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November 2022 report: Tragedy at Salama and news from Acheru
Salama: Shocking news from our sister project, the school for blind children at Salama. The principal, a blind man called Francis, came to me in the 1990s to ask for help as the school was a ruin. We arranged for EM work teams to go there to help with work on the buildings, and also sent groups of boys from Besaniya to help with cultivating their land. This kick started development and the school, which had been close to total failure, started to grow with the Ugandan government stepping in to help with new classroom buildings. We were very encouraged by the government's positive attitude to assisting disabled children.
I have just heard there's been a fire in the junior girls' dormitory, with 11 children dead and 6 critical. Princess Anne, on an official visit to Uganda to mark 60 years of independence, was due to make a private visit to the school in a few days and Francis speculates that the fire may be a result of arson linked to her visit and local land disputes, though we've really no idea at present. They have gone from the joyous anticipation of the royal visit to being utterly devastated. The children are all blind so no candles were in use, and the dormitories have no electricity. This has been so tragic for everyone involved and I want to do all I can to help. I am in contact with them every day, so please call me if you want up to date information.

The fire, photographed by the principal's daughter

Francis, the Salama headmaster

Inside one of the Salama dormitories

List from the school

Injured girls in Kiruddu hospital, Munyonyo

Ugandan newspaper report
Transport: It's several months now since we bought a replacement twin cab pickup for the Community Based Rehabilitation work. It's a convoluted process using an agent in Uganda and an agent in Japan to arrange the importation of a used vehicle. A shortage of cars means all the best ones seem to have gone to rich countries, with nothing suitable left in Japan or for sale in Uganda (it's much too costly to buy new, and most used vehicles for sale in Uganda have led a very hard life) so when I was sent a photo of the car they'd eventually bought I was surprised to see an English registration number - in fact, it was in Liverpool. The agent explained that this was all he could find, having tried other right hand drive countries as well as Japan.
My first reaction was that I could have located something here myself through friends in the trade but importation can be a very tricky business, so it's best to deal with a reputable agent. I always worry paying out a lot of money for a car we can't see or test to be imported from another country but it has all worked out, and the pickup is now at Acheru and ready for use. While prices are high, it at least means that the old vehicle, which can now be sold, is worth more than I'd anticipated.

The 'new' pickup at Acheru
Northern Uganda: Our work at Minakulu is coming to an end. We had already been considering moving to a different area, and this has now been pre-empted by the Ministry of Health wanting to take back the building we used, for use as a maternity unit. Our work in the area was carried out in close co-operation with local health centres which will continue to refer children to Acheru, so I hope what we did there will be of lasting benefit.
The area identified as a possibility for a new base for Acheru in the north is Napak District in Karamoja, and Joyce has gone there to discuss possibilities with local officials. She was very surprised to be told that no organisation has ever carried out similar work to Acheru there, so it seems there is a big need and we want to consider all the implications.
Medical: Earlier this year we prepared a large quantity of medical supplies and equipment for sending to mission hospitals in Malawi. I knew the container had arrived, but hadn't heard how everything had been distributed and used. Two of the biggest items were X ray machines for the DGM Hospital at Livingstonia (where Phil, our eldest son, was born). We take great care packing such items to prevent damage in transit (as well as being valuable, the X ray machines are very heavy) and I was horrified to see a photo of them being transported to Livingstonia over very rough roads, piled with all the other boxes etc on the back of an open lorry. I was thus very pleased to hear a few days ago that both machines are installed and working well in the hospital. I continue to feel very strongly that for any mission hospital to maintain an effective witness, they must be equipped to provide the service people expect from them.

Our consignment arriving at Livingstonia

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