Showing posts from September, 2008

Uganda 08 diary - Day 12: hiking, football + more

As it was a Saturday, we were able to spend more time with the local youngsters (who were in school Monday to Friday) and the Brothers. We ended up having a busy, fun-filled day.

Bro. Adolf with some of the pupils.

To start with, a group led by Bro. Adolf took us for a morning hike up one of the large nearby hills.

And off we went...

... with the more "frisky" amongst us (inc. Bro. Francis!!) striding off at the front, leaving a trail of people half the way down the hill.

A breather and photo call before being led up onto the ridge and down the other side into some VERY thick, thorny undergrowth.

Spoil sport that I am, I called a halt to this decent down the otherside of the hill, asking our guides to take us back. We had already been hiking a good while, and the undergrowth was so thick that someone was bound to trip at one point, or encounter a snake or something. Plus we would have had to climb all the way back up. Anyway, no-one seemed to complain at my suggestion.

Aaaaah, bles…

Uganda 08 diary - Day 11: Finding Nemo

In the evening we had a visit from a lovely Irish nun who had been working in various places around Uganda, including Ibanda itself, for about 40 years. She invited us to visit her community up the road before we left, which we duly did (see future diary entries).

The day ended with a film show for the whole school in their Main Hall. Prior to our arrival in Ibanda with a data projector and dvd player, speakers and a selection of dvd films in tow, they would watch films (mainly on VHS) outdoors on a TV placed in the side doorway of the Hall with the pupils (only a limited number at a time due to the size of the screen) sitting on the ground below. When I realised that we were going to be showing the film to the whole school (700 pupils) I started to get rather nervous, but not because of the size of the image. The projected picture showed up really well right to the back of the hall.

The nerves started because I had decided to show them "Finding Nemo" - a safe choice for pupil…

Uganda 08 diary - Day 11: Ibanda orphanage

After having paid a brief visit to the orphanage the day before to test the water, we then came back to have a morning of activities with the children: songs + dances, arts + crafts, ball games, etc... Our group acquitted themselves tremendously with children who were obviously well looked after by the Sisters and their staff, but were nonetheless very needy in terms of affection and emotional needs. Here's a series of photos from the time we spent with them:

All of us were deeply moved by the time we spent in this orphanage and by the spontaneous love and affection shown to us by these children, who were in many cases still lucky to be still alive and cared for so well. It was hard to leave them behind us when it was time to go.

A photo of our loyal friend and driver, John.

Chillin' out back at base in the Brothers' lounge at Ibanda.

Food, glorious food! By this time my appetite was starting to get back to normal after my "incident" at Kasasa. A few people (mo…

Uganda 08 diary - Day 10 (supplemental - that's Star Trek speak... sorry!)

On Day 10 we were also invited to join in a training match for the school football team that was (like the team at Kasasa) preparing to take part in a national De La Mennais Brothers' schools football tournament. The training session involved warm up activities and an informal match with mixed sides.

However, the curiosity value of seeing their visitors playing football brought out a large number of spectators, as you can see! They were provided with extra entertainment thanks to the antics of Simon T. and Andrew D., during the warm-up + warm-down (some comical stretching exercises), as well as during the match itself, eg. when Simon ('keeper) dramatically fell to the ground under the weight of an imaginary tackle from the nearby Andrew and then got up to rugby tackle him!!

Just before the match, I managed to catch a bit of the most important stage of the Tour de France on tv (in case you didn't know, I'm a cycling fanatic), though the others tended not to share my enthu…

Uganda 08 diary - Day 10

This was our first full day in Ibanda - in fact we were a mile or 2 just outside the town, up a dirt track in a busy area of countryside that had within a small radius our Brothers' 700 pupil boarding school, a similar-sized girls' school run by nuns, a hospital, an orphanage for young children under the age of 5 (again run by nuns), the parish church and more besides.

The area was very lush and green, with 1,000 metre mountains and smaller hills all around (one of which we later climbed) and not too hot at all, barely getting above 23 degrees. This was not surprising given that we were at about 1,800 metres (6,000 ft.) altitude. A very pleasant climate indeed!

In the morning we were taken on a guided tour on foot by Bro. Adolf (far left) of some of the other nearby centres in the neighbourhood including this, the hospital.

The sign welcoming us to the local orphanage.

The Sister in charge shows us in.

Some of the youngest in the orphanage. Children are brought in for different re…

Pathways of Prayer - part 2

* Prayer of Inner Quiet
One of the richest forms of prayer occurs when the heart is absolutely
quiet. As the psalmist says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10).
Several years ago, Dominican Sister Sylvia Rosell from the Still Point House of Prayer
in Albany, New York, explained it to me this way: “If you still your mind, you can
hear your own heart. And at the core of your heart is the indwelling of God. It’s
just like when you love someone and you sit there and look at each other. You just stare
silently and there is a terrible presence between you. It’s an awesome thing. God
is present and you are present—to each other. It’s a matter of just being there.
For example, one might start out with words—with the reading of
a passage from scripture, for example—but gradually our words and thoughts simplify.
The natural drift of prayer is often from words to silence, according…

Pathways of Prayer - part 1

This was in an e-newsletter that I get from Friar Jack, an American Franciscan monk who writes for, a very useful Franciscan-run Catholic resource site. I find it gives a very good explanation of what prayer is and the different forms it can take. Part 2 of the text will follow this:

Pathways of Prayer (Part I)

by Friar Jack Wintz, O.F.M.

You and I are sometimes like radios or TV sets that are not properly tuned in to a station or channel. The news announcers or entertainers are out there talking or singing away. The station is sending out live signals. But if we have not turned on our sets or failed to dial in the station correctly, there will be no communication!

This is often our problem with God. God is out there—as well as inside us—beaming forth love, goodness and inspiration. But it’s lost on us because we fail to pray, that is, we fail to tune in or open ourselves to God’s loving presence.

This "Sacred Woods" near Spoleto, Italy, was a favorite p…

Uganda 08 diary - Day 9 part 2: Lake Mburo National Park

So we set off for Ibanda, taking in Lake Mburo national Park on the way: a massive nature reserve by our European standards, but still much smaller than the Queen Elizabeth National Park further east, which has lions and tigers as well as many other large mammals.

This was where we had to pay to get in.

We saw lots of different varieties of antelope, including these large ones with their impressive horns. We even saw 2 males lock horns at ones point in a short-lived trial of strength, interrupted when they realised we were observing them from about 50 yrds. away. Their bodies remained side on to us as they both turned their heads to look at us, as if to say, "Would you mind leaving us alone so we can get on with this in peace, please?"

Also lots of beautiful-looking, graceful impala.

And here a fine example of the pink skinned scouser, the one at the front proudly displaying his bushy mane.

Lake Mburo itself. We were not lucky enough to see any hungry hungry hippos.

But we did see…