St. Francis UGANDA

Family Helper Programme

Registered charity
Ireland CHY18409, Uganda S5917/278, UK 1079811
Recognized for tax purposes by Kindermissionswerk of Aachen, Germany; Email:
Donate with PayPal button

Short Greeting, June 1, 2021

It is sometime since we sent any news to our website, apart from what we wrote in our newsletter which went out in February 2021, giving you the news of 2020.

We told you then that St. Francis Family Helper Programme in March 2019, with just a day’s notice, closed down and all our volunteers left amidst tears and sorrow. We said goodbye to Katharina Bansing, and Jannis Schambortski (Eirene volunteers from Germany), to Sorcha Lyne and Evan Canny from Ireland and we did not know when we would be able to welcome volunteers again.  Our own staff member, George William Ndibarema, had been accepted as a Ugandan volunteer to Germany and again this was delayed indefinitely during Covid 19 lockdown. Luckily George William left for Germany in May and is now in Neuwied in Westphalia, Germany having an experience of a new culture, new language and we are curious about his first impressions. We hope to post these very soon on our site.

We reopened in March 2021 with a number of changes.  It was no longer possible to have students come to the tailoring school (Vocational Training Institute) as day students.  We did not want to risk infection with students coming in and going out mixing with general populations before it could become safe to do so.  We therefore turned some classrooms into sleeping rooms and erected temporary structures where they could bathe privately. Eventhough the accommodation is far from the most desirable the students have a very good attitude and are accepting what can be offered for the present.  We have plans to erect some permanent structures when we can get the money to do so.

Vaccines are being given out in Uganda since the end of April but unfortunately the virus is also spreading more of late so again precautions have to be taken more seriously.  Mary went to Ireland on March 17th, was in quarantine for two weeks before proceeding to Laghey to be with her sister Anna, who for 40 years has offered home and hospitality to Mary and any of her friends who visited Ireland from Africa, American, Asia and Europe. On Sunday April 11th, with absolutely no forewarning, Anna got a massive stroke and died immediately, leaving her family and friends greatly shocked.  Mary is still grieving this great loss in her life and is staying on in Ireland for the time being, while she adjusts to such a big loss.  Anna, Mary and Eileen had planned to take a trip once all three would have been vaccinated.  Sadly this never materialised.  Anna was cremated on April 22nd and as she had not had Covid the remains were kept in her bedroom in her house until after the cremation.  Her ashes will be buried beside her husband and first born son, Desmond, in the last week of June.

When Mary goes walking she now sings the Plum Village song: She remembers Thay, (Thich Nhat Hanh) saying: “The miracle is not to walk on water, but to walk mindfully on Earth”.  Now that Anna or Miceal can no longer walk on this beautiful earth, they can walk with Mary’s feet, breathe with Mary’s breath, acknowledge the intermingling of spirits as we sing:

“No coming, no going
No after, no before
I hold you close to me
I release you to be so free
Because I am in you and you are in me
Because I am in you and you are in me”

St. Francis Family Helper Programme
Made by:
(CroDodo, 2013 ~ 2024)