News and articles from John and Poppy Spens

Fast Track for Healthline Sudan

We recently visited the Diocese of Lainya to meet the Bishop again and to check up on progress with the new Healthline Sudan Primary Health Care Centre, being funded by Irish Aid. As the photographs show, the building is coming on extremely quickly and we saw the result of just four weeks’ work

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Posted on Thu, 27 Nov 2008

Orders pour in!

College carpenters seem to be getting busier and busier at the Yei Vocational Training College and the demand is growing for its niche item – the three seater mahogany school desk.

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Posted on Fri, 05 Sep 2008

Unexpected Change...

Both of us returned to the UK at the end of July so that Poppy could receive medical treatment for a swelling that has was later diagnosed as a large ovarian cyst. She had an operation for its removal on 19th August and a complete hysterectomy as well. She will need to lead a quiet life here in Winchester until November at least.

Our sudden departure from Yei meant that we had little time to hand over things in the way we had wanted. Poppy had a day to implement her six week handover programme and, as John only made the decision to leave Yei at 5pm on a Friday afternoon before flying on the Saturday morning, he had rather less time!

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Posted on Wed, 27 Aug 2008 | 1 comments

Wheelnuts, Developments and the Future...

We are writing this on the last day of our short holiday in Uganda, in the northern town of Arua. It’s been a good break and an opportunity to catch up on sleep, enjoy pizzas, do some shopping and even to swim in the hotel pool! Getting here was, as usual, a challenge and this time was made more interesting because a rear wheel decided to separate itself from the vehicle.

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Posted on Mon, 21 Jul 2008

From Strength to Strength at the Martha Clinic

Martha clinic is incredibly busy. Our patient numbers are rising fast and the new building is now full to bursting. We are now having to build a waiting room which will be used for health education while the patients wait…

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Posted on Mon, 07 Jul 2008 | 1 comments

Miracles at Mongo

On 3rd March 2008, Ian and Carol Smith visited the community at Mongo where construction work on a new Primary School was about to start to replace the ancient and dilapidated buildings currently used by the pupils. The buildings are still in use and there are still three classes that take place under trees.

But not for much longer…

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Posted on Tue, 01 Jul 2008

Craft Sales support Women's Programme

Running a craft shop is not my skill. In fact I find it a real struggle to find the time to manage it in the way I would like. I am so busy running the clinic.

We are totally dependent on sales to enable the women to be paid for the work they do. The women work; we pay them for their work and we hope to sell the products (see photo. The full catalogue is on our website at

From time to time we hit a financial problem. This happened last week when it looked as though we would run out of cash by the end of the month. We stopped most of the women working but this causes hardship for those whose families depend upon this income.

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Posted on Sat, 03 May 2008

Community Health Evangelism in Yei

The Martha Clinic has recently hosted a 10 day training workshop (pictured) in community health evangelism (CHE), a programme which has been running very successfully in several African countries over recent years.

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Posted on Thu, 01 May 2008

New Clinic proving to be a blessing

The new clinic is going really well.

Patient numbers are rising, especially of ante-natal mothers. We are really pleased at this because the rate of maternal deaths in Southern Sudan is thought to be the highest in the world.

We now have a solar vaccine fridge so that we can carry out routine immunisations. It took a year to get here and be installed but we are now delighted that it is ready for use.

The new clinic building is superb and the staff are very hard working and competent – I have never worked with such a committed team.

Posted on Mon, 28 Apr 2008

Mongo Primary School Progressing Well

The road to Mongo is notoriously bad! In the dry season it is a very bumpy journey; in the rainy season it is sometimes impassable.

I drove the road earlier today in order to visit the new Primary School building that is being constructed in Mongo, funded by Connor Diocese, through CMS Ireland.

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Posted on Thu, 24 Apr 2008