Monthly Archives: Apr 2015

20th April – Farmland!

John left today to drive to the farmland.100_6166

About 5 years ago John and Alice bought land to farm so as to provide food for the school they run in Rukungiri. They had to go quite a distance to get enough land ata price that they could afford. This is where John and Alice have their farm. It is a very under-developed area with no electricity or running water.

The village: Kijongobya

The sub-district: Mpare

The district: Kyegegwa

The nearest town: Kyegegwa

Region: Toro

You can find out about Kyegegwa on this site:

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Their farm is a little north of the river about 20 km to the East of Katonga Game Reserve (there are maps below).

This is Katonga Game Reserve:

The farm is around 3 to 4 hours drive from Rukungiri but the land was very cheap as the area was underdeveloped. Land is fertile in the area, so it is a very good investment. John has now been given care of the local Parish of 8 churches and John and Alice have already started a Primary School in the area. A friend from the UK is hoping to fund the first part of a project to build a Secondary School.

This link might give a good idea of the location of Kyegegwa District you might need to copy and paste it to your browser to get it to work.

2015_04_20_18.40.33 2015_04_20_18.39.19 2015_04_20_18.36.48


Just for comparison, here is a map showing Rukungiri’s location.

20th April 2015 – Retreat Time

Retreat Time

After a great deal of busyness I have had time to myself, doing some reading and reflection and looking at a second draft of a book about Shame and the Cross. The temperatures are not too high and it is good to be here.

100_6166Today, John has returned to the farmland in the Rwenzori area that they use to supply crops for food for Rukungiri Modern Primary School. Alice will probably set off tomorrow for Rukungiri. I am hoping to see Stephen and Brenda again over these next two days.

John wanted me to travel with him to the farm land today. I felt that  4 hour journey today, a 4 hour journey back tomorrow, a flight on 22nd, and travelling up to Scotland on 23rd was probably trying to do too much in 4 days. So, very sadly (?), we’ll need to come again soon! John and Alice really do want us to visit their farmland and the new parish that John has in the Diocese of Rwenzori.


18th April 2015 Kampala Traffic

After a long day yesterday, today has been a relaxing day at White Crest Guesthouse. One of the reasons the day was so long yesterday was the unbelievable amount of time spent in Kampala traffic getting from one venue to another. We must have been in cars for close to 3 hours all told.

The Entebbe Road is notoriously bad with stationary traffic nose to tail for much of the day. The City Centre is also gridlocked most of the time.


There is a grand plan and plenty of images on the internet of what might get built to alleviate the problem.

War on traffic jam: The big plan


By Brian Mayanja (New Vision)

In a bid to reduce traffic jam in the city, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has unveiled a new development plan to construct over ten major roads, beginning this year.

The Kampala Physical Development Plan (PDP), which covers the city’s development between 2012 and 2040, also proposes the creation of road tolls.

Three ring roads, express way, urban freeways, Northern and Southern Bypass and radial roads will be constructed in areas known as Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area (GKMA).

Areas include Nsangi, Goma, Nakisunga, Nansana and Entebbe. In the same areas, KCCA proposes to create five satellite cities.

It proposes new roads with two lanes per direction and free flow speed of 90km per hour. The plan also involves road marking, signs and road upgrading.

The $39b road network programme will commence this year, according to PDP. Over the longer term (2023-2040), further investment of $124b will be required for infrastructure and employment opportunities

KCCA also proposes that a road network should be constructed from Luzira to Nakisunga, through Lake Victoria.

Speaking to New Vision recently, KCCA’s director for physical planning, Joseph Semambo, explains that the radial roads will be created from the city centre, moving outwards, then connected to northern and southern bypass.

The radial roads will be interconnected with the three ring roads. According to the plan, the three ring roads are divided into inner, middle and outer.

“We shall construct the southern ring, which will be connected to Nakisunga in Mukono district. If one wants to go to areas near the city, one will not need to first connect to the city centre. The cardinal principle is to fight traffic jam,” Semambo explains.

He says the express way will connect east to the west of the city. He adds that it will run parallel to the railway reserves.

Under this plan, the southern and northern bypass will occupy Jinja road, Gayaza road, Masaka road, Hoima road and Bombo road.

Semambo reveals that KCCA has already acquired permission from the Uganda Railways Corporation to use the land bordering the railway line in the city.

“We shall evict those occupying railway reserves. The reserve space is about 60-70 metres wide,” he says.

Asked whether people occupying areas designed for construction of major roads will be evicted, Semambo says the authority agreed to build the roads on top of wetlands to minimise demolishing buildings.

A number of development donors active in Kampala have shown interests to fund this project, including World Bank, European Union, Africa Development Bank, UN-Habitat, UNICEF and UNESCO.

If no new roads are constructed within few years, experts say it will cause major gridlock due to increasing population and a high standard of living.

“Even with large investments in the road network, the city will still experience congestion and slow speeds during peak hours,” the plan reads.

Therefore, to obtain a sustainable transport system in the long run, consultants recommend that the authority should develop an attractive Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) in the transport sector. This means that for the first stage, MRT will be based on buses.

The consultants also suggest that KCCA introduces and enforces strict demand traffic management strategies like congestion pricing, parking management and low emission zones.

Experts want to coordinate and integrate the taxi service with bus operations. The taxi routes should feed and complement bus transit routes, but not compete with them.

They say a new ticketing system should be introduced, to allow more ticket options, including the ability to have a seasonal tickets.

A recent House Hold Survey conducted in 2011 revealed that almost 60% of all activities made by people with low income in GKMA are done through walking.

The survey said the main reason for not using public transport is the high cost because travellers pay for every trip they make.

Currently, the cost of a single trip varies between sh1,000 and sh2,000 in the city.

A Festival of Good Food in Tameside


This year Tameside Markets have joined forces with About Tameside magazine to present the Tameside Food Festival 2015. The event ties in with Love Your Local Market and the annual Celebrate Tameside Food & Drink Awards. Beginning on May 9th on Denton Civic Square you will find a mix of food retailers offering fresh produce and hot food to make your mouth water. There will be live cooking demonstrations by the Ashton Farmers’ Market Chef and free food crafts for the children. Joining the fun will be Teddy Tameside and Maggie the Magpie, Tameside Market’s mascot. For the first event in Denton we will be welcoming the Mayor of Tameside, Cllr Dawson Lane, who will be meeting some of the local food traders.

Organisers have been delighted to have support from local Town Teams from Ashton-under-Lyne, Droylsden, Denton and Hyde to bring these events to the town centres. There is also additional sponsorship from Irwell Valley Housing and Santander. The second event will actually be part of Stalybridge Farmers’ Market on May 10th around Armentieres Square.

The Food Festival will be appearing at some key locations in Tameside comprising:

May 9th – Denton Civic Square
May 10th – Armentieres Square, Stalybridge
May 16th – Villemomble Square, Droylsden
May 23rd – Civic Square, Hyde
May 30th – Market Ground, Ashton-under-Lyne.

Visitors to the event will also be able to find out more about the local town teams, the Tameside Loyalty Card and how to vote for their favourite café, restaurant, bakers/confectioners and take-away.

Come along for a great day out and support some of the great food outlets we have here in Tameside.

For further information email –

Details also available on your local Town Team website


17th April 2015 – Stephen and Brenda’s Wedding!

Friday morning 10.30am: Everything is really relaxed … I’ve got a talk sorted … but I know very little about what I have to do … just go with the flow … hopefully Stephen and Brenda will end up legally married at the end of the day and won’t need to head for a registry office to make things legal!

I have to start by saying thank you to both Stephen and Brenda – perhaps particularly to Brenda. Stephen has known me since 1997, when he was 13 or 14 years old. Brenda will meet me for the first time as she comes down the aisle. That’s taking quite risk! Stephen has a good idea whether he can trust me to lead the wedding service, Brenda is having to trust Stephen’s judgement! I hope that after today, Brenda will feel that Stephen made the right call. I would not want to be the cause of any disharmony so early in their married life! It is, though, a real privilege to be asked to lead the service today!

This is the church where the ceremony is taking place:

Friday evening 9.50pm: I am writing to the sound of loud music having retired a little earlier than most of the younger generation. It was a real privilege to be able to marry Stephen and Brenda. Here are a few pictures to give you a flavour of the afternoon.







The wedding service book!



















The reception was held at the Speke Resort Hotel: This is a 5 star hotel on the edge of Lake Victoria.


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It is difficult to post much from the evening event as it was dark and I could not get the camera to focus properly in the dark. But here are a couple of photos.



16th April 2015

The plan: travel to Kampala …. not sure how …..!

This got slightly more clear during the first few days in Uganda. But in the end did not quite go according to plan. There was no electricity in the morning so it was an early start to get packed in the dark and get breakfast by candlelight at 5.00am.IMAG1301

Bishop Cranmer came to see me off from the guest house. My lift down to the bus did not materialise, so Cranmer put me in the diocesan vehicle and took me down in time for the 6.30am bus ….. which did not leave until 7.05am.

It was a good journey up though the hills to Kabale and then on through the Kabale hills towards Ntungamo. But …… just a few mikes short of Ntungamo something in the transmission on the bus failed. One of the staff from Bismarkan went off to Ntungamo to get a mechanic and we all stood around waiting for an hour or more. The mechanic did a lot of clever things with a hammer and some spanners underneath the coach but seemingly to no avail!

The offending bus! As you can see, not quite the same quality as the one on last night's blog!

The offending bus! As you can see, not quite the same quality as the one on last night’s blog!

Some us managed to squeeze onto another bus. My carefully laid plans of a double seat and luggage with me were to no avail as the luggage all went in the compartment under the seats and I stood for a distance before someone got off the coach and I got a seat.

At 6.00pm, or thereabouts, I got off the coach at Busega, got some charge into the phone at one of the charging booths, got some credit on the phone, contacted Alice and then, after an entertaining chat with some young men, found a taxi and travelled round the Kampala suburbs to Lebowa and Whitecrest Guesthouse.



Muhabura – Wisdom from Uganda – A thought for the day!

Proverbs 8: 1-3 (ESV)a38641c09d33894735e7f3c168b32028

Does not wisdom call? Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance to the portals she cries aloud.

When I first came to Uganda in 1994, I travelled by train from Mombasa. A beautiful journey travelled at a snail’s pace in some ancient but well kept carriages and with silver service for meals and attendants who made up beds for passengers. The journey took for ever and included an unscheduled stop in Jinga because of a derailment closer to Kampala. The train waited 6 hours in Jinga!

On the last leg of the journey I was reading from Proverbs 8 – the passage above. It was as we came into the suburbs of Kampala that I looked up from reading to notice on the skyline a number of different religious buildings. I remember seeing two cathedrals, a Bahai temple and a mosque (I think). Here were various claims to wisdom calling out from the heights, ‘Listen to me!’

Kampala is a city of many hills and it seemed to me, on that first day that I saw it, to have a religious building on the top of each one.

I travelled down in a car from Kampala to Kisoro, a long journey, really long. Half way through the last leg of the journey I caught a glimpse of Mt. Muhabura. It was the dry season and the dust in the air meant that I did not see it again until leaving Kisoro when I travelled back over the same road to Kabale.

Anyone from Kisoro will tell you what the name of the mountain means and hence why the Diocese is named after it. Muhabura is ‘the guide’, the ‘one who leads me home’ – a mountain visible for miles around calling the people back to their homeland.

It strikes me again now, as it did back in 1994, that ‘Muhabura’ is an excellent name for a diocese. It is our Christian calling to be people who call others back to faith, back to where they belong. The wisdom of the Christian faith is not primarily intellectual, it is not ‘clever’, per see. Christian wisdom is primarily about relationship, about knowing God.

Someone is truly wise in God’s eyes when they are one of his people, in relationship with him, listening to his word, and full of his all-embracing inclusive love. When we gather together as Christians we aspire to be those in whom God’s wisdom dwells, to be a community faithfully drawing those around us back home, back to God. So we should be like Mt. Muhabura, a true and faithful guide, in an uncertain world.

Proverbs 8:1-3 has more for us than this. Wisdom stands at the crossroads; …….. beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance to the portals she cries aloud.100_6105

This is probably for another occasion; Proverbs 8:1-3 encourages us to count on God’s wisdom at the crossroads, at the place of decision, the place where we have to make choices. It also encourages us to seek wisdom in the gates of the city, the place of business for any community in Old Testament times was the gates of the city. It was where the village elders met, it was often the market place. God’s wisdom is not just spiritual wisdom but practical wisdom, and available to us as we go about the daily business and transactions of our working lives.

15th April 2015

Early morning outside the Diocesan Guest House.


The church teacher is part of the organising committee for the water tank. The construction is providing local jobs.


Diocesan Secretary, Stephen, with the part buit water tank. It is difficult to exaggerate how grateful people are for the gift of this tank. It is not a final solution to water supply problems for Nyakimanga but it is an unbelievable improvement for them. So a big THANK YOU to all who contributed to the appeal. The dry season without rain is 3 months long. The tank will give at least 2 months supply for the whole village, perhaps more if they are careful!














Spent the day in and around Kisoro. First managed to get my mobile phone up and running on the internet. Watched while very fast fingers did something to my phone that I could not follow! Then it was off to Nyakimanga (pronounced Nyachimanga with a hard ‘g’) with Diocesan Secretary, Stephen, to see the water tank which was paid for by St. Martin Droylsden and the Good Shepherd, Ashton. Then travelled out to Nyakimanga (pronounced Nyachimanga with a hard ‘g’) with the diocesan secretary Steven. The base for the water tank has been completed, the plumbing is in place and they have started constructing the reinforced concrete walls. Another 10 days or do and the tank will be complete. The roof to the adjacent house has been replaced and new guttering will be added. Once complete +Cranmer will dedicate it.


Nyakimanga in the wet season is beautifully green.

Back in Kisoro, I booked tomorrow’s bus journey to Kampala. I’ll be setting off at 6.30am and will arrive in Kampala just before nightfall. Seems quite exciting provided I get up in time! 

The journey is of the order of 500 kilometres, they tell me. It costs 25,000 Ug Sh. Sounds rather a lot until you divide by the exchange rate to get it into UK pounds. There are 4250 Ug Sh to 1 pound! The princely sum of £5.88! So, I have bought myself a pair of seats so that I can keep the luggage with me and have a little space! I’ll be travelling on a Bismarkan Bus. Will it be this good? Wait and see!




14th April 2015

100_6061Here’s the plan – leave Solace Guest House in Kigali at 9.00am in taxi to travel to the Ugandan border. Cross the border and be picked up by a Muhabura Diocese vehicle, perhaps travel to Nakyimanga on the way down from the border to Kisoro. Spend the remainder of the day in Kisoro. …………..


100_6071The reality – offered a lift by some friendly folk from Kisoro Baptist Church, Was brought all the way to the guest house in Kisoro. Enjoyed the company and the views on the journey.

A quiet lunch of pumpkin soup and chapati and then a wander down into Kisoro to get some Ugandan Shillings (now 4250 UgSh to the pound!) and a Sim Card which I have 100_6095discovered works fine for calls local and international but not for texts nor the internet. I’ll have to sort this out tomorrow,

Later in the day I visited Seseme Girls High School to see the water tank which was paid for by St. Martin, Droylsden and the Parish of the Good Shepherd, Ashton. The tank is complete except for the connections to the guttering to collect the water!100_6100

We had a party at the guest house in the evening to welcome people from Winchester and yours truly,

+Cranmer very kindly loaned me his laptop to allow me to catch up on emails, etc,

13th April 2015

The plan for today … get to Manchester Airport for 4.30am book in luggage, travel to Kigali, Rwanda via Amsterdam, arriving at just after 7pm local time. Get a taxi into Kigali and stay the night at:

All worked out fine! Kigali at night has a lot of electric lighting, perhaps not so striking to those whonmlive in the UK. But in Uganda, I am used to power cuts and often dark nights. Met someone from Kisoro here at the guest house -Baptist Pastor – Pastor George. He has offered me a lift tomorrow. The taxi driver who was going to give me a lift dropped in this evening so I was able to rearrange things for tomorrow.