Friday, July 30, 2010


This is love - you falling asleep on me was the first time I realised I'd fallen in love with you baby! You are so beautiful to me and we are so proud to be your sponsor Mummy and Daddy!

A musing...

One of my all time favourite things to do is take photos - and even more so when Im so inspired by the surroundings that encapsualte me. The photos I'm sharing with you today were taken last weekend when we went to give out hand knitted jumpers that the ladies from Eastview Church had lovingly crafted. It was such a joy to be Gods hands and feet and bring a simple thing like warmth for winter to these children. All we did was bring the jumpers, the real work was the hours of labour the ladies spent knitting! Never before have I been so convicted of the role of the Church to play their part in the world. Play their part against the injustice of starvation and poverty and hopelessness. It makes me so happy to know that these ladies cared enough to do what they could with what was in their hand and knit! Thats all we have to do you know, God isnt asking you or me to save the world or to do something hugely extravagant (although thats amazing!) but he does NEED us to use whats in our hand. Do what we can. And if that means that you are a super duper fabulous knitter - then thats what this world needs. You, to knit, for those that cant do it for themselves - like these beautiful babies in Africa. Will you do it?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Coaching Rugby

TIMS first Post

Hey everyone,

We have been in Uganda for nearly 3 weeks now and I thought I’d put some of my initial thoughts together. Firstly, we are thoroughly enjoying ourselves. The adjustment to life here has been really quick. We’re staying in a very adequate apartment, have been able to find food we recognise and everyone is very welcoming and friendly.

My teaching has been going well. My students are aged anywhere from 15 to 21. There are about 40 kids to a room, no computers and most rooms have black boards and chalk (only a few have white boards). Thankfully I’ve been given topics that I know well. The kids are exceptionally well behaved. When the bell goes to end a lesson they sit silently waiting for me to dismiss them when I’m ready. I have never worked with students as respectful as that before! Before my first lesson I wrote some notes on the board to prepare myself. There were some kids already in class. By the time the lesson started half the class had already copied out what was up, without any instruction from me. Unfortunately, the learning they do is mostly based around memorization as they need to learn a huge amount of content to stand a chance of getting into uni. There is very little thinking required of them. The teachers here are trying to change this but are forced to teach to the curriculum.

Shortly after arriving here I learned that there are a bunch of boys who have been keen to play rugby for some time but have had no one to coach them. In fact they were praying for a coach! So I’ve taken up the challenge. I started last Saturday with 4 boys. There are now about 15. It’s great fun but a bit like trying to herd cats. Most of them phenomenal athletes and they love contact but have no idea at all what a game of rugby is supposed to look like. They often struggle to understand my accent and are not familiar with rugby jargon such as ‘off-side’, ‘fifty percent intensity’ or ‘head-high tackle’.

The Watoto organisation is fantastic. On our campus there is a babies home (where Helen spends every spare minute), a village with about 200 houses, a kindergarten, primary and secondary school. The Babies Home looks after young, mainly orphaned babies until they are old enough to get placed into a home in the village (usually around 2 years old). Each of these homes is made up of 8 kids and a Mum. They stay in these homes until they go to university or get a job. The more we learn about the programme, the more impressed we are.

Many of you have probably heard about the awful terrorist attacks that happened here last weekend. A few of the people who work at my school lost relatives. Fortunately we are quite a long way out of Kampala and we feel quite safe. Also we have a softly spoken guard named Thomas who sits outside our apartments all day. He is 19 years old, built like a twig and carries an antiquated .303 rifle with 5 cartridges in it. He informed me the other day that he could usually hit targets up to 70 metres away. He is a great comfort to us. Still if you could pray for safety for us and for Uganda in general that would be much appreciated.

A verse which has come up for me time and again since we arrived is from Psalm 127: 1
“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain.
Unless God watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.”
One of my biggest concerns about this project was that we would not be here long enough to make a significant contribution to this organisation and to these kid’s lives. However, I feel that God has been pushing the idea that he can use our efforts and multiply them. It is not what we are capable of doing but what God can accomplish through us. If God is central to the work then it is not in vain.

There is quite a lot of local wildlife. Insects seem to be genetically superior over here. They are massive- I saw a wasp the other day that was nearly 3 inches long. Uganda has something like 2000 species of butterfly, compared to Britain’s 20 odd. Every time I have been for a run I have seen a new animal which is a great motivation for me. I’ve seen monkeys, guinea fowl, squirrels, a horn-billed toucan and many other interesting birds. I even heard a rumour that there is a small, shy variety of deer that lives close to our property. I’m investigating.

I’ve attached a couple of photos to this blog. If you want to see some more have a look on my facebook page. Thanks very much for your emails and prayer. We really appreciate the support. We’ll try to keep you updated.

Love Tim and Helen

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Photos from Watoto, Suubi Village

Tim has graciously let me do the first blog update and upload some photos.
He will do the next post :) xo

Photos from Watoto, Suubi Village

Tim has graciously let me do the first blog update and upload some photos.
He will do the next post :) xo


Well hello friends and family,

We have been in Uganda since Tuesday July 5th and are really enjoying it here! First impressions numero uno – blink, and you’ll miss the airport! I did. We landed and I saw something out of the corner of my eye that appeared to the naked eye to be a shed where they might repair a helicopter. Instead – much to my surprise, said shed was Kampala International Airport – no bigger than the size of an average high school gym! Our luggage arrived perfectly safe and sound after a 24 hour flight with 3 stopovers, which is always a relief for a fashionista like myself and we were warmly greeted by Sandra from Watoto. Our 90minute journey towards our new home – Suubi Village, was a bumpy one (the roads are either sandy or pothole (ish) and I was FASCINATED to see Africa up close and personal.

Uganda is beautiful and green and the dirt is red and stains/dyes your feet and legs. I kinda like it as I look browner than ever and it’s a super cheap way to fake tan. The poverty is imminent from the moment you step out of the airport, but I was not intimidated by this nor did I feel uncomfortable. For the most part it appears that people are happy going about their business, they look well fed and clothed and although to a Western standard things are under par – here everything just seems to have its place. I felt instantly safe, comfortable and happy to be here. I feel so warm and loving towards these people. Perhaps it’s because they are that way towards me.

Our house is amazing, much better than the mud hut with the drop hole I was half expecting. It has four walls and is white and has a concrete red floor. We have a bathroom and a kitchen (not like home) but they are here nonetheless. Our 2bedroom apartment even has a microwave – would you believe we have not had one in 3 years of marriage, and now we do, of all places here! We also have a fridge which makes me very happy. Oh – and I found Pringles at the supermarket. Kitkats however, are nowhere to be found – believe me, I’ve done a thorough check. Coke is plentiful though – good, good. We are eating fairly plain and basic meals. Breakfast I just have cereal and milk which is pretty standard and then for Lunch we usually are fed by the cooks who serve up rice, potatoes, beans, meat and pineapple or watermelon. Its all rather healthy and filling – just not particularly flavourful, but that’s ok! Dinner has been a challenge, Pringles is a popular choice for me hahahah. But Tim usually cooks mince and rice with a few veggies – just have to be careful to find good looking veges – they can look, shall we say, hot and bothered.

These last few days we have been mainly hanging out at the Babies Home – my all time favourite place. Come on – 30+ black babies is heaven on earth to a girl like me, so its no wonder I will make the 20minute straight uphill journey twice if not thrice to see their angelic faces. I just usually help the ‘Mum’s’ of the kids feed, play and change their nappies. We also take them for walks, play with water and sing to them. Its so amazing to see first hand how accepting and loving all the kids are. Whenever you go there, even though they barely know you, its like your their long lost pal. You are smothered with hugs and kisses and it would be rare not to have two or three children climbing on me at any one stage.
I have found myself particularly drawn to a few babies and toddlers and so today Tim and I took one little girl called Hope to church. It was so fun to have her all to myself and just to love her, and only her, for three hours. She fell asleep on my lap in the middle of church and I could have sat there all day just holding her she was so sweet.

I am awestruck by how well behaved and appreciative and grateful the children are. They are honestly some of the best kids I have ever met in my life. It is making both Tim and I reconsider how we feel about raising our own kids. It takes a village to raise a child in Africa and I quite like the motto. Things like spinach and pumpkin are gulped down and the ability for these children to be warm and friendly to anyone is something to be encouraged and treasured.

Yesterday we took a trip into town to do some grocery shopping. We found a mall – yes, thats right a mall. Albeit – not ‘my kind of mall’, it was still a place to shop – and for that I was grateful. No clothing stores though, just knickity knacks and a supermarket. Ps: There is no McDonalds in Uganda – I was genuinely surprised by this. I really did not expect that.
Our way into town involved a 15min walk to the road, a one hour ride in a van packed with 21people – no exaggeration, a 10min motorcycle ride and the same on the way back. It is a mission. We saw goats and cows (on the road) on the way. Everyone finds us white people hilarious, they say ‘Mzoungu’ which means white person as you drive or walk by, and they say it with Gusto!

Im in love with Uganda already.

Am impressed by Watoto – Gary and Marilyn, you guys are true trailblazers.

Start my job on Tuesday in the Publicity and Public Relations Department – cant wait.

Photos are on Facebook!
Xoxoox Helen