Jan. 15, 2018 – All of you should know by now that when I use this “salutation” for a letter it’s regarding a trip to Uganda. I usually find time to write prior to leaving, but the days prior were a bit hectic and –here I am in Uganda, and already at work in the office. I arrived late Saturday night.

Sunday morning I met Ritah, my neighbor, for church. Sunday is always a “prayerful” day in the village. Almost everyone is either coming or going to a church service somewhere. Prayers and songs ring through the air and adults and children are dressed in their best. It had rained more overnight and the roads were really muddy. As Ritah and I made our way around potholes of mud and water a woman and her children stopped to offer us a ride, and we took it. I feared looking like some folks who had already slipped in mud!

I spent parts of the afternoon and evening with my friend, Rose, who I have worked with over the years during my trips related to the Center for Hospice Care’s partnership with the Palliative Care Association of Uganda. As many of you know, Rose has not been well over the past months and underwent treatments for cancer. She is better now and gaining back her strength, although this will all come with time. She is hopeful for a very positive future. She is thankful for all the prayers and support she has received and depends on our continued prayers. I told her at home I will be her “caregiver” and during periods of time that she is in the office I will be her “secretary.”

I am keenly aware as I begin this visit that this year is the 10th Anniversary of our partnership. The time has gone by fast, but I feel confident in saying that our partnership is strong and growing with leadership to take the partnership into the future. It has been a model for other partnerships and will be celebrated by CHC later in the year.

I am currently helping Rose with some projects, one being the completion of a grant and the other a presentation. Two staff members are out of the office for the week so some input/assistance is limited. I will meet later with Lydia, coordinator of the Road to Hope Program, to discuss the Empowerment Retreat to be offered next week for the older children in the program. This timing is good since the new school year for students does not begin until February. Of course, we have also discussed some of the children. How can you not enjoy that –even if some present challenges!?

My three weeks already seems short! I hope you are all doing well – and coping with the snow and cold!

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