Father Robert sends his hopes and best wishes for our good health although he himself has been very ill—first with a bacterial infection, then typhoid and finally malaria. He wasn’t allowed to go to the hospital for fear he was COVID infected, even though he tested negative for the virus. He ended up being cared for by one of the sisters. The COVID tests in Uganda costs $40 and are very difficult to obtain. Usually, they are available only to those with influence.
The Ugandan government has reported 400 deaths due to COVID, but the care there is very inadequate with only one converted school being used as a hospital. The hospital is mostly used just for isolation purposes.
Amidst all this, the country was in a turmoil over their election. Every politician was busy visiting villages where they provided “gifts” to the people. Political tension was strong, and there were many riots. The network and all news sources were shut down.
The school opened for finalist government exams, including for university, in October after having been in pandemic lockdown since March. It was closed again for the Christmas holiday. The plan is to open in late January, and it is imperative that they do so since so much of the progress made by the children has been affected. Other than doing a little work to keep up the church compounds and being fed, the primary school children have had no opportunity for furthering their education.
Also, unmarried pregnancies and early marriage is up. These girls will never return to school.
On the positive side, the students at home were able to help with cultivation, and since the weather cooperated, food was plentiful. Local baptisms totaled 257 with people returning from the cities to baptize 320 children.
They were able to celebrate Christmas mass although the evening music and dance were not allowed due to an extended curfew. For Holy Innocents feast, children from all the sub-parish and the parish center celebrated with a special mass, food, competitions, and dance. They expected 1,000 children and almost 1,700 participated! IT SHOULD BE NOTED that the girls sponsored by Our Lady of Good Counsel did all the organization for this successful program.
Father Robert ended his update, as he always does, with a thank you for your generosity in giving the girl’s a much better life, and asking God to Bless each and every one of you!