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Catherine Lex travelled to Uganda on January 9th 2007 for 3 months and decided to return for a longer stay. She travelled out again on Saturday 18th August 2007and is returning to the UK June 2012

She taught in KIS International School.
Worked in the Sunday School at KBC.
Helped YEA in holidays.

Please pray for her
 

You can contact Catherine at:

Catherine Lex
Kabira International School
PO BOX  34249 , Bukoto
Kampala, Uganda

 

 

or e-mail: lexcatherine@hotmail.co.uk


June 2012

Dear All,

Well my season here in Uganda is coming to an end and I am returning to the UK at the end of this month.  It has been a huge honour to live in Uganda for the past 5 years and to work and have friends here.  I am returning to the UK to be with my family, take my Masters in Education and update myself in the English National Curriculum.  Bognor will be my home again and I will be returning to my own house and to my home church.  All is ready and waiting for me and I am busy finishing off loose ends here in Uganda.

School is complete for the year and I am busy saying farewell to friends and colleagues.  I have just come back from Kampala Baptist Church this morning where I was prayed for by the children and given a farewell party in the Sunday school class. I was also presented with a wonderful leaving book full of pictures and thanks from the children I had taught.  A wonderful gift I will treasure for life.  I thank God for all of the friends I made here and all of the amazing experiences I had.

Please pray for me in this transition time that I may practically and emotionally be able to transfer quickly and easily back to the UK.  I particularly need pray for the right job to come up at home.  Thank you so much for all your love and support over the last 5 years.  As the African proverb goes – ‘If you want to walk fast – walk alone.  If you want to walk far – walk with others’.  I have walked far and couldn’t have done it without your support.

Much love and God bless,

Catherine


January 2011
Dear All,
Well, Christmas and New Year have come and gone like a flash.  I finished the end of term, working to the bitter end to pack in the curriculum because of the extra long term we were being subjected to.  I think I explained before that our term times were moved.  We started teaching in mid August and finished as normal just before Christmas.  Our Easter term will be normal in length but then our summer term will be only 7 weeks long.  So we had to pack in almost half the year’s curriculum before Christmas. This was very exhausting for the teachers and the children, with no time for the end of term making of Christmas cards, decorations etc. 

We did however manage to invite the class from out link school to come and taste the delicious drinks we had designed for them in Design Technology lessons. We split their one class of about 50+ kids between our two classes, served them up some drinks and some fun and then evaluated our drinks with their help.  A week or two after our classes made over 200+ drinks which we sold around our school.  The proceeds will go to our link school.  We as yet have not decided how to spend it.

In church the children ran a service just before Christmas which I helped with the practicing for and I believe my Christmas play was used.  We received the banner from the Sunday School in Bognor and it was put in pride of place in church, central stage, for all to see.  I also received a card which was shared with the children.  Many thanks from myself and the children.  So now I am day dreaming up a reply that I can make with my Sunday School class in the next month or so to return to Bognor. The class still needs another teacher to share the work load with me.

Over the Christmas holidays I flew to South Africa for 3 weeks.  My original plan had been to attend Jess and Jason’s wedding.  However their dates did not coincide with my holiday time but I still decided to go.  I flew to Jo’burg and then caught the Greyhound bus down to Cape Town and then went east along the Garden Route, the Sunshine Coast and finally to the Wild Coast.  I then took the Greyhound again up to Jo’burg and flew home.  Highlights must have been the fantastically beautiful Cape Town and going to see Robben Island.  Horror tale was being thrown out a local taxi right in the middle of a township with all my luggage and handbag on show.  A very big sitting target.  But praise God he helped me get out of there quick. It was a fascinating country which I really enjoyed getting a feel for.  I would gladly return if time and money allows.

Now I have been home a matter of days.  As usual, I hit the ground running with two days (Sat and Sun) to put the house to rights, replace my flat car battery (harder than you think here), get food in and plans organised and then straight into school again. I have another new child who is Danish but can speak no English and my other new boy, Chinese, who started before Christmas is an elective mute and is often a real handful to manage. 

We have five and a half weeks of term before we break up for half term.  The reason we break up so early is because it is election time on Feb 18th and during and after that period there will be no school.  Some parents will leave the country with their families until it’s over, others will travel away from Kampala and others will hole up in their homes, keep their heads low and pray for peace.

Mum is visiting me in the middle of this.  We are jumping straight in the car and heading to the South West of Uganda.  We shall return after a week if the coast is clear or we may have to extend the holiday a little longer if there is unrest.

Prayer points –
Peaceful elections for the sake of the people of Uganda.
A safe visit for Mum.
Help with my Sunday School class.
Peace in surrender to God’s will in my life.
Many thanks for your prayer support, it makes a great difference.


Catherine

 

June 2010
Dear All,

Well what’s been happening to me since Easter?  I had a great Easter break going down to the south west of Uganda.  I was greatly privileged to go gorilla trekking and to also attend one of my fellow teacher’s wedding to a missionary in Kabale.

         


Gorilla watching me watching her !                Ester's wedding

my class

Since then it’s been back to the hard grind at school. We have just finished giving and marking our SATs.  Unbelievably, it’s back to report writing again followed by parents' evenings and a huge prize giving for the end of the year.  There is no rest for the wicked until the very, very end. 

Once more I am taking my class on a series of community development visits to an organisation called Retrak, they help street boys.  It is very enlightening for my class to see and start to have an understanding of some of the issues here in Uganda. one of my class sharing his snack

Meanwhile church has been busy.  I taught March and June and was involved in entertaining the children at a special church day down by Lake Victoria. 

 

Please note the parachute being used was bought and sent over by the children of Opengate, Bognor.  Hannah, it still even has the label on that you wrote.  It was hard work but fun.
I have seen a few visitors.  This is Kate and Peter by Bujagali Falls in Jinja

and Louise Smith, a friend of mine from Guernsey.  Am shortly looking forward to seeing Pat and Ian Dixon again.

 

 

 

We do not have a half term holiday this term however we did get two days off.  I beat a hasty retreat to Jinja where I stayed in a peaceful Christian retreat.  I enjoyed this hammock VERY MUCH.

 

Well, not long until I return home for a few weeks this summer.  I am expecting to have bad reverse culture shock.  It is almost two years since my last visit.  However, I think I will be quickly back into the flow of things.  On my return to Uganda I will be moving year group to Year 3 and working again with a new teacher.

Seeing you soon,

Catherine


February 1010
Dear All

Well I am presently in my half term break.  The last half term has been exceptionally busy.  At school my class had three new pupils.  I had reports to write and then parent’s evenings.  Then of course there are the parents that don’t come to parents evening which I had to chase up!  Last week I took my Year Group to the Rwenzori water factory to see how the water was cleaned and we also went on to the national stadium and had a game of football.

Out of school we have had Ian and Pat to visit.  It was a great pleasure to see them and I am looking forward to their return to Uganda to live.

Faith had her graduation party. I also went  to a salsa lesson at her house the other week!

 

I went on a Saturday exploit to see the famous Shoebill which involved being punted through the marshes of Lake Victoria for hours before a short glimpse of the elusive bird. Can you spot it?
I also had a visit from my aunt, uncle and cousin.  As it was term time I sent them off on safari and looked after them on the weekends either side.

.My youngest cousin, Anna, also made an appearance in Uganda on a school trip.  So I spent an afternoon/evening with her too.

 

In church I taught Sunday School in January and have had February free.  I teach again in March. Most of my old class have moved up, it is so satisfying seeing them mature in their Christian lives.  They are also growing huge!  I now have a new young batch to work with and it’s great to start to get to know them.

It has alternated between immense heat and torrential rain here and therefore between dust and mud.  The market by my home is a mud pit and full of hidden, huge potholes.  I also seem to be surrounded by wildlife.  Last week, after the rain, I drove home to find two enormous snails blocking my road, each one’s shell as big as my fist.  I had to pick them up and throw them out the way rather than run them over.  As I did so I spotted a curious chameleon watching me from a nearby bush!

SO… as you can see I have been very busy.  I am much looking forward to the Easter holiday and am making the most of this short break to sort out jobs such as computer, car, doctor etc.

                            Thinking of you all

                            Catherine


December 2009

Dear All,

The last few months have been hectic to say the least.  Was pleased to see Steve Jenkins here in Kampala at the beginning of November.  It was great to spend time with him and catch up with all the news from home.

 

Term came to a crazy and stressful end with our Year 5/6 play, Grease, as the climax.  It came together only in the final stages and then became a resounding success.  Never again, I say that each year.  The crowning glory was a quad bike driven on and off the stage representing the car ‘Greased Lightning’!

 

Out of school Amigos opened and it was fun to see the metamorphous of an empty shell of a room into the now bustling coffee shop.

    
               Before                               After

The Sunday School nativity was also a hit as the children led the whole service. (Ian was also preaching that week.)  I have had a few weeks off Sunday School whilst Mum has visited and start again next Sunday.

Mum came over just before the end of term and we did some travelling during the holiday and also just hung out in Kampala. We had a great Christmas together and had a lot of fun.  I had no car as it was in with the mechanic so Mum was a real trooper travelling everywhere on local transport, foot, bodda bodda, matatu and big old buses.  A truly Ugandan experience

We went to Hoima, took a walk through Budonga Forest, visited Masindi and the Rhino Sanctuary on our way home.  After a few days in Kampala we ventured out again for three nights to Sipi Falls in the East of Uganda.  Here we ate, rested and took walks looking at the gorgeous scenery.

We spent a rainy Christmas Day at Ian’s and did not let the mud deter us from taking our Christmas Day walk, brandishing umbrellas and wearing oversized flip flops with our trousers rolled up and mud splattering up our legs as we failed to avoid the quagmire surrounding us. I was very sad to take Mum back to the airport on Boxing Day. 

Both Ryan and Graciella are growing a pace and are healthy and happy.  Mum was glad to meet them both.

 

    
         Ryan                             Graciella

With Mum gone I have succumbed to a stinker of a cold and am struggling with my mid term plans and starting my reports which are due almost as soon as I return to school on Jan 4th.  Am praying that the next term is a little calmer and far less stressful.

Meanwhile sending all of you my love and prayers that you are blessed in the coming year.  How did the last one go so fast?

Many thanks for all your love and support.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Catherine

   

October 2009

Dear All,

Long time since I wrote, sorry.  Had a great summer mostly in Uganda.  Had Jonathan, Laura, Hannah and Amy over and we went camping down in the southwest corner of Uganda by a beautiful lake called Lake Bunyoni.

 

Also had my cousin Rachel over for a short time as she researched some material on child birth in Uganda.  She was sponsored by the White Ribbon Alliance a group trying to encourage governments to invest more money into hospital maternity wards to avoid much needless loss of life.

Then back to school.  I have a new class and am enjoying getting to know them.  They are a very smart bunch indeed.  I have a new TA and both the other teacher and TA in Year 5 are new so I have a lot of work familiarising them with the curriculum.

’m just finishing half term which I have used to catch up on everything and everyone!  Also was silly enough to let myself be scratched by a cat which looked decidedly ill and am going through a whole series of not so nice rabies shots.  Rather ruined the break but better safe than sorry.

 

I continue to work in the Sunday School at church and am finishing off a series of studies on prayer with my class before the whole Sunday School starts to work on a Christmas nativity.  At school I am working to perform ‘Grease’ with the year group above.  I certainly hope I don’t get confused and sing the wrong songs at inappropriate times.

Am preparing, with anticipation, to see my Mum at Christmas.  It’s creeping up on us.

With much love

Catherine

 


June 2009

Dear All

Sorry I have not written for so long.  I seem to have been exceptionally busy.

At school we have had SATs, just finishing reports, Parents Eve to come, Prize Giving Evening and all the end of term shenanigans that happen at every school.  This Sat am I have just returned from setting up an art exhibit of my class’s work and am returning to school this pm to help run a whole school fun day organising games in our KS2 block. On returning this evening I am editing my co-teachers reports as she edits mine this weekend.  As you see a little busy!

We have just finished our class community development project where we raised over 1million UGX to buy educational material for Tigers Club, the NGO for street children that we also visited last year.  We visited twice and my year group really learnt a lot seeing another side of life.

However I have also had plenty of fun as well.  I got away to a beautiful lodge in Fort Portal for the weekend a few weeks back.  It reminded me just how beautiful Uganda really is.  I went with two other teachers, both named Catherine, which of course caused much amusement.

 

Last night I had Patra, Silver, Lynette and Colin round to dinner.  It was great to spend some time with them all.  We all seem to be working so hard and hardly ever see each other.  It was good to catch up.  Previously I had Prosper, Isaac and Peter round for dinner and that was a great laugh also as they cooked up a storm in the kitchen.

 

Sunday school is going well.  I’m just finishing a two month stint in preparation for being away over the summer.  Have been studying Joseph and learning the songs from ‘Joseph and his Technicoloured Dream Coat.’  Great fun. I am also very pleased that a new Senior 1 Sunday School class has been set up in the English speaking service so that some of the older kids that I have now taught for 2 years can graduate up to a higher class as I take on some of the younger ones.  My class was getting rather huge.

All the other people that live in my block are leaving this year.  I stay on.  I have inherited 2 cats from one neighbour and am in the process of buying myself a small car.  I seem to be getting further settled in here.  I am greatly looking forward to not only Jonathan, Laura, Hannah and Amy visiting this summer but also my cousin Rachel.  My flat will be crammed to overflowing and loudly happy.  I am also planning a two week get away for myself to Kenya with a school friend before the hoards arrive.

Better go… Fun Day calls!

Catherine


April 7th 2009

Dear All,

Last few days before the Easter holiday. Phew! In school we have finally moved campus to our new site. This involved all of KS2 (8 classes) packing everything up in our class rooms and moving them down to the new building on a rainy Friday. For those of you who have been here you know what the rain is like! We were all soaked to the bone as were all our boxes. One auxiliary slipped on the stairs and knocked himself unconscious briefly. We sent him to hospital where he recovered quickly. Our boxes arrived by the end of Friday and we spent Saturday morning and Monday unpacking.

 
Here’s a picture of me, behind my podium of a desk. I am so exhausted and wet through that I am stuffing coke and chocolate for the sugar rush. The children returned to their new classes today and were so excited with the beautiful rooms. When I’m done decorating I’ll send a picture of the finished thing.
Meanwhile I have been busy in Sunday School. We continued our puppet practices and performed to a full church on Palm Sunday.

 

It went extremely well after much sweat and toil back stage. Finally we packed about 15 kids behind the stage for a 10min performance about Easter. My class had a wonderful time writing and practicing the skit and also working out two dance routines for the puppets.
The congregation enjoyed it thoroughly and we later got about twelve adults to sign up to start a puppet group. We shall see.
This Friday I am heading off to Rwanda and Burundi for a week and a half just as a holiday. Am very much looking forward to it. Please pray for me.

That’s all for now.

God bless

Catherine


March 2009

Dear All,

What’s been going on here? Since I last wrote not too much has changed at school. I have said I will return next year and have verbally had a contract offered me but have seen nothing in writing yet. I am having fun with my class studying Space at the moment and also making large papier mache models which means I am regularly covered in flour and water from head to toe. You should see the mess the children make but we are having fun!!

At church all goes well. I am in the middle of a puppet project with my class. Two of the church members who work with MAF have a puppet mission. They are coming in over the 5 weeks up until Palm Sunday and training my class to do a puppet show in the church on that Sunday with Easter as its theme. Last week we all played with the puppets, this week we are making up props and lines and the following three will be practice, practice, practice. Am praying it will all come together.

 

Meanwhile am starting to think of my school plans for next term as planning to go exploring this Easter. Have only a week and a half but heading down to Rwanda, Kigali and Gisenyi and then to Bujumbora in Burundi. Will look up Pastor Florent whilst there.

Please continue to pray for me. Thank you,

Catherine


07.01.09

Dear All,

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year!

 

 

 

This Christmas I went back to England for just under three weeks - my first visit in a year and a third. I went back to Bognor and lived with my Mum and spent plenty of time with my family. The first week was filled with necessary appointments with the bank, solicitor, dentist, doctor, optician etc. Then came the Christmas shopping and finally Christmas. I’m afraid to say I took every opportunity offered to eat the sort of food I can’t find here in Uganda and didn’t feel guilty at all. I believe I had Pavlova about three times! Now I pay the price and am on a diet. I also went down to Devon and visited my family there. It was fabulous to just catch up and spend time. Thank you to everyone in Bognor and Devon for making my welcome so warm.
I am now back in Uganda and have just started school again. I’m sorry to say that on our first INSET day back one of our members of staff died, aged 44, leaving a widow and 5 children. I attended his funeral the following day out in a village about one and a half hours away from Kampala. The whole school was shocked and devastated. We continued on with the beginning of school with the children the day after the funeral.

I restart Sunday School this Sunday and would value your prayers as I formally inform the school that I wish to continue my contract.

Catherine


Oct 08 - Catherine has just returned from a school 'outward bound' trip
Dear All

Home safe and sound.  Trip went very well.  Had several anxious parents and some first time away from home children.  It didn't rain except for lightly in the night and on our return back across Lake Vctoria. 

 
The tents didn't blow away although we adults ended up putting up and packing away every one as the kids had no idea at all what to do! 
Kids had a great time on land and in the water and apart from being up to very late, waking us as they were scared at night and then up at about 6AM, very well behaved. 
 Of course there was no electricity so no fridge, lamps after dark and we cooked on gas or charcoal. 
But we ate mountains of food with the healthy appetite being outside brings. 
We were greeted on our return by a sea of anxious parents.  Thank goodness we were able to deliver everyone safe and sound.  I return home to my hot shower and real coffee and a BED. 


Catherine

 


September 08

Dear All,

This has been a very busy start of term for me. Having come back late from my holiday and then getting food poisoning and ending up on IV I failed to follow my usual practice of completing all my planning and preparation before the beginning of term. I returned on a Thurs, was sick and on IV on Sat up to midnight, recovering Sun and in school on Mon!

So I have been on constant catch up ever since!

 

I have been blessed with a lovely natured and small (both in number and stature) class. I am still in Year 5. We thankfully didn’t have to move into the new school yet. The secondary have moved out to the new campus down the road leaving us primary in sole possession of the school. Unfortunately they have taken many useful things with them eg over half the library and because of their desperate need for everything in the new premises are getting all resources going their way. At the moment, however, they are trying to operate under very difficult circumstances with the new school literally being built around them. When finished it will be a fabulous modern school with sports field, Olympic sized swimming pool, the most up to date ICT equipment etc. If you look at it with vision it will be amazing but meanwhile the teachers are labouring under a lot of stress. We upper primary will be expected to move in at some point as well. I hope not too soon! Our bursar is the latest member of staff to flee the country in the middle of the night so I hope I get paid!

I have finally managed to get all class assessed and completed the first assembly for the school. Starting to now really get teeth into this term’s curriculum. My next task is to help arrange our Year 5 Outdoor Education trip where we take the whole of Year 5 on a 3 day, 2 night excursion to learn to sail. It is great fun but utterly exhausting as on constant duty for all that time also sleeping in a tent!

 

I am back working in Sunday school and attended a most of the day rehearsal last Sat which then lead to a children’s service on the Sun. It was a great success. The children lead both services. One started at 8AM so there for 7.30AM and the next started at 11AM and finished at 1PM. The children lead everything from singing, welcoming visitors, prayers to a dance routine. The pieces were also different for each service as the first was in Luganda and the second English. The children did very well indeed and I also had to be on stage the whole time singing and dancing. Thank goodness I can’t see how awful I must look!

 

Had Jess to stay for a few days on her way to South Africa. She was a lot of fun to have around and I enjoyed her company. Soon Mum will be visiting me for about 2 weeks and then I have Vicky and Ingrid up until Christmas. My house will be full and busy. At Christmas I will be coming home for the first time in nearly a year and a half. Please have all the central heating going despite rising prices or at least a pile of many layers of winter clothes which I can layer up to become Michelin woman!

I look forward to seeing many of you soon,

Catherine


Catherine's Summer Exploits!

This is the ferry I took across Lake Victoria from Bakoba to Mwanza over night. I was glad to see it was modern and wasn’t overcrowded. I had a cabin on the side, middle row. In the push and shove to get on board my glasses got knocked off and trampled on! A friendly guard returned them to me slightly bent.

 

Bakoba beach, where I waited for the ferry to leave. To get here I swapped from a big bus to a minibus on the border. Now Tanzanian minibuses… I thought I had seen it all. Every seat taken, every lap full with produce, cases, children, chicken or even more adults. Any standing space by door crammed with people which were pushed in by the conductor forcibly. Then there was a customised runner welded on the outside for at least another 4 people to hang onto as we careered along with door open. Then just to compound the discomfort of the smelly armpits in the face extremely loud music is played with the base so loud that your spine nearly breaks with the vibrations. I was pleased to slither out from the meld of humanity at Bakoba!
Freedom and fresh air on the beach! Big smile!

 

This is the cabin I slept in, first class. I was on the bottom bunk. The lady in the picture was on the top. It was a smooth crossing. By the end of the trip I was carrying a rack sack and two large bags like the one you can see in the picture. Too much shopping!

 

This is a smart hotel in Mwanza, the other side of the lake, which had a perfect balcony to hang out on and enjoy the breeze. It also had a beautiful pool which I stuck my grimy feet in. Needless to say I was staying the other side of town in a hostel!

 

 

This is an ice cream parlour in Mwanza which made its own really good ice cream. I made a hot line there of course. Look closely at the picture… the mirror behind me shows the rest of the shop, even the man behind the counter taking the photo.

 

This is the tent I slept in with two other girls in the Serengeti. It had several vital parts missing and was held up by nails and prayers. If it had rained we would have been soaked. As you can see the camp was open and wildlife was everywhere. I spent both nights hoping a lion wouldn’t casually swat the tent over and render one of its occupants like a zebra we saw!

 

We saw tons of wildlife and really up close. Also saw a cheetah with cub and a leopard which I had never seen before. We also met a corrupt ranger who tried to fine us a ridiculous amount for going off track when we hadn’t. He took our papers and after making us sit in the noon sun for 30mins made us drive an hour and a half back to his office. After talking to his superior we escaped unscathed but frustrated. Still had a great time munching on noodles and frankfurters whilst contemplating our wobbly tent!

 

Ngorogoro Crater

This is a volcanic crater which has a salt lake inside with lots of flamingos. It also has vast herds of animals at certain times of the year. I saw two black rhinos here. To get down one rapidly descends a narrow dirt track with a precipitous fall on one side whilst holding onto your hat and holding your breath.

 

These are my two travel companions during the Serengeti trip. They left me here in Karatu. I have not been greedy and finished before them… they are just starting their seconds. I loved my stay in Karatu and went to a local service there all in Swahili where the unaccompanied singing was out of this world.
The one street that is Karatu. To leave I had to walk the whole length of this road to catch a bus from the far end at 6AM. It was pitch black and still night. I was kindly accompanied by a night guard with one small torch. In the far distance I could see the bus’s lights flashing as I desperately prayed it wouldn’t leave without me!

 

 

 

From Karatu I got a driver to take me to Lake Manyara. Here I saw lots of birdlife but no tree climbing lions as advertised. We also saw the sad scene below. A baby elephant has died. The family stand around mourning and blowing dust in their distress. They will not leave the spot for days.

 

This is my hostel in Moshi, just below Mt Kilimanjaro. I was frozen solid as we were high and the temp low. Some of the windows had no glass and I had to stuff them with a precious blanket. Note the washing in the background. Whilst in Moshi I never saw Kili as she was constantly behind clouds.

 

This is one of the gates into Kilimanjaro National Park. Spot the intrepid climber preparing to stride up the mountain. In my old age I didn’t even contemplate trying to climb Kili. I would have had to have gone into training to achieve it! But I did go on a good long walk on the foothills of the mountain and saw some fantastic scenery.

 

This was my washing procedure in Moshi. I had a shower but the water was only cold and I was already freezing. After much explaining and many hours waiting I was finally proudly presented with a bucket of scalding water. I sat dangling arms and legs in the bucket to warm up until it cooled down enough for a proper wash.
Dar Es Salam

This was the bathroom of the YWCA in Dar. Not too nice. There was also no blanket or even a towel. I stayed here 5 nights but did not come back on my return to Dar. Instead I stayed in the Baptist Hostel.

This is Kathy and Laura. They are connections/friends of Ian in Dar. Laura took me out for a meal culminating in delicious homemade Kit Kat ice cream. I also attended their house church and met lots of their associates.

 

 

 

   

20th July 2008
Great to welcome Zach -  I think he will have a great time here. He fits in well with the others and will give anything a go. Anyway, also had sun lunch with Ian and Zach in town. Good to see Zach has a healthy male, teenage appetite!

Then Monday 14th I set off on my travels. Instead of resting and recharging, the sane choice, I have chosen to go travelling round Tanzania for nigh on 6 weeks. As you know I hate to fly and therefore am taking any transport other than the plane;   bus, minibus, taxi, foot, train and boat. On Monday I travelled by bus down to the border of Tanzania on the west side of Lake Victoria. Here I walked across the border getting my visa on route. I then stuffed myself in a very over crowded minibus and continued onto Bukoba. Here I caught a night ferry across Lake Victoria to Mwanza. Thank God it wasn't too overloaded and there wasn't a storm so we didn't over turn.
Stayed in Mwanza 2 nights and explored the town. Of course I did some shopping in the market which I now have to carry. I can't resist the African materials.

I also finalised my onwards tour. I linked up with two Swedish girls and we hired a car together and set of into the serengeti to camp! Needless to say the car broke down, the tent had no pegs and was definitely not rain proof and a corrupt official tried to force us to pay a fine for going off road when we hadn't. But it was amazing. The serengeti fulfils all the images of Africa you have seen on wildlife programmes. I saw elephants, lions on a kill, cheetah, leopard, hippos etc. The camping was fun except for the tent. We then drove onto Ngorogoro Crater park and drove down into a game reserve in the middle of an extinct volcano. Exceptionally beautiful views and also saw two black rhino. An amazing three days.

I have been dropped of at Karatu and am staying at the Lutheran hostel for the next two nights. I am having a slow day today. I went to church this morning. It was all in the local language and I was sandwiched between two curious girls. I was the only white in a congregation of about 300. I understood not a word but had the most marvellous time. The singing nearly reduced me to tears it was so beautiful. Now I have pottered off into the one road town and worked out my bus tickets onwards. Am also arranging a visit to the nearby Lake Manyara for tomorrow.

I will be continuing onto Moshi, hope to see Kili here, and then onto Dar. Staying there 5 nights and hopefully meeting a friend of Ian's there. Then going to Bagamoyo, a historic beach town with much history for about 1 week. Being met there by a school friend who will travel onwards with me for a while. From there we go to Zanzibar, Pemba (an even remoter tropical island above Zanzibar) and then back to Dar where we part. Then I will catch the bus into Kenya and Mobassa for a few nights. Then the train, supposed to be great fun in an old colonial style, to Nairobi. Here I will meet Edgar and have a meal with him but am really just passing through. Then catch the bus back to Kampala, exhausted on 21st Aug.

I will have a few days to sleep and recoup before INSET starts and then a week of INSET and planning and sorting and then the new class arrives.

As you can see I need much prayer for travelling mercies especially as I am a single woman on her own. I am very careful but being a stranger in these places you often stumble into trouble. The majority of people are very kind and I have some experience of Africa and travelling on my own but it teaches me further to rely on God for each thing...food, safety, a bed!

I can still receive texts and even emails on my phone but unless I get to an internet cafe can only make short replies. I would value your prayers. I hope that all is going well for you all and please send my love to everyone.

With much love,
Catherine
 

June 08

Dear All,
well I still have 2 weeks to go of term.  It has been an exceptionally long term... we have been at it since April 2nd without a half term and the last few weeks are dragging.  I have finished all examinations and they are all graded.  Reports are written and are going through final process of editing.  Must be printed, copied and sent out this week.  Will also need to collect together all the year's plans for filing, totally up to date and assign planning tasks for over the summer so we come back ready for Autumn.  There is a chance we may have to move schools to our new up to date, very fancy school.  This means the whole class needs to be packed up in boxes before we leave for the summer.
Meanwhile school goes on as normal.  We are presently writing a play and making masks to present the actors.  We will practice and perform.  The kids are having great fun with paper mache everywhere and dripping flour and water and exploding balloons.  Am holding out for end of term! 
 

We  returned to Tigers a week or two ago.  We planted our plants with the boys there and had a lot of fun.  I hope the plants survive.  We also went to the Tigers halfway house where those who will be fostered are re-educated in social skills and in academics.  It was great for my kids to see.  They were far wilder than the ex-street boys.  The were guided round the farm by the boys in small groups and also saw where they slept, played and learnt. 
We then all sat and had rice and beans eating from a plate with our fingers.  This was the first time many of my kids had done this.  We then donated lots of Coke and masses of homemade banana cake.  It all got eaten very fast as you can imagine.  It was a fantastic experience. 
My class have all made power point presentations about all of our project with Tigers.  My co-teacher and I will cobble together the best of the pages as a presentation for the children's parents who will be invited in to watch their children give a talk about what we did.  Should be fun.  We have left over money so are attempting to buy Tigers club a full 16 person football strip in black and orange.  (Tiger's colours)  Each of my kids will have their names emblazed on the bottom of the shirt as well as the logo Tigers and the number on the back.  Pray it works out as it will be a fine gift.
 
Sunday school is going well.  Am working through Ruth which is a great bit of the bible to teach.  We have our 'I am...' posters up and everyone is learning lots.  Next week is my last week and then will be replaced for the summer by one of the elders, Andrew.  Will do them lots of good to have him.
 
Thinking of you all as my feet get very itchy!
 
Catherine

May 08

Dear all,

Well I’m just over halfway through an exceptionally long term.  Just about to start on the big end of year tests SATS and then write up reports with parents eve in tow as well as the usual teaching, marking and prep.  End of term-itus is already setting in, although we have approx 6 weeks to go.

 

Here’s a few of the things I’ve been up to that you might be interested in.  My class is doing a community development project.  We decided to raise money for a NGO called Tigers which aids street children.  We planted sunflower seeds which we sponsored for growth.  Meanwhile we went and visited the headquarters of Tigers and found out about the children there.  We introduced ourselves, played games, listened to members of Tigers tell us about their lives and then wrapped it up with an amazing game of football.

My class where a little shy at first but soon got stuck in.  We will return with some plants we will have bought with the sponsor money and are planning to plant them with the boys making them a beautiful, peaceful corner to enjoy in urban Kampala.  We also hope to visit the halfway house were about 30 of the boys live before being fostered into families.

 

 

At church we have just had an all day Bible Holiday School.  Took place on a Saturday.  Was really hard to get up in the morning but well worth the effort!  Theme was Ps 100:3 Had praise and worship, puppets, all age bible study, small age group bible study, 2 lots of craft, games and of course lunch.  Kids had an excellent time and it was fun to get to know them better and jump around being silly.  In Sunday School this AM finished my series on the ‘I ams…’of Jesus.  Hoping to make some posters next week in class about them. 

 

Sending much love

Catherine

 

   

March 2008

Dear All,

Greetings from Uganda in the rainy season.  Here’s a little update about what I’ve been up to. Spring term ended well.  I took my class on an outing. We had been studying water and so we went to visit the Rwenzori water factory where we saw water being pumped from the ground, purified, bottled, boxed and transported.  Fitted very well with the work we had done in class on water purification and water usage in Uganda.  We then went onto the national stadium where we were privileged to meet the National football team, the Cranes.  We watched them practice, had our photos taken with them, kicked the ball round with a few of them and then had our own game of footie on their pitch.  Quite an experience.  We then had our lunch in the stands before returning back to school. A wonderful day.

Holidays started and my Mum, Aunt and Uncle turned up from England.  They had a day exploring town along with Ray, a YEA worker, and then I took them to Jinja to see the source of the Nile.  Then Ian took us on a 5 night 6 day safari to the Ssese islands, Lake Mburo and Kibale forest.  Colin, Lynette and David Cormel accompanied us to the Ssese. We had a wonderful time travelling by ferry, experiencing tropical storms, having a surprise birthday party for mum, having a foot safari and seeing the animals at Lake Mburo, chimp trekking in Kibale forest and relaxing on a beautiful tea plantation.   On our return we had one more day in Kampala before they had to go home.
We returned to a drenched and wet Kampala with much evidence of flooding.  My back compound wall had fallen down due to the build up of water. It is presently being rebuilt and a temporary one in place at present.  When Mum left at 6.30AM it was raining so hard that Ian had real problems reaching us and we had to wade out through the mud and torrents of water running down the roads to meet him!  However we reached the airport in plenty of time.

Before Easter the Sunday School had been working hard on an Easter extravaganza which involved all the children from the Lugandan and English services and the church choir.  It was fantastic that the children were put central stage on a very important day in the church calendar and that the service was bilingual therefore involving all.  The performance went extremely well with over 800 people attending.  People commented on how well it went and we have 10 new banners made for the service still decorating the church.  Now it will be a relief to return to ‘normal’ Sunday school lessons for a few months!

Have met up with David C once or twice and will be waving him off shortly as his 6 months stay comes to an end.  He will be missed.

 

Now I am left with the aftermath.  Much putting to right in the house and then preparation for school which starts again this Wed.  I will be working all the way through to July 11th without a half term.  We will have one or two long weekends as there will be a few national holidays.  After that I will have completed one academic year here in Kampala and although I have travelled around a bit will not have left Uganda for a year!  Time flies.  I hope to travel again over the summer and possibly return to the UK at Christmas when I can catch up with all the relatives and friends in one fell swoop!

Thank you so much to all the people who write to me and pray for me.  It is very valued.

With much love,

Catherine

 


Monday 11th Feb 08

Had a fun packed Sunday this weekend.  Was invited to Alex’s graduation.  This was about two hours drive, one hour on tarmac and 1 hour on a very bumpy road.  Got picked up by Ian, Alex, Prosper and Isaac at approx 9.15 AM and set off.  Following independently was another bus with some of Alex’s university/church friends.  We had a fine journey there, stopping for sodas to take to the family.  However by our arrival the back suspension was hanging down due to the bumpiness of the road. 

 

On arrival we attended a catholic church service as Alex’s dad is a catholic.  LONG service crammed into a small schoolroom.  Alex’s achievements were celebrated and the people of the village were happy for him.  He gave a talk at the end encouraging the young to continue with their education and to put God central in their life.  Then returned to Alex’s father’s home where a awning had been put up and was in the process of being decorated by his sisters and aunties whilst his mother organised the cooking, plates etc.  The young men continued with the awning/music whilst the more older and more honoured guest sat inside waiting/talking/reading the newspapers etc.  When food ready we washed our hands and dug into a veritable feast of local village food.  Fingers first, no cutlery.  Then the speeches started and continued and continued and continued….  Mostly in Lugandan.  It was obvious that Alex is well loved by friends and family alike and all enjoyed reminiscing on Alex’s past, what he had achieved and his future.   Then the cake was cut and passed round followed by a flurry of photos. 

 

As dark descended we finally loaded the car again.  This time Ian, Alex, me and 4 of Alex’s sisters. We got a short way down the bumpy road before we got a flat.  So Ian and Alex progressed to changing the tire.  Unfortunately as we were stopped on a slope the jack would not go high enough.  By mobile phone light we searched down stones and a bit of log, balanced the jack on them and jacked again only to find the jack was not cooperative and kept sinking back down.  Meanwhile the girls and I slowed down cars as they passed so they wouldn’t bash Ian and Alex off the road as they plunged past at terrific speed or cover us head to toe in red dust.  This is all in the pitch black mind you!  We also asked motorists as they passed if they had another jack.  We found no jack but plenty of advice and climbing out of the taxi to peer over your shoulder.  Finally with a little help from a taxi driver got on the new wheel only to find that that too was semi flat.  We limped to the nearest town where thank goodness Alex’s aunt was waiting.  Here we girls unloaded ourselves and reloaded into the aunties car and taxis leaving the lads behind to deal with the car.  As by now it was 10.30ish on a sun night no mechanic was to be found.  So the lads stayed over night and got the car sorted in the morning.  Think the suspension had gone further and wheels needed sorting.  I arrived home 11.30, covered with dust with my contact lenses dried to my eyes which were burning with soreness.  What a day to remember!

 

Here’s a few pictures of the nicer parts of the day. Wish you’d been there!

Much love

CatherineX


 

Jan 29th 08

Dear all,

Here’s a little update from Sunday School over here.  On the 27th of Jan we had a joint Baptist Church children’s meeting called Celebrate Kids.  Each church had to prepare three songs with actions.  One as the theme song of the whole celebration, one as a district song and one for their own church.  Needless to say we teachers and children had to practice long and hard for weeks in advance, even meeting on Saturdays and during the week.  It was good for all of the children in KBC to join together  - the children from  the first service who are usually taught in Lugandan and the children from the second service who are usually taught in English.  It was also great to get some fantastic drumming in and we had fun making up some funny dance movements including a cheer ending in a shout that literally raised the roof top.  Approx 70 children took part in the performance although there were others who also came to some of the practices.  We had some great stripy Tshirts for them to wear and they all looked very smart.

On the day we performed in our church in the morning and then we teachers held onto the kids and gave them lunch out the back of the church.  We then all packed into what ever car/minibus that was available (health and safety in the UK would have had a fit) and drove the short distance to an other church.  Here the kids enjoyed joining together to sing and listening to each other also getting the opportunity to watch a puppet show, see some dancers and hear a short talk.  Exhausted by the end we walked back to church where the parents picked up their children.  It was only when I got home and after finally eating and putting my feet up I downloaded my pictures that I really realised how great the day had been for kids and adults alike.

Here’s a few photos.  (Also some taken by Steve Jenkins of the rehearsals - more on his site 'openlife')

Much love

Catherine

Practice before
On the day

Jan 08

Hi ,
All going well here. 
 Only three weeks into half term and exhausted.  My class has finally been split.  So first we had the emotional trauma for all concerned with who goes where. 
 Now I have a new teacher and TA to support with plans, aid etc.  Gone from just looking after myself to trying to lead a team.  HARD work but in the long run when they all know what they are doing it will be brill as I have only 13 children in my class now.  Yes you heard it 13!  Marking takes half the time and the kids get double the attention.  Bliss.  BUT meanwhile I need to get everyone up to speed. 
 Have parents evenings next week and am not looking forward to the long list of groans I will hear about the split. 
Meanwhile church is very busy.  We have a joint Sunday school service with a whole bunch of other churches.  Our kids must do three songs and we practice on sat and sun.  Performance this sun and then it will be done.
   Have 2 more weeks of school and then a half term.  Going to a beautiful lake in the SW called lake bonyoni.  Going to sit in a posh tent, read a book, drink coffee and G and T and eat chocolate whilst enjoying a spectacular view.  Can't wait. 

write and tell me the news,

Much love

Catherine


 

23rd November 2007

Dear All,

Hello to everyone and thanks for your numerous enquiries after me.  All is going very well here. I have been very busy at school over the last few weeks and am presently working with the Year 6 to put on a massive performance of the Christmas Carol including songs, props, costumes etc.  It is eating up a lot of school time.  Must also put together some sort of end of term display for the parents.  My class are building battery powered cars from scratch.  This also is driving me nuts…but the kids are having a wail of a time.

At church we are also working towards Christmas in the Sunday School where we are going to perform for the whole church in a few weeks time.  Not much, a song or two and some readings, but still takes organisation.  The Sunday school material I bought over has been taken in and with some training in Jan I am hoping it will be implemented early next year.

It is CHOGM here at the moment and the Queen, Philip and I believe Charles are here.  Our half term was pushed back so I have had the week off.  Didn’t go anywhere though many people left Kampala if not the country to try and avoid the fuss.  It hasn’t been as bad as expected.  Ugandans seem genuinely glad to have the queen here and are busy making as much money out of it as possible.  People have lined the streets to see her and watched her opening speech with interest on TV.  It has also meant a big clear up around Kampala, planting plants, clearing rubbish, filling potholes which everyone has appreciated.  In just a week though I am sure we will be back to normal.

I have two more hectic weeks of school and then I break up for Christmas.  Am going to Jinja for a day or two to wind down.  Then doing a few days on starting my reports due in Jan, then Jon and Laura come for a while and I shall be busy hosting, then I have a week to plan the whole of my next term’s work.  So will be busy.

Am enjoying it very much here and now feel quite settled in.  However can’t wait to see J and L and family at Christmas and my Mum and aunt and uncle at Easter.  Any other visitors more than welcome!

Missing you all but not your cold weather!

Catherine


30th September 2007

Dear all
am writing this at 4AM as unable to sleep!  All is going well here.  I am now well established at school and getting to know my class and TA well.  My class are fun and  boisterous and have over anxious parents.  Have had a series of parents meetings and even INSET on a Saturday so am seriously tired and a little overworked.  However have a long weekend next weekend and am going to Sipi Falls with a group of school friends.  Plan on doing very little except sleep, eat and read whilst admiring the scenery.
Haven't seen Ian for 2 weeks as he has been off in Kenya.  Hope to catch up with him in church today.  However have seen plenty of David  and have taken him to one of Colin and Lynette's wedding meetings.  He is hoping to help me out in school once a week as well which will be fun for him.  He is doing very well and settling in fast.
CHOGM week fast approaches and every business rushes to be prepared.  The rain has not been so bad here but I know many parts of the country are still suffering.  I have been starting to slowly sort out my flat for Laura and Jonathan's visit.  I bought 2 single beds for Hannah and Amy and now have had bed posts put on them and mossy nets.  Just need mattresses.  Will all be sorted by Christmas.  More worrying is the fact that the extremely large spider that used to live on the ceiling of my balcony in a very large web has gone missing!  I must keep a wary eye out for him!
Church goes well.  I teach each week in Sunday school.  The children are fantastic.  I went out for lunch with Faith, Mim and Maria last week and had an update of their work in VIVA and Compassion.
Thank you for all your support,
Catherine X
 

4th September 2007

Dear all,
All going well. Have spent most of the last two weeks in meetings and then trying to plan and get to know my TA in between times followed by mad dashes into town to buy food and a few basics. Have acquainted myself with the local buses, the boda drivers, guards etc. A lot to learn. After that have been working in the evenings starting my planning most of which I have to
start from scratch. Have a long way to go on that yet but the children are coming tomorrow so will have to sort it all out as I go along. Feel exhausted before term even begins.
Have a nasty tickling cough that keeps me up at night along with the local dogs and music from the local bar. Am growing accustomed to the local pollution both fumes and noise. Those of you planning to visit me - DON’T be put off. Just pack some ear plugs if you are a light sleeper! Have met up with Ian and he gave my home a look over and showed me a local shop or two. Have gone to one of Collin and Lynette’s wedding meeting which was great fun. I plan to go every week, if possible. Met with Pastor Andrew and the Sunday School leader. Immediately taken back into Sunday School and am already teaching full time. Last Sunday went well and I gave the leaders a copy or two of the books I bought over. I hope they will be used well.
On a lighter tone, I attended a yearly event – a goat race. It was set up a bit like a horse race with an oval track. There were 8 races with 10 goats in each race. The goats ran around the track 2 times being pushed by a large padded board if they became reluctant. Was most amusing to watch. School starts tomorrow and I will be even busier. Hope to have a quiet
weekend and do a little planning. I have 25 children if they all turn up which is the max allowed in the class. I expect the parents won’t like that. My new class had 5 teachers last year and the parents will be anxious that they have a good teacher this year. The children also got a bit out of hand last year and in bad habits. So I am in for a challenge! Keep writing,

Much love C

22nd August 2007
Dear all,
well I have arrived. So time to fill you in. As you all know I hate flying and I can't say I enjoyed the flights.
However they were straight forward, all on time and with only normal turbulence. That was a relief.

On arrival I was picked up by the head of primary and miraculously all my baggage had arrived. I was 5kg over my allowed weight but didn't have to pay any excess luggage. That would have been 150 pounds! The head of primary told me I was not in the same flats that I had seen before. I thought, oh no! However God has provided me with a 3 bedroom flat in a small compound which has 4 flats altogether. It is about 10mins walk from school. It has a large lounge and kitchen, 3 bedrooms, a bathroom with a flushing loo and a BATH and another toilet and a shower in a separate room. I have lots of hot water and have yet to see a cockroach. WOW! There are two compound cats so I don't miss my cat so much. We are right by a local market which is great for cheap veg and not far from 2 small super markets.
So now I have all this space, people, you had better come and visit!

The first night I just slept. Luckily I had my Ugandan sim card so I could contact mum. The next day I still felt a bit groggy but started to do some shopping for the flat. I got some food, towels, mosquito net, bin etc. Starts to add up when you have to buy stuff to set up a house from scratch. I was returning home on a boda for the first time and couldn't find the correct turning. We were zooming around looking for the road when a nice lady pointed us in the right direction. She turned up at my flat later and
introduced herself as my cleaner. So she is starting today. Another God send and a worry off my mind.

Then in the evening I went to a new teachers informal get together at the head's home. This was great to meet everyone. I also had the opportunity to see quite a few of the other flats and I think God got the perfect one for me! I tried to talk to lots of people, especially the Ugandan staff. The ICT man, Roger (Ugandan), goes to St Francis, I think a Church of Uganda and I met a
lovely lady called Ellie (Ugandan) who is the Year 1 teacher who works in the Sunday School in Kampala Pentecostal Church. She will be some one I must become friendly with. Also chatted a lot with the lady that will live below me.

Today I have come to school to start filling out forms and meet the office staff. Also to use the computers here. I will not have access on my lap top for some time I imagine so my letters may be few and far between for a while. I expect to do more shopping today for the house and then visit my old house mates this evening. Should be fun. Hope to start sorting out the
laptop on Wed.

So all is going very well and God has provided more than I need! Please write and tell me how you all are.
Much love,
Catherine X
 

2nd March 2007
Dear all,
Sorry I haven't written for a while. The computer isn't working at our place I was spoilt to have it anyway. Whenever I go into hotmail it crashes before I can do anything, so now must visit internet cafe which is a long journey into town and costs. Last week was a bit of a non entity to me. I kicked my heels waiting for everything to start. I spent long hours sitting alone in shopping malls drinking coffee. This all became rather depressing so decided to get really busy this week and have. On Tuesday I went to an agency called open doors. They take children off the street and first of all try to take them home or find out what home life is like if any. Then with parents and child's permission, if they wish, they are given a home on site and educated there at first. When they are a little more settled they are then sent to ordinary primary/secondary school.

I went into the interim class, those trying to get used to not being on the streets. Only 10 kids, all boys and right hoodlums. Needless to say that was just my cup of tea. Will be returning every Tues. Then on Wednesday I went into the compassion office and helped out. Was given a job they thought would take me a day and completed it in one hour. Big mistake!
Have now been given several 100 report cards which I have to find the file for, up date all entries, work out average grades, note if going up a year and graph their progress before re-filing. Needless to say this is a massive job. I don't know if this is what I will continue with next week but it is good being in the office getting to know everyone and how things work. Then on Thurs I get to go out visiting the children. I tag along with one of the office staff and just observe. Sounds easy but I actually found this the hardest. I am no social worker and the extremes these kids live in is upsetting for me as an unhardened westerner to see. Still this is life in all it's gory glory here and I know that compassion is doing all it can to aid these children. On Wed night went to youth meeting, hoping to go to a student meeting tonight and have compassion on Sat and a youth meeting and then Sunday school on Sunday. So as you can see much busier. Praying that I have wisdom in the situations I enter into and grace to deal with what I see. Hoping you are all well. Oh yes, an answer to prayer. I have been offered full time work for the last half of the summer term. That is a relief.
keep praying for the first half as I shall be broke on my return
Love Catherine
 
Friday 23rd Feb 2007
Sorry haven't written for a while. Our computer has gone dodgy and will only work occasionally. All is well here if going a little fast. I have
had a quieter week this week in which I have got myself organised for the next month. Will be working with compassion wed and Thurs with office and visits. On sat I have a compassion teaching day. On Sunday I do Sunday school and on Tues will work in a project called open doors (takes street kids in). This leaves Mon totally free and Fri preparation day. This will keep me plenty busy. I will soon have to start taking action looking for a job on my return. Not a nice thought. Hope all is well with you.
Much love Catherine
 
Monday 19th Feb 2007
Dear all,
Had a great week last week. Started on Monday by taking a trip with the other 3 girls in my house down to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Hired a driver and he drove us down there and organised all sorts of game drives and boat trips for us. Was a great experience and saw lots of animals I had never seen before except for in a zoo eg - elephants, hipos and even lions up close. We also went for a walk through a section of forest spoting chimps and elephants. We had to cross several rivers by climbing over felled trees that acted as bridges. My high light was when one poor bloke slipped and fell in the river. I know I'm mean and later I put my foot in a hole and fell flat on my face which serves me right for laughing at him. We returned home on Thursday. Since then I have helped in the compassion school on Sat and taught in Sunday school. Went to compassion today to arrange some home visits. Nothing yet. Yesterday we went to a traditional dance evening. Great fun. We had to get up and dance but luckily I have the right size bum for this culture! The two main actors from The Last King of Scotland were there and it was fun to rub shoulders with Holliwood stars. Haven't seen the film yet. This morning while it was still dark we had a small earthquake! I woke up as my bed was shaking and all the animal were howling and making a fuss.
It only lasted a minute or two but that was the first quake I've ever experienced.
Catherine
 

February 12th 2007
Hi, I have returned from upcountry, as they call it. It wasn't easy but rewarding.
Started with taking a huge bus from Kampala to Hoima. It was huge as it had massive wheels to get through the potholes. Grog, you would love to have it! it broke down only once on our journey and didn't take long to fix so I think it was relatively good. Ian accompanied me up to Hoima as there was a course for youth leaders being run. As well as every seat in the bus being full the aisle was full with people and their belongings down to chicken and anceint grandmas. 3 and a half hours in the sweltering heat followed with lots of bumping around. Countryside scrubby and populated mostly along the road.
On arrival we caught bodas to the hotel where Ian was to stay. I met Rev Godfrey there who took me to his home and then to his nextdoorneighbours where I was to stay. Big, quiet house, running water in tap outside, pit latrine to visit at midnight, rats in the roof and very kind, generous and loving couple. Him a principle of a nearby school and she an agricultural teacher.
Next day attended course for youth leaders. Ended up having to talk shortly also! Course punctuated with lots of singing and dancing to drums which I enjoyed. Following day Collin joined us and I went to Mustard seed Orphanage. It was a bit overwhelming the first time you got there. The children were lovely. I spent the next few days spending the mornings playing with the kids and then reading, telling stories and drawing in the afternoons as they hadn't gone back to school yet. EXHAUSTING!!! In evenings returned to my quiet house to recover and be force fed with copious amounts of ugandan food cooked on a small cool stove taking hours of intensive labour.
Went to sunday school on Sun and again asked to talk. Also slipped into the back of the cathedral to see the end of a church of uganda service.
I had some free time on Monday and had chats wirh several interesting people including evace who runs Mustard seed. A fantastic woman who is immensly strong and loving. She called me dear all the time and hugged me so hard she lifted me of my feet! From Tuesday on I started working in a local school of 1000 kids. 75 plus per class and as the beginning of the year here and kids hadn't been streamed was teaching 140plus per class room. A bit of a squash. Here I either taught or marked for the teachers. It was a fascinating experience and the style of teaching is very different and caning totally exceptable.In the evening i still went to Mustard Seed.
Wed night I felt sick. Spent whole night violently throwing up and with sky high temp. Dragged myself to the local clinic next day and told was food poisoning not malaria. Returned back home and spent most of the day sleeping, couldn't keep anything down. My hosts kept prodding me awake to check I was still alive. The next day I felt more normal and could keep my food down. Unfortunately this was my day to return to Kampala. So said my goodbyes and returned by taxi.
Oh the wonders of a flushing toilet minus wildlife and a sink with running water. I really enjoyed Hoima and got a lot out of it but will not pretend it was easy or all sunshine.
Have a weekend here to get sorted and then hopefully off on a visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park with my housemates, Looking forward to hearing your news,
Much love Catherine
 

Saturday 20th January 2007
Hi, here's the latest,
Very busy week. Tuesday to Thursday helped Ian run a discipleship course at his house. This involved a group of about 20 teens from Compassion camping in Ian's garden. I spent most of my time stuck in the kitchen helping with the cooking or endlessly washing up. Other than that I spent time with the campers, particularly the girls, attended all the seminars and even took one! My most important lesson was how to peel a matoke which amused everyone as I was so bad at it even after a whole bag full! Slept on the floor in Ingrid's room. Had fun avoiding the rat at night which tried to get at the food we had stored in the room and dodging the fast moving cockroaches in the bathroom. Went back and forth to Ian's house on a motor bike /boda am getting better at sitting side-saddle and not nearly falling of every time we go over a bump.

Got lost on my return and zoomed round my home area looking for the right road for about 10mins trying not to panic as i had no phone. On my return home our house was full of 18 teenage girls from the church who were staying the night. So back to the kitchen and also repeated my talk for them. They were typical teenage girls and didn't stop talking until 3AM. Yesterday Ian and Collin took me out for a late welcome meal and we talked about what else I can do here. In the evening I went out to a Christian University student meeting again on a boda which is crazy at night. Kampala at night is not so safe so need to be careful. Another discipleship course next week and then possible a conference and staying at the orphanage in Hoima for a week or two. Very busy! Also arranging a trip to Queen Elizabeth Park.
My mobile phone number is - If you phone on your land line 00256774426784 If you phone on your mobile
+256774426784 I HOPE THIS IS RIGHT.
Love Catherine
 
Sunday 14th January 2007

I have arrived safely. Ian picked me up and gave me a roof for the first night. It was good to catch up with Collin and Ingrid also. Attended the Youth camp and helped out in any capacity I could as well as getting to know as many of the leaders and staff as possible. A lot of names to remember! About 90 people at camp many rededicated themselves or became Christians for the first time. Focus on leadership and living a Christian life. Have now returned to Kampala and am at Faith's and Maria's. Going to church this AM and introducing myself. Next two weeks helping Ian with 2 Compassion gatherings at his house. Hope all goes well for you. Prayers much appreciated. Love from sunny Uganda Catherine PS Please send my thanks from the people who received gifts over here which I carried over and my thanks for the prayers. It helped on the flight although I didn't sleep for the whole journey as so nervous.