Trip to Kinkisii 2016

kinkisii school

KinkisiiA seventh visit to Kinkiizi Diocese – the same but different!

My seventh visit over, I’ve again been reflecting on my experience. Although many of the activities are the same each time, inevitably some things are different and this latest visit was no exception! Never before has someone contracted malaria, but one of the team went down with an illness that looked remarkably like it. I’m pleased to say they are now recovered.

The journey there looked different this time. Sadly, British Airways no longer fly direct from UK to Uganda. Instead, we flew to Kigali in Rwanda, then traveled north by road to the Ugandan border at Gatuna. This crossing is used mainly by locals; the immigration process there is definitely not speedy! Africans also have little concept of our ‘personal space’ and the throng of people can be very overwhelming, but once negotiated with smiles and thanks, we continued on to meet our lovely diocesan driver Ezra in Kabale. Having been driven by Ezra for 5 of my 7 visits, I’m convinced he is the best and safest driver in Uganda! 3 hours later we arrived in Kinkiizi to stay in the comfortable Ramsden Guest House.

June is usually in the long dry season, but this year even the Kinkiizi folk were astonished at the amount of rain during our visit. We had numerous thunderstorms with monsoon like conditions at times. Whenever there’s a storm the electricity goes off, so we spent many hours powerless. On the few occasions we had power everyone scrambled to charge mobiles, cameras and laptops.

I visited the schools involved in our education links and the small, poor rural school in Bwanja which touched me so deeply last year. Having received some money from generous donors in Christchurch Deanery, Bwanja Primary School looks different now! There is a purpose and hope amongst the staff who now have some resources to work with and a secure classroom for storage. The children on role have risen from 187 to 305 as word spreads Bwanja is a place where learning happens.

Nyakatare Health Centre continues to do excellent work caring for the needs of the community through maternity services, family planning, ultrasound, dental, HIV/Aids and eye clinics. The centre is run magnificently by the amazing administrator Ritah who has such a strong faith she does everything in service to the Lord. They are trying to raise funds to build a staff house. With accommodation on offer it will be easier to attract better qualified staff from further afield. The ground breaking ceremony happened during our visit, when I had the honour of being the first to wield the hoe!

Of course our hosts, led by Bishop Dan, were their usual hospitable and welcoming selves, embracing us with a love and warmth I have come to know well. Whether they are meeting us for the seventh or the first time makes no difference; everyone treats us as if we are their closest family. And of course, we are! We are all one in Christ, brother and sisters with the same Father God, and that is so evident in all the Kinkiizi people I meet.

Despite all the continuing challenges they face on a daily basis; poor transport links, often problematic access to clean water, intermittent power (or none in many cases) and high unemployment rates to name just a few, they display such joy, generosity and love in their lives. And, they hold us tightly in their hearts, with a strong faith and a wealth of spiritual love. What a wonderful example which I now try to emulate. I’m looking forward to next year already!

Gill Tybjerg, August 2016
(Chair KAG for Christchurch Deanery)