Tuesday, 24 December 2013

A Christmas message for the Street Kids

I have just received an email from Robert Zziwa, Lay Reader of All Saints' Church, Kasese, where some of the street kids have been taken to worship from time to time. (It is the church linked with our home church, All Saints, Orton in Cumbria, UK.)
He wrote: 
Am informing you that this morning we have been talking to some of our fellow brothers that's the street kids from around 10:00am up to 12:00pm a message of Christmas and am the one who preached to them a message from Matthew 6:30-end, (Do not worry, saying "What shall we eat? What shall we drink?", or "what shall we wear?" Your heavenly Father knows that you need them.) to first know God and the good plans he has for us all especially sending us his begotten Son Jesus Christ to save from all our sins so that we be saved from all worrying situations and stick to him for eternity and providence. 
As we were sharing , some narrated a story of one of their brother called ''Goodluck'' who died 2 months ago and who died not in a good state of having lost hope, and by doing that, some recommitted their lives to Jesus and promised to attend tomorrow's service. Hallelujah! This is their list the ones I talked to:- 
1.John Mutagambwa Sadam 
2.Sunday Robert 
3.Mwesige John 
4.Kamaa Mustafu 
5.Toto Roggers 
6.Ndona Issa
7.Mugenyi Joshua 
8.Baluku Robert 
9.Bwambale Morris 
10.Masereka Longino 
11.John Yahalidi 
12.Bwambale Timothy 
13.Muhindo Zalmon 
14.Aliganyira Muzamiru 
15.Asimwe Benon Joshua 
16.Friday Hamisi 
17.Mucunguzi Moses 
18.Masanyu Emmanuel 
19.Kabagambe Wilson 
20.Bwambale Chris 
21.Matovu Martin----Team leader. 
They felt happy when my fellow brothers from Hope for Uganda Office gave each one of them his own Christmas package of small money that will help them during this festive celebrations, and I also donated a few of my clothes to some of them who lacking what to put on and come for prayers and amazingly they promised me to attend tomorrow since they have got what to put on.
I was delighted to hear that there was this contact; let's pray for these youngsters, that they may indeed attend the church and find a loving welcome there, not only on Christmas Day but in the future.

Friday, 25 October 2013

The Tools Have Arrived

We have been waiting for months for the tools, sent out from UK via the splendid organization, Tools With  A Mission (TWAM); they arrived in Kampala in about May 2013, but various negotiations and arrangements had to be made before they could be delivered the 350 kilometers to Kasese. But they have at last arrived! Here is the truck delivering them to the SKILL Hostel.
And here is a lad carrying a toolbox, obviously heavy with the tools it contains - no doubt going into the store room just now; but hopefully it will not be long before this boy and others will be learning how to use them, and acquiring basic mechanical and carpentry skills.
Another bit of good news - the new road!
Back in March 2012 when Mary went to see the Mayor of Kasese (I was meant to go too but had a tummy upset!), he promised that a new road would be built to connect the SKILL Hostel to the main highway. Months went by and nothing happened - but at last work is being done, and Enos tells us that it has reached within a half km of the Hostel site.
It looks a bit like a dirt track, you say? Well, you didn't expect tarmac, did you? It has been buldozed level and will be surfaced with marram.
Those crops
The last post mentioned (and showed) the crops being grown on the land around the Hostel; Enos tells me they are not for sale, but for food for the Hostel, to save expenses. As well as maize I expect there will be cassava - a root crop widely used in Africa  as a major source of carbohydrates, which when we were there we were served alongside other food (chappatti, meat, vegetables, rice) to bulk it out. We didn't like it much! But it is part of their staple diet; it makes a heavy kind of dough. 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Crops being planted in Hostel land

We have been sent a few photographs by Enos, the Director, to show how well they are getting on with growing crops on the land around the SKILL Hostel. The picture above shows a good crop of maize - I can recognise that one!
 But I am afraid I do not know what these plants are, but we are glad to see one of the boys working hard at planting or weeding. It has always been one of Enos's intentions to grow crops on the land we bought in 2009 - partly to help to grow food for feeding the children, and partly as a cash crop.
 Above you can see the nursery beds under a shelter, being watered by another young man.
And here you can see part of the new wall which has been built all around the compound; this was a requirement of the local authority before a license to operate could be given, but it also has the vital function of protecting the crops from marauding animals. (Two or three years ago an earlier nursery bed which Enos started was devasted by goats, when the fence proved inadequate to keep them out!)
You can also see the water tower, vital for both crops and people.
Another part of the wall. We are glad to see that completed - it was quite an expensive item.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

A Generous Gift

We have a Bank Account with HSBC solely for the Kasese Street Kids; when people give us money for the cause, that is where it goes - it is completely separate from our personal account (which is in a different bank anyway).
Recently we noticed a monthly charge of £6 going out of the Street Kids account, and were puzzled; so next time we were in the bank we asked them what it was for. It turned out that if you have a business account (which is what this charity or community account is classed as) with the facility to send money abroad, there is a £6 a month charge. We had had no idea of this; we only have sent money out to Uganda two or three times a year at the most, which anyway has substantial charges; a further £72 a year going out was a blow! The bank clerk said that if we cancelled it, whenever we wanted to send money out we could transfer it to an ordinary account first, and then do it from there. So we cancelled the "overseas transfer" facility straight away.
But we were upset that - purely by our own inefficiency - all this money, generously given by so many people, had been going out of the account. I mentioned this to an acquaintance, who was asking about progress with the SKILL Hostel; and he suggested asking HSBC for a donation from their Charities Fund to replace the money which has gone out in charges! A bit cheeky, I thought - but why not try?
Later that day, a cheque for £72 from that friend was posted through our door, "which will retrospectively cover 12 months bank charges." This was so kind and encouraging!
But - just in case - I phoned HSBC, and after the usual palaver of being passed from department to department, and a LONG wait, I explained the situation to a lady. She asked me to hang on, and went away; another LONG wait, and then she came back, and said the money paid out for that charge would be reimbursed in full! I was absolutely delighted and very grateful and told her so.
But I felt I must return the kind cheque to the generous neighbour - but they flatly refused to take it back! "It all goes to a good cause!" they said.
So two bits of good news to encourage us that day!

News from Kasese
We are sorry that there have been no posts on this Blog for a long time - we have been awaiting news from Kasese.
Several things have happened in recent months:
  1. Rev. Nelson Isebagheen, a Church of Uganda clergyman whom we have met each time we went to Kasese, is a member of the SKILL Board, and has taken over all financial responsibilities. (He is a man whom we like and respect enormously.) This will release Enos Kibibi, the Director of SKILL, to do what he is gifted at - working directly with the street children - rather than administrative tasks.
  2. Accommodation for the electical tools: an earlier post mentioned that the Thuthu Woodworking Company would accommodate a lot of the electrical tools which TWAM (Tools With A Mission
    - http://www.twam.co.uk/) are holding for us in Kampala. A further development now is that the Mothers' Union Women's Learning Centre, where Mary did needlework and craft seminars on our first two visits to Uganda, will likewise accommodate sewing machines and knitting machines, and let girls from the Street Children's hostel have instruction there.
  3. This means that we are now in a position to arrange for all the TWAM tools to be sent from the Kampala TWAM warehouse to Kasese; TWAM have been asked to make arrangements for this transport, and to send the bill to us.
  4. TWAM also told us that the tax duty levied by the Uganda government for all this equipment would be almost £1,000; and we have said we will cover that too.
So we await news, and hopefully photographs, that the tools have arrived in Kasese, and are being used!

Monday, 8 July 2013

Profits from Book go towards KSK

I have recently published a Memoir, called "I Believe - I Think...". I do not expect it to be a best seller with many thousands of copies flying off the shelves! (I wish...) But at least 50% of any profit that does come to me will go to Kasese Street Kids funds.
The book is self-published by www.lulu.com which means that I pay them to print and send me copies; so far I have placed two orders for 60 copies each, and a further consignment of 30 copies. (The more copies I order at a time the cheaper per copy it is.)

Kind friends in various churches where I have served have taken orders from parishioners; and a number of small bookshops in towns around south Cumbria have agreed to stock a few copies. Two such shops have already sold out and asked for more!
You can get one off www.Amazon.co.uk  (including a Kindle version) - or from Lulu, including an ebook for a Nook reader.
Or you can ask me for one and - when I have received your money - I will send it to you.
Read "I Believe - I Think..."   "Very readable... Lots of humour... Honest... Inspiring..."  

Tools and Electricity

Sorry - it is two months since my last post!
In an earlier post  (25th January) I wrote about all the marvellous supply of tools that were on their way to Kampala, supplied by TWAM (Tools With A Mission) -www.twam.co.uk. But I had not realised till recently that there is still no electricity at the SKILL Hostel, apart from three small solar panels. The local authority promised an electricity supply to the site months ago, but this has never happened.
So things like circular saws and electric drills and lathes will not be much use! The hand tools will of course be valuable.
But we have just heard that a joinery firm in Kilembe Quarters in the Kasese Industrial Area on the other side of Kasese, Thuthu Carpentry and Joinery, have agreed to accommodate these tools, and offer a one-year training course for the boys from SKILL.
Here are two members of the SKILL Board, Rev. Nelson Isebagheen and Mr Emmanuel Maate, with Enos Kibibi, and the director of Thuthu, Mr Siriru (in the hat). They were confirming the arrangements for this scheme.

What is particularly good is that Thuthu will not charge SKILL any rent for the room they will use.
The hand tools will remain at the SKILL Centre where the youngsters will learn the basics of carpentry, before they progress to learning to use the power tools.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

More about the Kasese Floods

The last report from Emmanuel, our chairman of the Skill Board at Kasese, said this:
Kasese Floods:
I have travelled all the way to Kilembe where the river flooded; it was a real devastation. Many houses were destroyed and will take a lot of government commitment if they are to be rebuilt; some though have no hopes of ever being rebuilt. An estimated 700 people lost all their property and are now homeless and living in refugee camps. 10 are now confirmed dead.
The magnitude is very great especially because this is the first of this kind of calamity to befall the people of the Ruwenzori’s and since the rivers burst their banks on the 1st of May to this day, the floods are still washing away homes,  buildings, roads, bridges and crops.
Enos is in the danger zone; a flood plain and may be relocated to a safer ground.
I visited him this morning at the skills training centre. He was with 10 children, weeding crops. They don’t have safe water to drink or for domestic use especially cooking as the supply system has been affected. They also lacked food.

Many people have been relocated by government to schools and Red Cross is supplying some food, tents, mosquito nets and safe water.
We anticipate an increased number of stranded children, but so far are handling the old cases.

Any assistance would be most welcome. Enos and his financial committee would look into areas deemed as priority.