Team visit to Uganda - Geoff Hutchinson

Geoff and the team in UgandaOur group of 7, shepherded by Pauline at all times, were privileged to witness the start of a new enhanced health provision for the children of Kamutuuza and surrounding villages. Ian Howarth’s photographs have gone a long way to capture the essence of the events surrounding the launch of the newly extended and equipped Wellspring paediatric medical centre. However, the atmosphere of optimism was palpable and the tangible hope and spirit of joy in an otherwise deprived community was humbling.

Everyone shed a tear or two when genuine heartfelt thanks were expressed by children and their carers. Our hearts were broken when we thought for the briefest moment about the facilities enjoyed in the UK by our own children, at home and school and hospital, and the life ‘challenges’ for the beautiful and smiling and loving children in rural Uganda.

There is no doubt that the open and loving nature of the children in Kamutuuza has a long-term impact on the hearts and minds of every UK visitor.

Personally, I find visiting Uganda an emotional upheaval. General day to day activities are stressful. No hot water for a shower is stressful. Shaving in the dark or by torchlight in a power cut (every day) is stressful (I shaved from memory without a mirror). Breakfast at the Tropic Inn is stressful – stale cereals, milk sometimes not an option, often no power – so no toast!

Stress levels  increase for everyone on the roads. Often there is no tarmac even in major settlements – just compacted, rutted, African dust. Twice we had to get out of the van and push. The rain had made the track muddy and we had skidded slowly onto an adjacent field … all matter of fact – get out and push!

At the opening ceremony for Wellspring two Bishops came along and both addressed the audience of 400 villagers who came to join in the celebrations. Then the government minister of health spoke and then a series of thanks from various government departments and local committees. The highlight came when one or two grandmothers stood up to say thank you to the Wellspring staff. Best of all several COIN children made speeches to reinforce how Wellspring had supported themselves and their families and gave all credit to God, who had sent Wellspring into their communities, and made their lives special and loved. Their words made all the stress worthwhile!

10th December 2015

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