Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Our ridiculously late first update

A Tutapona staff member sits outside one of our offices in Nakivale Refugee Settlement
An update at long last.

Sorry for the delay. There's really no excuse. Other than Eva. We blame it on our 6 month old. Mainly because she cant talk back and tell you otherwise.

Lets get on with it. Firstly, as many of you are aware, we've now become Tutapona staff, after being externally supported last time. Helen is helping Tutapona part time with Marketing and Communications and also working with her beloved Tearfund/Compassion. I was lined up to be the Head of Programs. However, a month before we left New Zealand we had a curveball thrown our way. Carl and Julie Gaede (Tutapona's founders) called after they'd visited the Middle East to tell us of their family's plans to leave Uganda and move to northern Iraq. They will be setting up a new branch of Tutapona there to work with Syrian refugees. Carl asked if I'd consider being the Uganda Country Director in his absence. While an honor to be asked, the proposal was (and still is) daunting. We accepted after some careful thought and prayer.

The Gaede's leave Uganda in two weeks for a visit to the US, before launching the new operation in Iraq, in September. It hardly needs to be stated that the need in the Middle East for trauma rehabilitation is enormous. What has unfolded in Syria was described recently as the worst humanitarian disaster since WWII. Certainly the number of people displaced and the horrific nature of the conflict give strong evidence towards that claim. Duhok (where they'll be living) in Kurdistan is a strategic location in reaching many who have fled from Isis.

While less prevalent in the news, Uganda also currently has half a million war affected refugees within her borders. New refugees arrive here daily from South Sudan, Burundi and the Congo. The need for Tutapona's work here has not diminished. Our 21 Ugandan staff and handful of international staff and volunteers are working hard to address the psychological needs of some of the most traumatized people living in these settlements.

 If you are interested in finding out more about the work here in Uganda or the new operation starting up in Iraq please ask. We  love being contacted so please stay in touch. If you feel the urge to send chocolate, don't resist. Finally, we ask you to pray. We believe God cares deeply about 'the least of these'. In particular the mandate of our work is to bind up the broken-hearted and without God that is an overly ambitious goal.

Tim, Helen, Hope and Eva

Tutapona, PO Box. 32361, Clock Tower, Kampala, Uganda

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