Monday, March 31, 2014


It was a privilege and great joy to stay overnight on 2 separate occasions with the students (16-18 year olds) and the Brown family in Kampala. I was introduced as 'Myrna from St Mary's  Burwell church - they sent money to help with the conversion for you to live here' and Judith Goddard as' the lady whose house this is and lets us rent it'.  It was amazing to see how much our money achieved towards the conversion to accommodate this big 'family'!  During the evening I enjoyed talking to the students in their bedrooms.  Some asked "Why would your church send money for us?" They were also surprised when I said I would tell you more about them and were obviously pleased to have our interest.
Would you eat the same food each day?
Both evenings we shared an evening meal with everyone, maize and bean soup.  Their food is basic - as Steve said "Posho and beans, rice and beans, Katago (beans and casava),  MEAT on a Saturday evening otherwise it's BEANS".     Two students serve everyone from 2 huge pots and it is filling and adequate.  The Browns, including their 3 children, eat exactly the same food with them. Breakfast is cereals and Kathryn makes bread to augment the budget.
The Browns' focus is on enabling the students to acquire basic life skills ready for work and life in the 'outside world'.  They come from orphanages and this is essential experience of becoming more independent, eg   managing time - getting ready and being punctual for their placements; informing placements of absence - "no excuses eg rain" (many of them walk a long way!); creating a good impression by being willing to do whatever is asked; budget training; communication skills (discussion, negotiation)- the list is long and it was fascinating to hear how kindly but firmly this is all encouraged and instilled, individually or in groups. There are such different personalities and needs. All of this is backed by Christian values through teaching, reading, discussion eg making choices.
Examples of their placements are at a dentist's, doctor's, garage, Blood Bank, workshops, teaching, hospital, construction 
I also met  previous IYP students, Immaculate and Kasule, who now assist the Browns.   Kasule has a Diploma in legal studies and has an internship at a legal firm working with prisoners' human rights cases (many now unjustifiably in prison as no-one to  help) - this is his career ambition and shows how the IY programme helps.  
By our second visit students were more settled, getting on together and discussions were lively; I loved hearing activity all over the house and outside in the evenings (even early in the morning as some have left before 7 am).  Since my visits I've been left with many thoughts and prayer needs.

  • The students' success at work and when they return to their studies - that this experience will equip them for the future, including the Christian guidance received.
  • Steve and Kathryn Brown and their dedicated commitment to this valuable programme.   
  • Their children Joel, Anya and Silas living alongside the students in this bustling family environment - that they also may have the care and attention that they need from their parents.

For further reading            

Friday, March 07, 2014


Rainbow School
  • Kathryn half way through her second term and enjoying the job.
  • Joel is off on a survival weekend soon - left to fend for himself with his group of 4 friends.
  • Silas has taken time to feel part of the class but is friendly and enjoys his friends.
  • Anya loves all aspects of school and has a great bunch of friends who hang out together often at the weekends.
  • Steve is Chair of the parents/staff association, which plans a few events through the year

Our family and the IY family. 
  • We have found that each time a new group of students  come there are always some who really relate well to our three children.
  • Making time for being just a family is a constant challenge and we sometimes feel we need to be more creative in figuring out how to make more time for our children.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Jan - Mar 2014

It’s the 27th January and our 8th Investment Year is about to start, the students arrive to our location in Kampala. As they arrive I find I have a mixture of feelings from excitement to the year ahead, and all that the students will experience, to feelings of fear due to the responsibility I have to these young people. As I look at them arriving, I quietly whisper thanks to God that the year is dependent on Him and not me and help me to remember that this year.
There are 33 students this year with 11 of them form ‘Good Shepherd Fold’, an organisation near to Jinja. We are very excited to be partnering with them this year and look forward to further partnership in the future.
The first couple of weeks of the IY programme, we are all together to set a foundation for the year ahead, so there were over 40 of us squashed into our house, it certainly makes for cosy community. The benefits are that by all living together, we all get to know each and form an IY community, and I feel very happy with how the young people begin to mix and get to know each other.
The training over these 2 weeks ranges from note taking, world view, authority of Scripture and How to read the Bible, money matters, finding your mission & purpose in life, journalling it is a busy couple of weeks.
By the time you read this the students are experiencing life in their internships and will be there until April 17.