This was the first real live Supporters Day since the pandemic and was a resounding success.  Our guests of honour were Canon Uzziah, Executive director of Kagando Hospital, and his wife Penninah whose two week visit fortunately coincided with some lovely warm October weather!

It was our first Supporters’ day, so we were not sure what to expect, but it was an uplifting day with about 50 people present and great support from the local team at St James, Bermondsey. People gathered and chatted and there was a buzz of people exchanging news. It was lovely to see old friends, and to meet people we had previously only seen on Zoom, although we missed Keith Waddell, who was being presented with a medal in Uganda, and also Rob and Jen Morris who were unable to be with us.

We are very grateful to Anna’s brother Dan for leading us in worship on the guitar. Peter Lunn opened in prayer and Canon Uzziah shared a Bible reading.

Our Treasurer, Anna Kingdom, gave a very clear explanation of the current financial position. This is healthy, with income maintained and enough reserve, but the current pool of donors is inevitably getting older, and it is vital that we encourage more people to give regularly.

Peter Cheshire and Peter Lunn then updated us on the latest developments on the electricity project, explaining the reasons for the change of direction from Hydro to Solar power.

Before lunch we heard from four people about their experiences of working a Kagando:-

Oli Penney interviewed Maureen Moore about training Nurse Aides in the 1980s, and the joy of being able to keep up with her former students by WhatsApp.

Toks Plumtre spent 6 years at Kagando as a Paediatric nurse and had inspiring insights into the importance of community, the dedication of the staff, and how her experience had affected her work back in the UK.

Peter Candy told us some entertaining stories about his time as Administrator and Project Manager at Kagando, with a never-ending job-list including selling scrap vehicles, refurbishing wards, painting trolleys and mending tractors….and playing the bagpipes at the Junior School!

Chris Harris gave a moving account being inspired by the paediatric nurses to work with them to develop the neonatal unit into one of the very best in East Africa. A grass roots and almost zero budget project with amazing results.

Finally we saw brief video recordings from two medical students, from Australia and Sheffield about their elective experiences – both very enthusiastic and positive.

Then came the lunch break and a change to chat – plus sample some delicious cakes

After lunch we broke into small groups – C100, Palliative care, Student electives, Rwenzori Women for Health, and the power project. These gave people a chance to move from one group to another and find out about projects in more detail.

Canon Uzziah and Peter Lunn then presented reflections on plans for future developments and answered questions from the floor.

“Great is thy faithfulness“ seemed a very appropriate song for our final worship session before Canon Uzziah led the closing prayers.

It was a wonderful day. Not only were the talks fascinating and stimulating but there was a lovely informal meeting of friends and a chance to share news.

Many thanks to Liz Lunn who organised the day, to all who gave presentations or provided cake, to Dan for the joyful music, to Marion from St James who coordinated tea and coffee, and to all of you who came.

To those of you who didn’t make it this year, watch out for the next Supporters’ Day!

Oliver Penney