• Billy Smyth

Resuscitating a grey lady

Friday 20th February

It is hot here - at over 30 degrees each afternoon.

The VTC students received a visit from Bishop Hilary today. It is good to see them busy at work across the range of courses on offer. The 40 students in training at the moment on 3 month courses are about to finish, with 40 more ready to start. In March, 70 more will begin on the longer nine-month courses. All these students are divided among the full range of disciplines - vehicle mechanics with driving, electrical installation, plumbing, hairdressing, tailoring and catering. There is a crèche on site to enable more female students to enrol.

The generator is now on its way to Arua and the bishop’s chaplain Simon Gaga will drive down on Saturday to collect it. The security on the road to the border has improved so hopefully Gaga will be able to get back by Monday so that I can assist the electrician with the installation of the generator using some of the fittings I brought out.

Working with the mechanics we managed to get the old grey lady started. This is the pickup used for the driving lessons. She needs a lot more work but it was good to hear that engine again!

I began some work on the diocesan tractor but progress is painfully slow. I’m remembering just how much energy is required to get things done. I am running out of steam with the hot afternoons and feel my age! Mary at the guest house is doing her best with the catering and I managed to get a crate of drinking water.

The exchange rate fluctuations are just crazy. When I arrived I was given 320 SS pounds for a dollar, today, only a week later, it was 260! Financial planning is almost impossible! The critical political situation is affecting everything.

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