On a day when I’ve sat, getting very cold, by a lake watching my son sail for the first time
this year, it is mildly amusing and appropriate (having thawed out in front of the rugby) that I find myself being asked to thank God for my radiators!
We have nine radiators in this house (if I include the heated towel rail in the shower room), so at 5p a radiator I owe 45p towards the Mothers’ Union Family Life Programme, thinking as I do of the many children who die of pneumonia in the mountainous regions of Uganda.
I didn’t have the chance to visit the mountains in Uganda when I visited in 2006. We visited at the end of July, not the warmest season in Uganda, but quite comfortably warm by the standards of a UK winter. But I wonder how we would feel, coping with the winter we’ve just had without central heating, a gas fire or whatever heating we are blessed with!?
I’m also reminded of another sort of warmth; the warmth of the welcome that every Ugandan we met gave us. When I visited the Family Life Programme (FLP) in Luwero, I couldn’t believe that people had walked miles to meet and talk with this strange lady from England who wanted to see their ‘model home’.
FLP Trainers in each participating Diocese provide examples in their ‘model homes’ of good hygiene, sanitation and cultivation techniques – the one in Luwero was near the Cathedral and was the home of one of the cathedral clergy. Ruth the FLP Trainer pictured yesterday, was his wife I think.
Each Trainer works to identify groups of people in communities in their region who will work together to learn these skills. Group members are selected on the basis of their understanding of and enthusiasm for the programmes aims, and not on the basis of their religion or ethnicity.
Each group of eager learners, nominates a ‘facilitator’, the person who works closely with the Trainer, learning the detailed practical techniques, and then teaching them to other learners in their group. The facilitator’s homes in turn become ‘model homes’ for their local communities.