20th May, 2017

Dear friends,

I’ve been back a week and it feels like a month as so much has been achieved in the last week.  

We had our first management committee meeting which consists of the Probation Officer, a representative from the Mayor (Dan) plus four of us from Homes of Promise.  The Health Inspector sent his apologies and Revd. James and the LC1 didn’t attend.  It was a really helpful meeting and hopefully will aid us in becoming registered as an Approved Home with the Ministry of Gender.

This week we have visited the families of four boys who have recently joined Homes of Promise.  Patrick, who we knew and picked up with Ole and Lise and Tony (real name Shaffick), Emma (real name Yesin), and Derrick who came through the celebrations of the International Day of the Street Child.  (Travelling to Derrick’s home village near the Elgon mountains was delightful, the roads were rough but the views and the scenery early on Thursday morning were breathtaking, there are some amazingly unspoilt places in Uganda.) The boys didn’t all receive welcoming visits but it must be a shock when suddenly a son/grandson arrives who you haven’t seen for a couple of years or more.  Patrick and Tony come from slum areas in Kampala so we visited their families on Monday and Tuesday, the other two come from the area of Mbale.  This was useful as Godfrey and Augustine needed to return back to Mbale to finish their vocational training courses so they got a lift back.  Tim our new part-time Warden (also a Social Worker) came – he is fitting in well.

‘The Lord’s is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.’ Psalm 23 v 1/2

The journey was interesting as Godfrey was late arriving back in Kampala following a visit to his grandmother, so we didn’t leave until after 3 pm.  As we travelled through Mabira Forest something came loose in the car and although we kept moving there was no power for climbing hills.  We stopped in Jinja and Iganga to try and get it fixed – we travel over so many rough roads it’s not surprising we have a few minor mechanical problems – this meant we didn’t arrive in Mbale until about 9 pm and didn’t eat until about 10.30pm which didn’t upset any of the six boys!  (Samuel and Tim also on vocational courses also joined us.) I left them with Tim and Bob ordering food in a cafe and went to book into a cheap hotel where we usually stay then came back to eat. 

Consequently, we have now visited the families of all 17 boys – a real achievement!  Bob has really worked hard in tracing some of their relatives, as some have moved, even left the areas where the boys came from, it’s not always been easy especially with the young ones who didn’t always want to direct us!  
The car went wrong again on Saturday morning and I spent 6 hours waiting in the car whilst the mechanics did a computer check, replaced the airflow meter, rear shock absorbers, stabiliser bar brushes etc. and then road tested it.  It’s still not fixed but I insisted on taking the car home as I wasn’t sure where they were keeping it overnight. On the way home I called into a restaurant for a curry as I felt I should treat myself!

A rat has taken up residence in my office – I seem to be the only one concerned about this and am disinfecting all surfaces when I arrive and keep my feet off the floor!  A trap has been set but I believe these rodents are extremely intelligent at avoiding such devices, at least it’s not in the car or my bedroom this time!

So life in Uganda continues to be interesting!  The boys are all well and went off to KK beach this afternoon.

With love and prayers.