First Impressions of Uganda

Here are some thoughts from three members of our group for whom this was their first visit to Uganda:

Muzungu, Muzungu!!! The children shout excitedly from the side of the red dusty earth track with massive pot holes that rock the jeep from side to side. The countryside is beautiful, lush green, plantains, bananas, avocados and massive jackfruit hang from the trees. We travel high up into the mountains visiting remote villages where UWCM visit on a regular basis. As we get near we hear the wonderful singing and that lovely ululation, a strange howling sound, then we see the women and children dancing and cheering, just for us!! We are greeted with hugs and ‘special’ handshakes the children, so beautiful, are so pleased to welcome us, tears fill my eyes, already that red dust has got into my eyes and indeed my heart ! Penny Sims

I have been coming to talks about UWCM for approximately 20 years and have always wanted to go to Uganda. But I have never quite understood what I would be able to do if I went. Well this year I made it!!!
I feel very privileged to have been part of this year’s team. And no – I have not been able ‘to do’ very much BUT I have received SO MUCH. It has been an opportunity to see the hands, heart, ears, eyes and feet of Jesus at work. It is a very humbling experience to see those folk with very little supporting others with even less in a wholehearted way. Everything is surrounded by prayer and there are a lot of smiles. UWCM do amazing work within the poorest of communities and it is a real privilege to have visited them. Carolyn Waite

It does tear at the heart strings and there is so, so much need here, and you have to ask yourself, where do you start. It is incredibly overwhelming. What I do know is that I have to start somewhere, and just starting makes a difference. And they are so incredibly grateful just for any small gesture or help you give. It is incredibly humbling. By helping one person or family, it radiates like heat out to others in the family or community. We are doing it all through Uganda Women Concern Ministry, which means the coordinators give the food/money/clothing/ to where it is most needed. Pete O’Keeffe


Thursday  –  We visited Nakatsi Landslide Women’s Association in Bududa to help with the ‘mudding’ of a new shelter (traditional home) which the group had built for Olive and Andrew.    Their home had been washed away in the landslides towards the end of 2019 and, tragically, 4 of their 7 children also died.    Our funding enabled UWCM to buy a piece of land for them and also paid for the iron sheets for the roof plus doors, windows, nails etc.   

We then spent some time teaching the women how to make reusable sanitary pads which are in great demand as girls often have to miss school for a few days each month due to lack of protection.    We bought 2 new sewing machines for the groups and had taken out all the necessary materials with us.     We had also taken out several hundred pairs of knickers which were distributed to each of the groups we visited as women and girls in these remote communities often only have 1 pair of knickers which are kept for special occasions.

Finally, here are a couple of photographs of our group together with the staff of UWCM:

Terry Game, Bridget Withell, Sarah Parker, Graham Roberts,
Carolyn Waite, Penny Sims, Pete & Janelle O’Keeffe

Rainwater Harvesting Project

We visited a community on Tuesday to see one of the 1000L rainwater harvesting tanks which we are instrumental in installing.   These tanks are making a big difference to families as during the rainy season they fill up within about half an hour and supply water for cooking, washing, bathing and cleaning for several days depending on how many neighbours use it!      Each tank costs approximately £100 and to qualify for a tank each household has to provide the concrete base, gutters and pipe work.      

Please click on the following link to learn more about our Rainwater Harvesting Project which is being supported by Kenn Road Methodist Church in Clevedon

Terry Game, Bridget Withell, Sarah Parker, Graham Roberts,
Carolyn Waite, Penny Sims, Pete & Janelle O’Keeffe

PETWA / 4WD – 20th January 2020

Another busy day today visiting women’s groups and being blown away by the sheer volume of needs that they have to contend with in their communities.     We visited a lady called Petwa who has 6 children and who we first met 2 years ago when we helped the group with the construction of a new shelter (home) for Petwa.     It was lovely to be able to go back and see her and her children and although they still have many needs, at least they now have a home of their own and the group continue to support and encourage her.

We drove higher up into the foothills of mount Elgon to visit other families and then on the way home one of our vehicles got stuck in a ditch but luckily a group of men from the nearby village came to our rescue and helped push it out!    

This is something which happens occasionally and which highlighted to us the importance of UWCM having and maintaining a 4W drive vehicle – especially in the rainy season when some of these roads become impassable.

Terry Game, Bridget Withell, Sarah Parker, Graham Roberts,
Carolyn Waite, Penny Sims, Pete & Janelle O’Keeffe

Community Visit – 19th Jan 2020

We were taken to visit a lady called Skovia today who is 24 years old and a Thalidomide victim.  She has 3 young children and is living in this small home – 1 bedroom with a mattress for her and her children and she cooks in the other small room. 

Ramba Shifubi Women’s Group are building a new home for Skovia and it should be completed by March as it is constructed in layers and each layer has to dry completely before the next is added.    But they can’t afford to provide the roof timbers or the iron sheets for the roof or the wooden shutters for the windows and doors.   

This is just one of many individual needs we have seen in our first week and it is overwhelming at times.   But it is so humbling and inspiring to witness first-hand the care and compassion shown by UWCM staff and the volunteer Women’s Groups who are working so hard to care for people like Skovia and makes us determined to do all we can to support them.

Terry Game, Bridget Withell, Sarah Parker, Graham Roberts,
Carolyn Waite, Penny Sims, Pete & Janelle O’Keeffe

Lwangoli Prayer & Porridge – 19th Jan 2020

We went to St Stephen’s church at Lwangoli this morning – normally there are approximately 100-150 children but word had got out that there would be some ‘Muzungus’ coming and porridge being served so there were 300+ children there today!!

This is where the new Lwangoli Prayer & Porridge project is based.    After the service the children all queued patiently for a bowl of porridge and a banana and then the fun started!    We had to quickly decide on the best way to entertain 300 very excited kids with 7 balls and a giant tub of bubbles!! Organised chaos but great fun!

Terry Game, Bridget Withell, Sarah Parker, Graham Roberts,
Carolyn Waite, Penny Sims, Pete & Janelle O’Keeffe

VISIT TO UGANDA – January 2020

At last we’ve been able to find time to send news and photos.   We arrived in Mbale late evening last Sunday 12th Jan and have had 10-12 hour days ever since!   Some of the group have already visited Women’s Groups to see various projects including: Rainwater Harvesting Tanks, Reusable Sanitary Pads and Micro Finance Projects  –  including one group who are 2.5 hours drive away near the border to Kenya and who have never had ‘Muzungus’ visit before!

We have visited individual people in their homes and heard heart wrenching stories and been inspired by their pride, dignity and complete trust in God.

The “Children’s Conference” has been a huge success  –  70 secondary school young people (aged 15-24! ) have had amazing teaching on topics such as modern day slavery, career guidance, sex education, stress and bereavement with each session grounded in scripture.    They all loved our craft activities and some of our group couldn’t believe that young men and women of this age would have so much fun making loom band bracelets and necklaces!    Their patience and artistic creativity was wonderful to see with the scratch card calendars!

Three young people gave their lives to Christ at the Conference, including 1 Muslim boy, and UWCM will put them in touch with their local churches for ongoing support and guidance.

So we have all had an amazing first week and we are off to visit Sakiya prayer and porridge and a wedding later today!

Terry Game, Bridget Withell, Sarah Parker, Graham Roberts,
Carolyn Waite, Penny Sims, Pete & Janelle O’Keeffe


One of our UCUK trustees, Keith Ketchum, will be running a half-marathon on November 24 this year to raise funds for the Children’s Conference in January 2020. His wife will be doing her first ever 10 Km run at the same event. The good news is that you don’t have to run with Keith and Rosie, but if you want to support them in their efforts, sprint over to the Give-as-you-Live Website and provide some encouragement!