Uganda Lodge Newsletter December 2017


Updates From  UGANDA LODGE       

& Ruhanga Resource Centre 

PO Box 368 Ntungamo SW Uganda

                                               DECEMBER 2017


Seasons Greetings to all our friends and supporters.

The weeks have passed by so fast since I last wrote and I can’t believe that I am back in the UK after 8 weeks out in Uganda and its almost Christmas.

The school year ended early December and the children now have 2 months holiday before they return and start in a new class. Thanks to extra coaching from some of our International teacher volunteers even the less able children in each class did really well in their exams.

P4, P5 and P6 children sat special exams for all private schools. As most of these schools are very expensive all their students come from educated well-off families who can afford their high fees. However with our low fees and support from our UK Charity many of our children come from the disadvantaged subsistence farming families, so its fantastic that we came  3rd in the sub-county out of 13 schools, and were in the top 10% in the District. 

Thanks to all the volunteers who brought out stationery & coloured pencils sets etc. throughout the year we had saved them and were able to give prizes out to almost 100 different children. Before receiving their prizes all the children gave an hours entertainment to our visitors with dressing up and many different songs and displays of dancing.

Before their final Primary School leaving exams we usually manage to take all of P7 on an overnight educational trip and thanks to donations from several of you this year was no exception. I was fortunate in being out there at the right time and was able to join more than 30 children plus teachers on visiting a copper mine, a hydro-electric plant, an irrigation scheme, a talk about the Ugandan fishing industry in the Kazinga Channel, the hot springs where locals go to enjoy many health benefits, and a big salt lake where most of the unprocessed salt used in Uganda comes from (they currently import all their white salt) 

We spent the night in Denis’ Bandas at Queen Elizabeth National Park & surprisingly I slept soundly along with 8 very excited young ladies.  We saw hippos, elephants, antelopes and buffalo, many again for the first time.

On a different day we also visited a bakery, a cathedral, and an upmarket hotel to see how the cooked their meals, find out how a sauna worked and saw their huge washing machines and tumble dryers. Most children had never seen these before and indeed many have never seen a flushing western style toilet or had a shower before they started boarding at our school. (They do wash themselves, but use water in a plastic basin!)

Building work is moving ahead with our two new classrooms, although another one is now needed to replace the old P6 which is being used as a 3rd girls dormitory. Thanks to further donations we have nearly completed the pipework and electric cabling needed to bring water up from the 30 ft well dug earlier in the year. Its almost ready to put an electric pump in place so the well will be in use when the next dry seasons come in 2018.

Not to be outdone by the girls, the boys complained to Spanish volunteers Pablo & Marta that their dorms are also too crowded so they are now trying to raise the £5,000 necessary to build a replacement classroom for Top Class and make that into another boys Dorm. Foundations are dug so If you would like to help please use your ATM card to send us some money here: Add the comments ‘Boys Dorm’

In the same way would you like to sponsor one of our many waiting children? it makes a brilliant last minute Christmas Gift and you will receive an emailed ‘Thank You Certificate’ in time for 25th Dec if you do it quickly. Choose a child from and then set up a regular payment of just £5 a month.

Volunteers have been busy both raising money and working hard while they are out in Uganda, alongside making tables, doing building work, and giving the children extra treats such as a special meal for all the 150 school Boarders.

Most have enjoyed going with Denis on safari, and aside from the animals, sunrise is spectacular at Kasenyi across Lake George.

Do please also tell your friends that they can come to stay at Uganda Lodge, and they don’t have to volunteer; they can simply use it as a base for an affordable safari and experience a gorilla trek without it costing the thousands of pounds we usually see advertised. The small profits we make all go towards keeping school fees at an affordable level.

What of other news? One of our house-girls, Helen, had just had a baby girl and was seen in the kitchen both the day before and just a couple of days after the birth! These girls really do work hard for us.

Our Doctor Felix had a big wedding ceremony which was attended by several volunteers and they were surprised to find many of the guests in the village had never seen a white person before!

Our volunteer Co-ordinator Faridah has gone back to her bookshop in Kampala for awhile, taking with one very smart young man who is now 18 months, going on 6!! Andy especially will be missed by all. It was not unusual for him to go missing – and then be found several hundred yards away sitting up at a desk in one of the classrooms having made his way there all on his own! Thanks for all your hard work over the past months.

Pro-active volunteers have been on long and short hikes and visited many homes in the surrounding villages after invites from teachers and other friends. They have made exotic meals at the Lodge for other visitors tried out new skills such as cutting hair and helped to make school uniforms, taught welding & bicycle repairs and and now made trailers for motor-bikes.

We welcome Jen as a new overall project co-ordinator and right hand assistant to Denis. She has worked in Africa previously and I am hoping she can also lighten my admin workload and perhaps enable me to be more pro-active in looking for funding or grants and finding new volunteers & visitors

YOUR SCHOOL LOTTERY has raised some good funding over the past weeks because aside from our charity getting
back almost half of your weekly spend of just £1, most winners are donating their weekly prize money to our school as well. Thank you so much and lets hope that one day one of you will win the £25,000 Jackpot. It could be YOU – and if you join this week you may also win tickets to visit the Harry Potter Studios. Take a look here: 

Another way to support us is to register with EASYFUNDRAISING  and every time you shop online we will receive a small percentage of what you spend. This year we have raised over £300! Its easy to set up or email Jan  if you need help to set it up.

We have a group of Scouts from Scotland planning to stay with us next July and they are already raising money to buy materials so they can help the local builders to complete a large new Scout Hall/Teachers-Room/Wet-weather-play-area. Here are our staff measuring out the planned 80ft x 30ft space.

We have immunised numerous babies and treated dozens of schoolchildren throughout the past months – thanks to regular funding from ASE Consulting.
We look forward to having more overseas volunteers apply to spending a month with us doing their Medical Elective, and with no additional costs charged.

Special thanks also to Simon who has pledged to send £75 per month for a year to celebrate my 75th, to Simmy Sekhon who is still supporting almost 100 of our children through the sponsorship scheme.  to Johnathan & Nazra & others for the digging of the new well, to Karen & Lorraine, to Dr Amna & Sherry,  Lawrence, and many others who are all appreciated for the fundraising you have done and support given over the year.

I really want to thank each one of you individually by sending out ‘Thankyou Certificates’ but I run out of time each day.  Thanks Jan for keeping up with the child sponsorship admin and also for your donation towards the new classrooms plus a large consignment of tools from ‘Tools with a Mission’

I am also looking forward to further support from Jutta who is spending 3 months at Uganda Lodge and is updating our websites, running the free google ads scheme & preparing to send out these long-awaited certificates for us.

Denis is still a serving soldier in the Ugandan Army but hopes to be allowed to retire in the not too distant future, so he can concentrate even more on his many ideas that help others less fortunate than himself.

Meanwhile he is asking if anyone would be interested to invest in his projects at Queen Elizabeth National Park? Bank interest rates in Uganda are very high so he would offer a better rate than that available in western countries. Although this is not currently part of his NGO,  all the work there is benefiting the local fishing communities by employing local labour and buying foodstuffs etc  By attracting more tourists who have money to spend, some have already made new donations to their orphans and the Medical Centres etc. Please ask us for more info.

Wishing each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year for 2018 

Best Wishes From  
Ann McCarthy & Denis Aheirwe

WhatsApp  =  Denis +256 701536197 or +256 774768090 and Ann +44 7867998414 

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