Sunday, 9 August 2015

Multiply East Africa Trip August 2015

This blog is by popular demand. I was thinking of transferring to 70+AndNowSlowingDown, and quietly, well, doing that.  But...  O well, let's scrub round the self pity, and get down to business and normal service. This visit is to Kenya and Uganda, and there's a novelty angle that we're going to do the journey between the two capital cities overland by minibus.  I'd agreed a basic programme with Gregory, our main man out there, way back in 2014.  But in February this year I was still struggling to assemble a team. 

This isn't a haphazard thing.  Each time round we have to listen to the local needs, and then try to splice them in with our ambitions (like, mainly, taking some younger folks).  And we have a critical path plan that guides us through eight months preceding the visit and allows for three months of follow-up.  So were were already late.  Truth is, we'd really wanted to go in March this year, but with budget squeezes we had to wait until the new year was up and running to be sure of the funds.  This meant a false start, with planning meetings being abandoned last autumn.  At least we'll be a little more adjusted to the warmer climate, travelling from UK in the summer.

So, we come to the minibus.  We'd hoped to send out one of our own de-fleeted ones.  We were pretty confident that we could get a better age and condition than the same money would buy over there.  The complication was shipping, £2,500, and customs taxes, £4,000 unless we could prove charitable exemption.  It all looked too flimsy.  Gregory sourced one in Mombasa, and collected it with George back in June.  The bus will be available to use for all the local Multiply-connected groups.  Len and Viv will be sharing the driving on the visit.

In the same generosity, Gregory asked for a second project to train in sewing and tailoring at another partner church (Bishop Joseph's).  This was Hilary's and Janet's challenge.  We beavered away scratching together some second hand equipment.  But then Hilary, who's well-connected in the accountancy world, had a spectacular offer of 18 new commercial machines.  This bears out that when you've been quietly living in faith and are thrown into a new circumstance (like Multiply) astonishing things happen! 

So, the five of us fly on Tuesday 11th.  Rukundo is joining us for the duration, and has already spent the weekend in Kampala to break the coach journeys from Kigali.

In fact it's been a season of departings over here, too.  After fifteen years, Andrew and Ellen and their four children have left 'Madiba', their narrow boat home, and become caretakers at Kings House.  Phil and Donna, regular hosts to Mary and I on Wednesday evenings since the middle of December 2012, are moving from Chesterfield to Bugbrooke on 15 August.  So we we've said our farewells.  And this month, Gav and Georgie, with Neive, Elise and Nate, are moving from Coventry to Onley (near Rugby).

So I'll come back to a very different landscape.  And I don't just mean autumn.

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