Friday, 14 October 2011

Luwero Weekend

One of the objectives of the Cross Cultural Ministry Practicum is for students to “develop a deeper understanding of their own faith, vocation and identity, informed and challenged by their Ugandan experience.” To do this we seek to engage and interact with those who are living and working in Uganda, and to learn from them.

coaster ride to Luwero! 
(photo credit: Julie Darcey, fall 2011)

This past weekend the class went to Luwero district an hour or so north of the capitol city of Kampala, within the greater Luwero Triangle. The Luwero Triangle is the area from which the current president, Yoweri Museveni fought his guerilla war from 1981-1986, to take power of the government in 1986. The five-year war was bloody and devastating. Twenty-five years later people in Luwero are still deeply affected by it, both psychologically and physically. On the Luwero trip, we heard from local church leaders and Ugandans who are working to build and strengthen their communities.

On Friday afternoon we visited a war memorial/mass grave, acknowledging the past and how the past has shaped the current reality of the area we were visiting. 

We spent the better part of the day Saturday at a Child Development Center (CDC) run through funding from Compassion International in the small town of Nsawo. In the US we hear of countless opportunities to sponsor children around the world. Visiting this CDC was an opportunity to see and learn what it looks like on the receiving end of that funding. The center at Nsawo serves approximately 270 children, providing them with basic support, medical care, spiritual direction etc. What is particularly impressive about this site (one of 260 in Uganda) is that sponsorship funding from Compassion has to go directly to the children and programming. The site itself, the building etc. was built by the community, because they appreciate and value the work Compassion does with the children.

We joined in the morning devotions, and then split up into the five classes that broke out of the whole group. The afternoon was spent playing games with the kids. It was a typical tropical rainy season day… early morning rain soaking the ground, the sun coming out heating things up making for a somewhat hot, sticky afternoon running around. Oh, but it was a good fun time!

At the Nsawo CDC
(photo credit: Jacob Bowdin, spring 2011)

"I've got peace like a river..."
(photo credit: Julie Darcey, fall 2011)

Tea Time!
(photo credit: Jacob Bowdin, spring 2011)

Later that afternoon/evening we heard from two church leaders; the Anglican Bishop of Luwero, Bishop Kisekka over afternoon tea back at the guest house, and Fr. Gerrie Wamala, a Catholic priest after dinner. Both leaders shared their experiences of working with and for people who are living through very challenging circumstances- still reeling from war, the dependency that subsequent government handouts has created, the influx and devastation of HIV/AIDS and lack of education/resources. The Bishop spoke of the holistic approach to his work, empowering people to rebuild their own communities and providing for their physical as well as spiritual needs.

Father Gerrie spoke of and radiated hope. He brought with him a young woman who was born HIV+. He has walked with her and encouraged her as she struggled through the loss of her parents, her own diagnosis, the challenge of high school and the painful stigma that came with her disease-- a disease she did nothing to earn. She graduated top in her class, and today is on a government funded full scholarship to university in Kampala. She has hope and a future. 

Students with Fr. Gerrie after church 
(photo credit: Jacob Bowdoin, spring 2011)

Sunday morning we attended a lively mass with Fr. Gerrie in rural Luwero. It was a dancing, singing, joyful time with them! Ah, we were blessed. 

Sunset sky in Luwero

Post by: Rachel Robinson, IMME Coordinator


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. This is Abby saying yeah to all of the above! My life lesson from Father Jerry, in the poetry of George Herbert:
    “Thou that hast given so much to me give me one thing more, a grateful heart: not thankful when it pleaseth me, as if Thy blessings had spare days, but such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.”
    ― George Herbert