KRDP Update ...
Gill Morgan writes “We have been very grateful for the support we are receiving from you as a church, as you are supporting our charity, and we hope that these articles in your magazine are helping to explain some of the various aspects of our work in Eastern Uganda, to help you understand a little more of how your money, and your prayers, are helping. This article is more about a personal visit made by myself and Gareth last autumn, with a few forays into the work of our charity too.
You may already be aware that we have been involved in our work in Uganda since 1997, when Gareth first made a visit to Uganda with the late Dr John Maitland, whom some of you may remember. On that occasion the seeds were sown for the beginnings of what has since become our charity, KRDP, the more formal aspect of it happening when Gareth took a sabbatical in 2000, spending two months in this rural part of Uganda. African time is somewhat different to the UK way of doing things, even things such as setting up a bank account can take a week, so the two months
were pretty well taken up. Initially we thought we would be helping in small ways: we were able to fund the purchase of school text books, medicines for the clinic and similar small projects, but events took a different turn and we have instead found ourselves funding much bigger projects: a church/community centre, school classrooms, and improvements to the clinic (which had already been started before we were involved). With small beginnings God has widened our vision.
Shortly after Gareth's return from his sabbatical in 2000 his mother died. Donations given in her memory at her funeral were offered to the Ugandan branch of KRDP for a 'special project', and they requested a church be built in her memory. This went ahead, and some 18 months later a group of our family, including Gareth's father, went out to be part of the opening and dedication of the church.
Gareth's dad - Eric - was 78 when he first came with us for the dedication of the church, and we all assumed that it would be a one-off visit. Most years since then a group of us has gone out to see how the project is developing - while we don't do practical, hands on work ourselves, there are always developments to see; it is important both to us and to our friends out there that we maintain contact. Thus it was that two years after his initial visit Eric asked if he could join us again; 'I'm going
to be 80 this year", he said, "I'd like to come just one more time". 'Just one more time' became nine more visits; Eric joined us on every visit we undertook from then til he was 91, and was beginning to find the travel a little more than he could manage.
Uganda became like a second home to him; he made many firm friends, and he gained the respect of the whole community out there; the elderly in Uganda enjoy a respect probably not known in our own society. He became known as 'Papa Eric', a name to which he became very attached.
Thus it was that last November, Gareth and I took a special, personal trip out to Uganda. Eric had died in June of last year, and - while he had never expressed a desire in this way at all - we both decided that we'd like to take some of his ashes out to the place which had become so special to him; to have our own private 'goodbye' to the Papa Eric with whom we'd travelled out there on so many occasions.
We had also been invited to a wedding out there - and we had never been to a Ugandan wedding - so this dual purpose visit, combining both a happy event and a sad one, began to fall into place. The wedding came first, in a part of Uganda we had never visited before. We hadn't given a definite reply to the wedding (this sort of thing can happen in Uganda, not here in the UK of course!), so our being there came as a total surprise to both the bride and groom. They were delighted we were there and we had a fantastic day!
The following day we set off on the long drive to the village of Kimaluli Butta, where our work is based. We had a wonderful welcome, as always, and since the ashes scattering was to be a private thing (culturally it would not have gone down too well, this being a country whose traditions don't embrace cremation), we were hoping for a bit of peace to quietly wander off and do this. It was a full three days before we had the opportunity! Having thought that this could have been a somewhat emotional thing for us, we instead found ourselves chuckling as we set about scattering ashes around Eric's favourite places within the village, wondering what he would have had to say about it!
At one point we were aware that the vicar was approaching; we waved politely and explained that we were just going for a short walk hoping for few minutes 'to remember Papa Eric'; the vicar waved understandingly and left us in peace, little knowing our real mission!
This was to be a trip to remember. Despite the personal aspect of this trip we still needed to see progress on our projects out there. We visited the clinic and saw an immunisation clinic in progress as well as an ante natal clinic; we were pleased to see that Family Planning is being prioritised, something which the culture is taking time to accept for various reasons. A particular highlight to me was to be able to visit the school where our 'Shout out for the Girls' project, which I described in the last issue of the magazine, has made links, and I was able to meet some of the girls we are helping.
We left an electric sewing machine with them which they will use to make more packs of their own. Even though they are a fairly large girls school they had no machine of their own.
If you would like to know more about the work of our charity there is to be an evening, on Tuesday April 24th at Frodsham Methodist Church, when we will talking more about the work of KRDP with lots of photos which should help bring things alive a little more - along with crafts for sale. We'd love to see you there!”
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