Uganda Lodge Newsletter June 2021

Updates From  UGANDA LODGE  

    & Ruhanga Resource Centre    
PO Box 368 Ntungamo SW Uganda



Greetings to all from Ann and Denis at Uganda Lodge,

Things are very quiet out here in rural Uganda, but COVID is now spreading out from Kampala quite quickly, although the President is doing his best to keep it under control. All our staff have had 2 x Covid Jabs but very few other villagers have had the opportunity so far. Uganda needs many more new supplies of the vaccine.

On 7th June we  were expecting 150+ lower Primary students to join the 150 older ones who were already in school, but  with only one days notice ALL were sent home - every school, college and university is now closed until at least the beginning of August.  So - millions of Ugandan children will not of had any education for about 18 months - and one wonders how many rural families will have any money at all to help with school fees even when they can start their education again. Many have returned to the old ways of growing just enough food to eat, and all the children have to help with collecting water and wood, plus cooking. None of them have the luxury of zoom and other online lessons, as most do not even have electricity, so TV and smart phones are still a thing of the future for most of them!!

We urgently need more regular donations as keeping on essential staff for security and maintenance and keeping the Medical Centre open for all is a big problem. 
Just a regular donation of £5 a month is helpful as it all adds up. See  Maybe you are willing to do a sponsored something, or a Facebook Birthday Fundraiser? Sign up for our £1 a week lottery here and  perhaps win £25,000? Join EasyFundraising so everything you purchase online gives us a small commission, yet it costs you nothing. Both these ideas already add several pounds to our monthly funding but could be massively expanded. Remember ALL money donated to our UK charity goes out to the registered NGO in Uganda called "Stand On Your Own"   The UK charity (ULCP) is run entirely by a small number of volunteers, and I would certainly welcome more offers of help with admin, social media, finding volunteers and new ideas of fundraising etc If you are interested to take on a role as a trustee that is also possible.

There are so many children here still relying on us, like the hundreds we have already provided education for over the past 10+ years. 
Thanks to all those who have already supported our work this year and helped to feed some of the older children who did come back to school for a few weeks, who enabled patients to be treated at McNeil Medical Centre and gave ad-hoc builders, labourers and local traders to earn extra cash from ongoing building work at our Vocation Centre, and the fishing villages. Our biggest problem now is that its looking like there will be another year with almost no volunteers. Aside from the small profits our Director Denis makes on accommodation and safaris, most visitors usually do some fundraising before they come, and we are able to do so much with that extra money out here. 

Some while ago, when we had many volunteers each month, Denis took out a bank loan to help finance both additional land and building at our school and to add the accommodation that is attracting visitors to the two rural fishing villages we support at Queen Elizabeth National Park   Now with almost no visitors to Uganda Lodge and QE, due to Covid-19, repaying this loan each month is very difficult. We have been told that if it could be cleared now they would accept a lot less than what is actually owed. With interest rates so low in the UK I just wondered if there were 2 people reading this who would each loan him £5,000 for maybe 2 years and as soon as visitors return here again it would be repaid. We do have some other ideas around this such as offering a couple of weeks stay at Uganda Lodge for free so please contact me direct if something might be possible. (1% interest on £5,000 for 2 years is only £100!)

I came back to Uganda in late April for 6 weeks, when 'Volunteering'  was on the list of allowed reasons for those living in UK to leave the country, but did not expect I would have to return via a RED country (Turkey) and thus have Govt Quarantine at a cost of nearly £2,000.  I have now changed my return flight to late July and would hope to be back again in October. Uganda is still welcoming tourists from most countries but you have to take a new PCR test on arrival, in case you have caught COVID on the plane I guess! 

With no children in school and things like 'home visits' not really feasable at the moment, volunteering on your own would not be easy during the next few weeks. However with two or three friends coming together, various activities such as hill walking, painting, refurbishing classrooms, simple building work and gardening can be arranged. Tourists are free to move everywhere in designated vehicles and Denis can organise escorted tours without any real volunteering, taking in several different National Parks, Lakes, Boat Trips, Waterfalls, Hot Springs, Mountain Hikes, and Chimp and Gorilla Trekking. We can even arrange specialist trips such as Birding... the rare ones are so easy to find here in Uganda.  Our trips  won't break the bank and all profits go back into the NGO.

As you have read this far please contact me even if its just to say 'Hi'  and also suggest to friends they might like to have a 'Holiday with a Difference'  or be able to spare £5 a month to support one of our children 

Enjoy your summer and keep well 
Best Regards from Ann McCarthy and  Denis Aheirwe 


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