Category Archives: Uganda

Uganda Pictures

I saw a photo of Lake Albert this morning with thunderstorms rolling in. It was a National Geographic photo. It made me want to search for some more images of what is one of may favourite countries in the world!

So – there are a few below!

I hope you like them.

They are mainly culled from the internet and give some idea of the beauty and vitality of this pearl of Africa!

travel-map uganda50-beautiful-places-in-uganda-50

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Two bits of news from Uganda!

Rukungiri in North Kigezi Diocese

The latest news from Rukungiri is in the newsletter from Rukungiri Orphan Partnership

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5AxeuclIupaVGxXNElLTFM3dFU/view

An Image Slideshow

Uganda Water Tanks News! Kisoro in Muhabura Diocese

Jo and I met with Bishop Cramer and Hope Mugisha in Didsbury on Friday. It was lovely to see them again. They were able to provide an update on what has been happening about the water tanks funded by churches in Ashton Deanery. Bishop Cranmer writes: ‘Dear partners in mission, we thank God for the work done constructing water tanks in the Diocese of Muhabura with your support. We commissioned and handed over the water tanks in Nyakimanga and at Sesame Girl’s school recently. I was able to officiate at the commissioning and handover of the water tanks.’

‘People present at the ceremonies were so appreciative to the Diocese and you, our partners, who saw their suffering and constructed for them a water tank. Someone from Nyakimanga testified: “We used to walk many kilometres to Lake Chahafi, but now we thank God for this tank. We now have water in our village. The parish priest also says thank you: “before the tank was constructed I got my water from Rwanda or from the water tap in Chanika” (some kilometres away).’

Bishop Cranmer brought pictures with him of the commissioning of the water tank in Nyakimanga. here is one of them.

 

Nyakimanga

 

 

Is there anything worth dying for? Mark 6:14-29

Back in August 2014 I wrote a very short blog which mentioned Graham Turnbull. Very recently, I had a call from a Daily Mail journalist asking me about Graham. His death in the 1990s had been linked with the arrest in June this year of Karenzi Karake, Rwanda’s intelligence chief on a European Arrest Warrant.  Karake is wanted in Spain for war crimes. He is accused of ordering massacres while head of military intelligence in the wake of the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

See more at:

General Karenzi Karake has been remanded in custody pending extradition to Spainhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3141105/Rwanda-spy-chief-accused-war-crimes-bailed-help-Cherie-Blair-Britain-meet-head-MI6.html

http://independent.co.ug/news/regional-news/10380-karake-arrest-tests-uk-rwanda-relations#sthash.bG3PwQK8.dpuf

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/karenzi-karake-rwandan-spy-chief-arrested-in-london-is-implicated-in-killings-of-two-britons-10340225.html

The Spanish indictment names Chris Mannion, a British Catholic missionary shot dead in 1994, and Graham Turnbull, an aid worker and observer with the UN High Commission for Refugees killed in 1997, among foreign nationals who were targeted alongside thousands of Rwandan Hutus in the aftermath of the genocide, during which ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred wholesale by Hutu extremists.

I wonder, is there anything that you think it is worth dying for?

Perhaps if those you love were threatened? …….

What would you risk your life for?

I first met Graham Turnbull when I was staying in Uganda in 1994. Graham had given up his job as a solicitor in the UK, driven across the Sahara to deliver a landrover to Rwanda and had the intention of teaching English in a small town there. His visit coincided with the genocide in Rwanda and he could not get into the country. We shared a house for a short while in Kisoro in SW Uganda.

GrahamI can only find this picture of him taken in 1994 on a trip out to inspect some of the main road bridges in Kisoro District. Graham is facing away from the camera in the blue top.

After I had returned to the UK, Graham later managed to get into Rwanda and taught there for a time. About three years later he felt that God was asking him to be a UN observer in Rwanda. A very dangerous occupation. He wanted to do what he could to stop some of the killing which was still going on. He and his family prayed about this for some time and everyone agreed that Graham should apply for the job. It was in 1997, I was listening to the BBC news at 6 o’clock and there was a report of a group of UN observers being killed in Rwanda. Graham was one of them.

Graham gave up life in this country to serve God, and died doing so. He was 34 years old when he died.

British soldiers around the world are similarly risking their lives on a daily basis for the cause of peace and justice.

What would you be prepared to risk your life for?

That might be too hard a question to answer, so let me ask you a perhaps easier question – I wonder what it would take to make you stand up and be counted?

At times I’ve lobbied the local MP about third world debt. A little while back some of us felt that it was right to try to fight the introduction of a sex shop near the centre of Ashton. There has been the rise and fall of the British National Party and the English Defence League  – an increase in racist views. ……….

What kind of issue would be big enough for you to do something in a committed way?

We are usually reasonably happy if someone chooses to write a few letters, or to do a bit of campaigning, provided of course they don’t go overboard about it! But what would make you act, even at the risk of the disapproval of others?

external image Herodias.Salome.head.of.John.2.jpgJohn the Baptist, in Mark 6:14-29, was prepared to make a stand. His stand against Herod’s wrong relationships cost him his life.

For the sake of God’s work and God’s Word, for the sake of truth and justice, John was prepared to die. He was willing to be a martyr for what he knew to be right, for his faith. And John is not alone – for down through the centuries many people have seen their faith as more important than their own lives. Astoundingly the 20th century saw more Christian martyrs than in all 19 previous centuries since the birth of Christ, put together.

As Christians we talk sometimes about being a prophetic people. A people who model God’s love and God’s life in the world. John the Baptist, and Graham Turnbull model for us what it means to be prophetic. When we see injustice, when we see wrong, when people around us are far from God – we need to take up their challenge. We need to do something about it.

If we talk about our Christian faith we may feel foolish, we may even suffer rejection. If we stand out and speak against injustice, it’s possible people may become fed up with us. But these afflictions are nothing compared to what our sisters and brothers around the world or down the centuries have faced for the sake of the Gospel.

Working with the ongoing campaign for the relief of debt. Speaking out against injustice in our own communities. Fighting for the human rights of asylum seekers. Taking action on behalf of the oppressed. Talking of, and living out, the love of God in our communities. These, and things like them, are just small steps in the footprints of those who have gone before us.

My friend Graham decided that there were things that were worth more than his own life. Not selfish things, but things which benefited others. British soldiers have died in Afghanistan and in many other places in recent years. It is unlikely that any of us will personally be faced with the same kind of life and death issues. But we live in a world where everything is not right, where injustices exist, where people live in fear and have little or no hope. Graham and others like him are a challenge to us all.

We too need to be courageous, to be willing to act. And as we do these things we know that we do not stand alone. We stand with people like John the Baptist, like Graham Turnbull. We stand with many people that we call Saints.  But more than that, we have Jesus’ promise to his disciples. “I will be with you always – even to the end of the age!” We have Jesus walking alongside us as our friend, strengthening us by his spirit. Enabling us to be his servants. Whatever actions it is right to take, whatever decisions we face, we are definitely not alone.

Nyakimanga

100_6071Kisoro in South West Uganda is dominated by a chain of Volcanoes – The Virunga Mountains. The closest is Mt Muhabura and it gives its name to the Church of Uganda Diocese that I visited in April – Muhabura Diocese. Of theses 7 volcanoes only one seems to be anything other than completely dormant.

Over the millennia, what were once deep valleys have been filled with the lava flows from these volcanoes, leaving small hills of sand stone in the area which once would have been high hills. The pumice stone which fills the valleys is very porous and allows water to flow below ground.

This means that in the wet season the area is lush and green but in the 3 month long dry season all the water in the area disappears underground, only to be seen at locations where springs come to the surface.

100_6114The village of Nyakimanga (pronounced Nyachimanga with a hard ‘g’) in lush and green in the wet season. but dry as a bone in the dry season. These two photos show the difference.  The first was taken in April this year. The second was taken in September 2013. For three months of each year the children, usually the girls, of Nyakimanga have to set aside their education to collect water. They walk around 5 km to the nearest springs 100_4820and then carry back heavy jerry cans full of water. It is a hard life.

I am delighted that St. Martin, Droylsden, The Good Shepherd, Ashton and a number of local Church of England schools raised enough money at Harvest 2014 to provide Nyakimanga with a water tank.

The money reached the village at around Christmas time and they formed a committee led by the local church leader and they have decided together on the size and construction of the tank. They have employed local contractors and the tank has been built. When I was in Uganda in April, they had completed the reinforced floor of the tank and were well on with the constriction of the walls.

100_6120Once the tank is completed it will be fed from the roof of the church and one of the local houses and it will hold enough for very basic use by villagers throughout the dry season.

They are overwhelmingly grateful to people in the UK who have given so generously.

And finally, … for now at least!

Written on the flight home, early on 23rd April – St. George’s Day.

My first visit to Uganda in 1994 started with a train journey from Mombasa. So it is perhaps fitting to end with a short piece about what is happening to the railways of Uganda now. The first line from Mombasa through Nairobi and on to Kampala and then Kasese was built well over a hundred years ago and is of a narrow gauge construction. There is to be a new line from Mombasa through to Kampala provided a current dispute between the Chinese contractors and the Ugandan government can be resolved.

I read this piece in the Railway Magazine on the flight home ….

“Uganda set for rail revival? …. Freight traffic in Uganda is slowly increasing, although long-term prospects probably depend on the completion of the proposed standard gauge line from Mombasa, in Kenya, to Kampala, in Uganda. The line is being built by Chinese contractors and is now the subject of disputes between the Ugandan government and the contractors.”

This new line will be to standard gauge and there will be transhipment issues between different parts of the network.

The passenger service I enjoyed in the 1990s is long gone. New Vision in Uganda carried a story about the decline of the railways.

http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/629156-How-Uganda-Railway-collapsed.html

I did a little bit of research on the way home.

The government is considering developing commuter services for Kampala:

www.railwaygazette.com/news/…/kampala-passengerservice-planned.html

Two wikipedia articles are interesting, giving some good background information:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uganda_Railway

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uganda_Railways_Corporation

RVR (Rift Valley Railways) is the new franchise holder for the railways and is beginning to undertake some development work.

http://www.raillynews.com/2013/gulu-railway-re-opens-20-years

http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Corporate-News/RVR-breaks-even-in-the-first-half-to-June/-/539550/1941582/-/v7mf82/-/index.html

Heading Back to the UK

I fly from Entebbe airport this evening arriving back in the UK after a short stopover in Amsterdam in the early morning. Jo and I then head off on holiday. I’ve enjoyed doing quite a bit of theological reading over the past 2 or 3 days and you can have a look at some of the issues I’ve been reading and reflecting on under the pull-down menu ‘Shame the Gospel and the Cross’ on my blog.

I thought it would be good to leave you with a series of different images.

First a variety of different images from Kampala which show the contrasts between rich and poor and which also show something of it’s beauty.

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I also wanted to let you see where Jo and I will be on holiday – so here are a few photos to finish the post.

The Cottage is called Tigh SgeirGael and it is sited  a kilometre or so from any other building immediately above the sea under the cliffs of Gribun on the Isle of Mull.

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