SS Refugee Crisis Blog 2: A teacher and an orphan
As the first week in Uganda draws to an end, like all, I was horrified to wake up to the news of London this morning. This week though, and perhaps poignantly in light of the UKs recent attacks, has seen me inspired afresh by what a human spirit of hope, perseverance and faith can achieve against all odds.
My main objective this week was to get everything ready for Reninca and the kids arrival in a few days time, and fairly miraculously, that was done within a day or two. Our team and new home are amazing!
House preparations went so smoothly that we actually managed to squeeze in a meeting with the UNHCR whilst in Kampala, about an exciting project HHA is going to be working with them on to treat acute malnutrition. More on that to come.
Once in the north (based in Moyo), we were keen to visit our brother Patrick (now in his third season of life as a refugee since being a boy), who many may remember as having had a dream to start a school when I was here a few months back. At the time he had nothing but an idea and a lot of courage and determination. HHA offered some words of encouragement, prayers and some small seed funding to help get things going ($1,500). On Thursday we returned to the refugee camp where I’d first met Patrick and were delighted to visit a temporary structure with 98 students having just sat their exams and a staff room (benches under a tree) of 8 voluntary teachers. Nothing is easy here. Patrick shared one story of how he walked 4 hours to the nearest town to find blackboard paint, only to arrive and find they had none. He wasn’t deterred. This is a man who’ll let nothing stop him. This weekend he’s writing a proposal for a similar primary school, refugee start up! We'll upload some photos of the school soon...
Alongside the highs, there have been some challenges. 3 days of our Ugandan partner charity, waiting on our behalf in Gov office's to get some clearances for our work (still pending), 3-4 hours stranded with our vehicle stuck in the mud between camps, and multiple electric shocks from a dodgy Ugandan power lead! :-)
More seriously though, we were touched afresh as we recieved reports from a community of displaced people still living in South Sudan that HHA is supporting. This last week, HHA has enabled three days of nutritional distribution to the region. One of the pastors leading the distribution said he had to hold back tears, literally witnessing one orphan pick through the dirt for scrapes of food in the mud because she'd not eaten for a week.
I am so grateful to all those who have enabled HHA to respond to this crisis, particularly BMS World Mission, as we provide urgently needed food supplies for such individuals. In the next few months we’ll be doing further distributions to this area and providing agriculture tools for 100 families so individuals can meet their nutritional needs more sustainably without international aid.
I now count down the hours to seeing Reninca and the kids. Missing them a lot, but excited to welcome them to Uganda so the work can really begin.