Spring Newsletter 2013

8th March 2013

Dear Friends

I have received an email today from my friend Alex who had travelled to St James especially so that he could deliver a letter from me and he took photos showing the progress that is already being made on the new classroom block, Hambridge Hall! He also attached a letter from James giving other news about the school and orphanage. Early in February, after I made the decision that I would have to postpone my visit, I sent Alex the first installment of the money we have raised and he delivered it to the school shortly afterwards.

Below in bold are sections of James’ reply to me.

Dear Gerry thank you very much for your letter. It was a real encouragement to me to see that at least you are alive and can write again. To be sincere everybody here at school ran very cold on learning that you were very sick and hence was not coming to Uganda!! The children all pray for you in assembly. I told most members of our village about your sickness and they all felt sad and wish you a quick recovery. Gerry, we really want you alive and I know God will hear our prayers to give you more days on earth. I know one day one we must die but this should not happen to us now! God of Abraham. God of Issac, God of Jacob please hear our prayers.

These dear people were so scared for me as it was such a shock to them that I had had to postpone my visit. In their minds, if I was that sick, I must be seriously ill and in Uganda you do not have much of a chance of surviving many health problems that we are lucky enough to get proper medical help with here in the UK. It makes my heart full to bursting knowing how much they care for me and I can’t wait to get back there!

St James progress

Thank you so much for the money, I received 8,000,000 (eight million Uganda Shillings) from Alex for the Hambridge Hall. Rest assured, I promise to spend the money for its rightful purpose. The money arrived so timely as the next rains are due. They would have been so destructive to the building if it was still open. I was able to get some materials straight away like two trips of lake sand, two trips of concrete stones, timber and poles. There is also cement bought and iron bars, binding wire and ring bars. So we were able to get on with the work and as you see by the photos Alex took the lintel is now in place. I will keep updating you of any new developments on construction and the school in general through Jeremiah.

I’m so pleased that the walls we built last year are now protected by the lintel and I look forward to hearing from them again soon with more progress.

Good news

The government is making the Kamuli Jinja road!! It is really lovely travelling on the completed part between St James and Kamuli town. It is as if one is on a UK road!! It is still very rough between Buwenge and Jinja but hope by the time you come, they will have done a bit more.

This is amazing news as for years and years the road has been in such a bad condition and very dangerous to travel on especially on the local ‘suicide’ buses. There was a local joke that if all the pot-holes could be joined together the road would be smooth!  If you remember my news and photos from last year when it had been quicker and safer for me to be transported from Kamuli to St James with Alex on a piki piki (motorbike) with my case strapped onto another bike. I had to put up with clouds and clouds of thick dust but got to the school in half the time it would have taken using four-wheel transport!

Our school did well in the final P7 exams with most pupils passing in Upper Second Grade. We hope to do better when our hall is completed and we don’t have to travel long distances to the exam centres. As you know once we have the halls four permanent classrooms I will take steps to ask the Minister of Education in Kampala to visit us and grant permission for an exam sitting centre. Becoming an official exam centre will mean the children at St James would not have to travel to take their Primary Leavers Exams which is very expensive and inconvenient. The school could also earn much needed funds by charging other schools who want to use the exam centre for their P7 pupils.

Bad news

One of our pigs was crushed by a piki-piki cycle when it strayed onto the lane to go bathing. It was pregnant with 11 piglets so this is a big loss. I am so sorry about this.

This is a great shame as those piglets will have been worth a lot of money, and of course I am sad for the poor pig too!

A word of gratitude

Dear Gerry, could you please convey my greatest thanks to all those schools, individuals and groups who are doing a great job of donating money to build out school. I can’t mention them one by one but do want to welcome and say thank you to Cheadle Heath Primary School and Marton Primary School for becoming our friends. All our UK friends are doing a great job of building St James, brick by brick! Long live the Queen, Long live our friends in the UK. May the Lord Bless you all.

More next time dear. Special hugs to Great Norman. Thanks to the doctor who is attending to you.

Your friend and colleague


I was so pleased to get this newsy letter and will look forward to the next.

Thanks to all of you who have kindly made individual donations to the building work at St James and to the six schools for their amazing contributions too. Vernon, Lower Park, Cheadle Heath, Prospect Vale, and Marton Primary Schools and the Hollies Pre-School are all enjoying a friendship with St James and also raising funds to help the school.

I will be in touch again as soon as I have any more news.

Love Gerry