Hello everyone Caroline here and this my first writing of the blog, Fiona and especially Becky writing during our trip which was so helpful. It meant that I could focus on what was going on all around as we travelled in Arua and Moyo – with my eyes and ears trying to capture all I saw and heard, then evaluate and make the right decisions going forward.
Tonight is my last night here – We have once again really enjoyed our stay at the Airport Guesthouse – it has a constant stream of safari visitors who seem to just stay one night. There was a large group of very excited American Missionaries for a couple of days but we were fortunate most of the time to have the days to ourselves – with a cool garden providing a habitat for beautiful birds and Simba the dog. This morning we sang “To God be the Glory” with two of the cleaning staff singing in Ugandan and myself in English along with Bishop Joseph and Alex Kenyi.
We did ‘concentrated’ CRESS work in the mornings using the separate house Joseph and Alex were sleeping in and invited some of the university CRESS students to come and see us. Yesterday it was the turn of Jo Jo Seme who studies Medicine and is sponsored by Tim Clarke – he is doing well.
Today our wonderful driver Paul who works under Patrick drove us to Kampala as we were meeting some people at Namierembe Guest House. I could not believe how well today went and it was definitely not AWA – “ Africa Wins Again” There is a new road to Kampala and very few people travel on it – we did and made the destination in one hour exactly half the normal time! We met with Mike from Latitude Hotels – he works for Nick Brown married to Vicky Clancy. He is the project manager and has agreed to visit the CRESS office in Arua in February – he will act as an adviser to the business. He also said he could help Sunday Taban with the setting up of the NGO status.
Next visitors were the Taban older children – Sunday, Vicky and Gladys – Sunday has been working very hard to try to get his sisters some sponsorship monies for their university education. He is keen they do not get “ distracted” and continue in education rather than young motherhood. We admired his love and support for his sisters. CRESS is able to help the girls and Sunday will have some money to make his application to become a barrister in Uganda.
Back to the Airport Guesthouse for a delicious buffet in the garden – eating under the stars listening to the crickets – we do not even need jumpers. Tomorrow Jane Poggo and six others representing the UK Mothers Union arrive and I will meet them hopefully for coffee at the beautiful Lake Vic hotel before going to the airport for the 3.25pm Emirates flight.
So how did I find the CRESS team and office? I sensed the South Sudanese have started to settle and make forward movements to help their people after a year as refugees in Uganda. The people in the camps and in the IDP camps within South Sudan are suffering terribly and Trauma Healing Courses need to take place before anything else. CRESS will do what it can in this area.
One huge encouragement was the discovery of the appointment of an EXCELLENT clinical officer and Head of the CRESS Majale Clinic – Edward Mika. Edward was the director of health for the whole county of Kajo Keji before the exodus – he is a very experienced calm manager and health professional. We met with him and talked about his plans for the development of the clinic and he has gone away to immediately purchase vital items to facilitate the clinic work.
Yango the wife of Bishop Joseph had big plans to train some six trainers and they will, in turn, teach another ten women each on the agriculture system CRESS had so successfully started in Kajo Keji.
All that needs to happen now is for me and others to go out and tell the story of these brave, hardworking, resilient people as they keep trying to move their country and people up from the “ floor”.
So thank you for following our eventful 2018 trip – we will be holding some briefings when we get home.
God Bless Caroline
Founder and CEO