Thursday, July 24, 2014

A speedy half yearly update from the Mansons

It's been almost 8 months since we landed back into beautiful Uganda. This is a quick update on whats been happening behind the scenes! 

1) The work: On arrival we were thrown straight into the work trying to get Tutapona's trauma counselling program established in the North of Uganda with some of the 60,000 refugees who had recently arrived in December/January from South Sudan. With God's help we were able to get into a partnership with another NGO called LWF who started funding our work up there and Tim had a big part to play in this. Down South, we've been working in Nakivale Refugee Settlement (this camp has been open 60 years) with some of the 70,000 refugees there from Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. In the time we've been here we've been able to double our staff and reach and the response from our beneficiaries has been overwhelmingly positive. We're currently in the middle of some talks for exciting partnership opportunities which could see our work rapidly expand in the second half of this year. Helen has been working alongside the team to help them in their Marketing and Communications. We signed up to do Live Below the Line USA and pulled in $15,000 for Tutapona in a week! With a fresh re-brand complete and a strategic plan almost finished, the second half of the year will see her focusing on fundraising grants. In addition, Helen's been working with her beloved TEAR Fund and Compassion in media, writing and photography

2) Our life: Up until the beginning of July we've been living out of our suitcases and moving houses every few weeks. The house we had arranged before we moved here didn't end up coming available until a few weeks ago. We're thrilled to finally be in a stable home (most of the time). Each month still sees us travelling to Kampala and Tim travelling 12 hours North for the Adjumani part of our work. Each day Tim is at the camp (an hour away) while Helen works from home with the house taken care of by our amazing house-helper, Sophie! While the year is going far too quickly, we have found ourselves stretched to our limits a few times due to the unrelenting and overwhelming nature of our work and the long adoption process. Helen's also started a playgroup/bible study for Congolese Mum's in the refugee camp which keeps her busy on Saturdays. We've recently had Helen's family visiting and have Tim's parents coming this Sunday. 

3) Hope: Speaking of Hope, the most exciting news for us this year has been the arrival of our miracle daughter! We wrote a blog about herThe journey to adoption here in Uganda is a long, bureaucratic, emotionally exhausting process that takes every spare ounce of both our energies to undertake. We're committed to seeing it through. 

Please remember to keep us in your prayers and that we love hearing from you.

Us three!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Some wise words...

"To become neighbours is to bridge the gap between people. As long as there is distance between us and we cannot look in each other's eyes, all sorts of false ideas and images arise. We give them names, make jokes about them, cover them with our prejudices, and avoid direct contact. We think of them as enemies. We forget that they love as we love, care for their children as we care for ours, become sick and die as we do. We forget that they are our brothers and sisters and treat them as objects that can be destroyed at will.
Only when we have the courage to cross the street and look in one another's eyes can we see there that we are children of the same God and members of the same human family." 
Henri Nouwen Society