were overwhelmed by the warmth of our reception.

Despite the assurance of the office manager at Entebbe, it took 2 days for 39 of the cases to arrive and 3 days for the last one.  Deborah managed to produce clothes for us to wear until our own arrived.

We had negotiated with Gabriel that we would undertake 6 main projects whilst we were in Luwero;

  • Dental examinations and oral checks,
  • Preparation of the senior boys’ dormitory to make it fit for habitation,
  • Installation of sports courts,
  • Teaching of handicrafts, knitting and sewing,
  • Teaching in the primary and secondary schools.
  • A pictorial overview of all the aspects of the Project.

I am delighted to report that we were very successful on all fronts.

Callum, our dentist, became a celebrity during our visit as he had a constant stream of patients from the school and the village of Kiryanyonza.  He worked tirelessly during our stay, supported by a variety of helpers, particularly Nurse Rose, who organised all the patients, and Gerard from the local hospital who acted as translator for some of the local villagers.  During the time he was there he extracted 427 teeth from 380 patients!  He reckons this is more “detoothing” than he has done in his practice in the last decade.  Callum hopes to put in place a series of yearly visits involving himself and  his colleagues from the practice, to ensure that the improvements in dental health will be sustained.

 

The major physical project was the preparation of the boys’ dormitory.  The first floor has been constructed but was only completed to a rough finish.  The dormitory comprises 4 rooms – a Housemaster’s room, two large dormitory rooms with shower blocks and a large store.  Roughly 80 metres long, it was to be a major undertaking to get it ready on time for its official opening on the Monday before we left.   The work comprised scraping and sandpapering the entire inside and outside of the building and the windows to get it to a level of finish where it could be whitewashed to reveal if it was ready for filling and painting.  Around a dozen of us worked all day for 8 days to scrape, sandpaper, apply 2 coats of whitewash, sand again and apply the final undercoat so that the painters could apply the final finishing coats.   It was extremely dirty, dusty, hot work – but we managed to persevere and get it completed.  You can see the transformation of the building in the accompanying photographs.

In our interactions with the schools we had a team of 3 secondary school Geography teachers who worked collaboratively with colleagues from Luwero Community Secondary School to plan and deliver a series of lessons on climate and weather.  All the teachers felt the benefit of the exercise and the pupils engaged well with the topics.  In the primary school, our Primary HT Julie worked closely with Headteacher Harriet to plan and deliver learning to the lower primary pupils.  The areas of similarity and difference were fertile discussion points for the two ladies.

Perhaps the most obvious difference to the appearance of the Project was to be seen in its sports facilities.  When we arrived, these consisted of a football pitch and an area for playing netball.  During the course of the 2 weeks the outside games area was transformed.  During this time we managed to measure out and line full-size basketball, netball and volleyball courts.  The netball hoops were replaced with regulation-sized hoops and the stands painted – one in Scottish colours and one in Ugandan colours.  With the help of several of the upper primary and secondary boys, we managed to dig and lay foundations for new volleyball posts and new basketball stands.  We had brought over new basketball hoops and nets and a new volleyball net.  Erecting the posts and stands involved us working late into the evening by the light of headlamps and arc lights to get the posts concreted into position and supported whilst the concrete dried.  Once dried, the backboards were painted with a Saltire and Ugandan flag to emphasise our partnership.  The new sports facilities are the envy of all other schools and the basketball court is the only full-sized, fully equipped one in the county.   The pupils were ecstatic about the few facilities and were putting them to good use whilst we were there.  Teacher Joel, the sports master, was particularly pleased, as this adds a whole new dimension to the sports curriculum within the secondary school.

The vocational college sprung to life upon our arrival as we had three experienced sewers and knitters within our party.  We had arranged with Gabriel to have sewing machines serviced and ready in one of the college rooms and this became a base for both teaching the pupils and training a few members of staff how to deliver teaching once we had gone.  Our philosophy was to leave a legacy and not just provide a brief distraction.  The boys and girls were shown how to cut out from patterns and sew the parts together using the machines.  The biggest hit of the handicrafts, however, was the pompoms that the pupils could create quickly and easily.  At times the class was inundated with boys and girls all making pompoms.  Thread, material and wool have all been left to allow the initiative to progress in our absence under the stewardship of the staff members.

Prior to the visit, I had been asked by Ernie Bayton to take pictures of all the aspects of the Project so that folk who have not been can visit the website and see the aspects for themselves.  I have taken the pictures and they will be shown in galleries on a new section being added to the website. 

I would like to express the gratitude of all our group to the people who supported us financially and in prayer to allow us to visit and return safely.

Visitors from East Kilbride

East Kilbride Visitors

I am delighted to report that all 20 of the visitors to the Project from East Kilbride have arrived home safe and well.

The fortnight they spend with Gabriel and his team were very productive indeed and included 8 days of dental treatment, the preparation and opening of the senior boys dormitory, handicraft lessons for pupils and staff, teaching in the primary and secondary schools and the installation of new basketball, volleyball and netball courts.  The team also led worship on their second Sunday and found time to do a variety of other jobs and activities.

They managed to do so much in such a short space of time and were overwhelmed by the welcome and generosity of spirit of everyone at Luwero.

A full report will be provided next week and will include photographs of all the activities.

Marion’s Visit

Marion’s Visit

Marion, a former ICC Glasgow student with Gabriel, travelled to Luwero recently to spend a fortnight visiting the project.  She has written a short report about her visit.

My return to Uganda after more than 10 years was all I had hoped it would be. The opportunity to catch up with old friends and participate in the lives of women and children in Luwero was as heart-warming as I remembered.

I ran a 4-day conference on ‘The empowerment of women and womens’ role in the church’. I helped out in the nursery classes and the primary school.

My first teacher asked me to draw 10 wall charts for her …. my worst nightmare, since I can’t draw two straight lines! It took me 3 hours!  The next teacher gave me craft to do – my next worst nightmare.  I really think God was having a good laugh.  I moved on to marking – much more my style and also some interactive Geography and Science teaching.  I loved being back in the classroom albeit with 56 pupils, no electric light and fixed blackboards, the top half of which I couldn’t reach!

I was invited to preach on the first Sunday I was there.  The African style of worship is so joyous with the drums and dancing I was more than happy to join in.

The Ugandan diet was just as I remembered!  If I never see another banana this year it will be too soon, not to mention goat and beans! Though the fresh pineapple and mango were amazing.

The best thing of all, apart from renewing relationships, was to see how the projects I’d been involved in had reached fruition. God is so good.  Bishop Gabriel’s community has gone from strength to strength in an amazingly short time.

To see how folk live there and how their faith in God sustains them through so much hardship is very humbling. I was incredibly blessed throughout my time of sharing in their lives.

Duncanrig Secondary School Visit

Duncanrig Secondary School Visit

Duncanrig Luwero Visit 2018

In October this year, 18 pupils and 4 teachers from Duncanrig Secondary School visited The Luwero Community Project. For the previous 10 months pupils, parents, supporters and staff worked hard to raise funds to support the Project. In total the group donated over £20,000 to the project and established the “Duncanrig Luwero Scholarship Bursary Scheme” that will be used to support those in the most need who have no access to education.

In addition to the fundraising, the group managed to collect a large number of donations including:

  • clothing, shoes, school bags, football strips and sportswear,
  • medical equipment and supplies
  • clocks for the church,
  • stationery for the school
  • oral hygiene products,
  • learning and teaching resources,
  • cleaning and maintenance equipment,
  • spectacles,
  • building and decorating equipment,
  • games and sport equipment,
  • mosquito nets.

While in Luwero the group were involved in supporting the learning and teaching taking place in the nursery, primary and secondary school. This involved delivering lessons, preparing resources for teachers and marking pupils’ work. The group also took part in playing games with the children and undertaking several activities including: harvesting coffee beans from the coffee farm, moving and preparing timber for the new vocational college, taking part in the delivery of church services and helping to feed animals in the farm.

Over the two weeks in Luwero the group had this to say:

“We cannot thank Gabriel, Deborah and everyone in the Luwero community enough for the love and friendship we were shown: it was truly unbelievable. Luwero has become our second home and we sincerely miss our Luwero family. The love and care shown to us from everyone in Luwero is testament to the amazing community it is”.

“We have learned so much from being in Luwero and this has significantly impacted on our own values and mindsets. The friendships and experiences we have made will live with us for a lifetime. We appreciate what we have so much more and no longer take for granted how fortunate we are to lead the lives we live”.

“Pastor Gabriel’s vision is truly inspiring, and the work being undertaken is so important. Pastor Gabriel told us that the most amazing thing we have done by being there, is showing the community how much people elsewhere in the world care about Luwero, and that is what makes the difference. We feel incredibly privileged to have been able to support this vision because it is one that is so worthwhile”.

“Since returning we have been unable to stop speaking about Luwero and how amazing it is. Leaving Luwero was one of the hardest things we have ever had to do, and it was truly heart wrenching to say goodbye. We only wish we could have stayed longer and could do more. However, as they say in Luwero this not goodbye but simply see you soon”.

Here is a video of our times preparing for the visit and raising funds, and of our unforgettable time there.

 

Duncanrig Secondary School

Duncanrig Secondary School

The party of pupils and staff from Duncanrig Secondary School in East Kilbride have returned home safe and well after their 2 weeks in Luwero.  Mr Scott Atkins, the party leader, wishes to express the thanks of the group members for the welcome, hospitality and friendship they received during their stay.  The memories of their visit will live with them forever.

A full report of the group’s experiences, including photos, will appear soon.