13 February 2017
Every year Potter's Village welcomes visits from supporters in the UK, who come to share their skills and see for themselves the work they are supporting.
Last summer a group visited from Knock Presbyterian Church in Belfast and this is their story.
Knock Presbyterian Church has had links with Kisoro for several years so I was delighted to be able to join a small skills group made up of Helen, Roel and myself, Kathy, on a trip to Kisoro last summer.
I am a doctor with a background in General Practice and more recently in Psychiatry. I enjoyed joining Dr Mike on his daily ward rounds as well as doing some teaching on Mental Health to the staff at Potter’s Village, ably assisted by Helen. I was delighted to spend an afternoon with Winnefred, the Social Worker, learning about the background stories of how the children ended up being cared for at Potter's Village. Many stories were heart breaking and involved situations where the mother was clearly mentally unwell. It was lovely seeing the babies and toddlers thriving, despite their difficult start, in the loving and caring environment provided by all the staff at Potter's.
Knock was asked to fund a nutrition kitchen as Dr Mike and Sue recognised that babies were arriving malnourished and there was a need to educate the Mums on how to provide and cook healthy meals for the children. What better way to do this than by demonstration! Malnutrition is not only the fact a child doesn’t get enough food but also that a child doesn’t get a balanced diet including all the vitamins and minerals needed for healthy growth. Children’s resistance to illness and ability to recover is severely impeded by malnutrition. So the objective of the kitchen is to provide practical tips on the storage and preparation of food to provide nutritious meals. Maybe not quite Masterchef but who knows how things will develop in the future! We were very fortunate to see the kitchen literally built in front of our eyes during the time we were there which was especially exciting for Roel, a Civil Engineer!
Alan Cook (great name for this task!) was instrumental in getting the project moving. Not only that, he also adapted the design in a way that could be copied by the Ugandans in their own homes. This included improved ventilation which would hopefully reduce the incidence of respiratory problems caused by smoke in the houses. Alan also developed a storage system so food could be kept to provide a more varied diet outside the growing season. We didn’t see the kitchen up and running but Helen is returning this year and we look forward to seeing some photographs of this brilliant project.
We loved sharing the inspirational work at Potters and keep them in our prayers.