The Journey Begins
This morning, Tom and Gemma Withers departed from Belfast on their journey to Uganda to begin an eight-month Short-Term Experience Placement based at Kiwoko Hospital in Luweero Diocese. A few days ago, they wrote their a blog about their pending departure...
Last month, we left Sheffield for Belfast - our last pit stop before setting off to Uganda on 5th January. We are writing this on New Year's Day after a what has been an amazing four weeks in Belfast. Belfast has been kind to us, offering lots of rest and recouperation. It has also allowed us to have our final meeting with our supporting charity CMSI, which felt momentous! We count ourselves incredibly lucky to have had a Christmas and New Year relatively unaffected by COVID and the new restrictions (albeit mild) that we are living with in Northern Ireland at the moment.
We spent Christmas day with Gemma’s family. Tom’s family have come over for the week between Christmas and New Year. We have found it so valuable having time with the people we are closest to before our trip!
We also count ourselves fortunate to have our travel plans unaffected by COVID. With our minds now well and truly on our trip we have been reflecting on how lucky and blessed we feel to have such supportive friends and family that have encouraged us to make this step in faith to travel to Uganda and pursue something we have felt so called to! We would like to thank everyone reading this blog for your support whatever form it has come in and please know that it has been a massive help in encouraging and motivating us when times have been tough.
We have had news from our contacts in Uganda who report that sadly the COVID-19 situation is still very volatile, and we are likely to be entering the country shortly after the announcement of the extension of restrictions which are still limiting gatherings and children attending school. This is affecting Kiwoko Hospital greatly with staff absence currently high, however the death rate is still seemingly very low.
So, as we travel over the next few days, please have us in your thoughts and prayers. If you pray, please pray for the ongoing COVID situation in Uganda, our safety in travelling and that it will be a smooth journey, and that we will be able to settle into our new roles and new location well. You will hear from us again around the end of January/start of February. If you would like to contact us directly for more info or just a chat, you can contact CMSI for our email address. God Bless and speak soon!