A 20-strong team made up primarily of parishioners of St Patrick’s, Coleraine, will travel to Uganda, Africa, on July 29 to work with the charity Fields of Life.
Based at the Church Missionary Society Hospital in Kiwoko, they will be helping build a much-needed nurses’ home. Other members of the team will be working in a nearby secondary school.
Team leader Dr Scott Brown said the hospital was based on the site of the former “killing fields of Uganda.”
“Fields of Life, which is a locally based charity, was asked to get together a team to build a nurses’ home at Kiwoko,” he said. “The hospital is quite sophisticated by bush standards, offering patient care, carrying out medical procedures and running a teaching programme, but a lot of the nurses have to sleep on floors and double up.
“We need to raise £15,000 to build the nurses’ home and we are three quarters of the way there.”
The parish has been very active in supporting the trip. June 2 saw the first ever abseil down St Patrick’s church belltower – a height of more than 100 feet from battlements to base. Steve, John and Lynne courageously stepped over the edge under the expert guidance of Xplore Outdoors, a locally-based private outdoor adventure business.
Other fundraising events have included a car wash, a Bar-B-Canoe night on the Bann, a “haute-cuisine” Sunday lunch attended by more than 150 people, a bird-watching trip to Tory Island, and sponsored cycling and marathon events.
By the time the team arrives in Kiwoko the foundations for the nurses’ home will be in place, and the group will be ready to build the remainder of the structure, assisted by local tradesmen and builders.
A small team of ladies will be working in Shama Secondary School where as well as helping teach and train staff they hope to run a programme for deaf children.
The team will include a health visitor who will work in schools and HIV clinics, while Dr Brown will be assisting and teaching in the hospital.
“It is going to be a very full 13 days but we have a lot of preparation to do beforehand,” he said.
“This will be a first visit to Africa for many of the team and we have to prepare them in relation to immunisation, what to do when they are there, and what to expect. We have to prepare them for the culture shock of going into the bush and seeing at first hand what real poverty and real hardship really are.”
Visit www.fieldsoflife.com to find out more about charity’s work in hospitals, schools, agriculture and child sponsorship in Africa.