18th March, 2018

Dear friends,

This week we travelled to Mbale with three of our boys to see them graduate from their Vocational training. It was such a happy occasion. Most of the way to Mbale it rained, continuing into the night and was still raining on Friday morning but by 10.30am when the celebrations were about to begin the rain stopped, and at one point during the day the sun even tried to make an appearance. It was a very special day, the boys all looking good in new suits and gowns. The graduates marched through the town to a brass band, (street children tagged along beside them) then arrived at the function site were of course there were lots of speeches, entertainment etc. before the graduates were called to be Commissioned. Bob managed to get us a seat in the second row of the graduates tent so we had a good view of the proceedings, surrounded by the young people. We were later invited to join the VIPs (some from Holland) for lunch and spoke to the wife of the Dutch partners of CCP who has given me details of someone who works with street children in Mbale and other major towns in eastern Uganda.

‘Rejoice always, pray continually,give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.’ 1 Thessalonians 5 v 16/18

Timothy, Samuel and Augustine all enjoyed their day, we were just sad that Godfrey wasn’t with us. Of course, our boys are continually hungry so enjoyed chicken and chips in the evening before returning to the hotel. Samuel and Augustine are coming back to stay at George’s Place for a week as next Saturday we are having a party to celebrate their achievements. (Tim stays with us helping with the cooking.) When we arrived back after a 9 hour journey (too much traffic, but ‘dancing/moving/singing’ to CD’s of local music, kept us awake and happy) the younger boys welcomed us with such excitement and enthusiasm as they are so proud of their big ‘brothers’.

Whilst we were in Mbale we visited the hospital and distributed some of the ‘fish and chip’ baby clothes and small blankets, many of you have been making -these were well received. There were 50 newborn babies in the intensive care unit, lots of tiny twins, there were so many mums, doctors and nurses and me with my box it was difficult to move around – plus so many other mums who had given birth to larger healthier babies some sitting on the grass outside or in the postnatal wards. Bob was even giving them out to mums in the delivery ward!

We collected the chair and standing frame for Joel, one morning, he wasn’t too happy with them but I’m sure they will help to strengthen his back and leg muscles. He is usually such a happy little chap.

The rainy season is really here, grey skies, torrential rain at times and continually damp – it must be extremely difficult for so many people who have no means of drying their clothes, live in mud huts with mud floors, cook outside on charcoal stoves or the many we see sleeping and begging on the streets, it amazes me that Ugandans are said to be the happiest people in East Africa and readily smile in such difficult circumstances.

Please continue to pray for the poor and marginalised.

With love and prayers.