Dodie is visiting Mityana for six weeks in September and October 2023 – primarily to provide training for new readers, but also to visit links schools and our local projects. This first update covers her travel there and her first few days back in Mityana.
“I arrived at Heathrow at 4.55 am and soon checked in, with two big bags weighing in at 22.9kgs and 23.4 kgs respectively. They also requested that my hand luggage also went in the hold so that meant I wasn’t carrying another 8 – 12 kgs onto the plane. This is because the plane from London to Brussels is small and huge amounts of hand luggage won’t fit in the cabin. This suited me down to the ground. We were only 45 minutes in Brussels before we were called for the next flight. Food on the plane was only fair, but the flight wasn’t full so I had a spare seat beside me and two good films: The Duke (Jim Broadbent) and a film about an autistic girl, Temple Grandin, how she learns to cope with life and how much of an impact her studies have on the cattle world.
“I arrived at around 10.30 pm, through customs quickly, no booked taxi and the wrong bag! Not a good start! But the taxi man I hired was brilliant, got me to the eco hotel, returned the wrong luggage the following morning – so all sorted.
“I went straight to Fred’s house to meet Florence, Abby (9), Yvonne (7) and Anna (3). They were so welcoming. I produced a phone for Florence, dresses, colouring books and stories for the girls, 3 blenders (one big and one small) and a kettle. All were thrilled.
“That evening I made pancakes (helped by Abby) for them to try and then the following morning we tried out the blenders, both in good working order, with passionfruit and pineapple juice and then I made omelettes.
“Fred and I went onto the bank, changed money and then arrived in Mityana around late afternoon. We booked into the Enro (hotel) as always, the same room, not en-suite but easy access and next to a smaller room where I store all the junk!
“Sunday came all too quickly but turned out to be really good. We went to St Luke’s church at Kyankowe, where I did not have to preach and the deacon was excellent, inspiring, engaging and very easy. We finished church with notices, the sale of some fruit and veg and a slice of cake. A couple from Kyankowe got married on the Saturday and as a thank you gave the morning service a cake to share and eat.
“We then visited the prince’s family (the family on whose land the church and school reside) and had lunch and a wonderful afternoon in the garden of his brother, George. We walked down to the forest he is preserving which already has many birds and monkeys. He is slowly changing the 100 acres back into forest with trees and plants that belong in the forest. It is very, very good to see: this is the first project with strong environmental ties I have ever seen.
“Monday it bucketed with rain, so heavy and so much. We went down to the college and organised my teaching programme and when we could visit the sponsored lay readers. I came back to the Enro and planned all the visits, noting where we would stay and trying not to backtrack too much. Some of them live right out in the bush, miles away from Mityana town. But in the next ten days or so I am going to be doing some work on stewardship, counselling and guidance, bible study and entrepreneurial ideas (which are in very short supply in my brain!) however I will give it my best shot.”