Letters and photographs from Fr. Jo help us to understand the plight of refugees in Uganda.
EXTRACT FROM EMAIL RECEIVED FROM Fr JO KIZITO ON 9TH NOVEMBER 2014
Dear Canon John and my dear Parishioners,
Thanks for your kind message of great concern about me and my work. Yes, things have not been easy for us in the last many months of the year. In March 2014 a big number of our refugees from the D.R.Congo drowned in Lake Albert while on transit for safety to our Settlement, They were 254 people who died and only 95 bodies out of that were retrieved. It was a big shock and challenge to us in Kyangwali Refugee settlement…We suffered this blow for quite a long time. In May I was appointed with a team of NGOs officers to South Sudan, the youngest country to try and find out a reconciliatory system between the fighting forces. The new country South Sudan still burns of civil war. Thousands are killed others take refuge on our side. The results of our mission are minimal leaving everything back to God.. Finally, EBOLA Came in as a new unwanted visitor from the neighboring Congo , we have no medicine at all. I am still safe but not allowed to move much for the safety reasons. Where I am at the moment another, previously unknown disease called MABURG, similar to Ebola..Quite a few people are dying. But I am careful especially when it comes to the Sacraments of the Sick and burial services!!..Rains are too much. Everywhere are floods. Food is quite scarce and of course medical care. I depend on God’s help as usual. But thanks for your kindness and prayers. The money you send me towards the end of last year £ 1,000- helped us a lot in this difficult situation. Meanwhile I am blessed to have a short jump to Kampala for a meeting. So I am able to access to the computer at my sisters, house. They have electricity sometimes. Incidentally, it was only yesterday I received a letter of Oct.14th 2014 from my brother Canon John was so glad and relieved to hear about St.Edward’s community, I am preparing to reply Would you kindly extend our greetings to all the friends at St.Edwards…God willing, I will have another visit next Summer 2015..this year God hasn’t wanted it. Bye bye, Fr.Jo.
Footnote from Parish Office
The refugee camp has no reliable communications with the rest of Uganda, let alone the rest of the world, so it can be months on end without us getting any news to or from Fr Jo. Please do, however keep him and his work in your prayers; and let us hope that he can get here next summer for a well deserved and much needed rest.
In 2012-13 St. Edward’s Parish raised funds to help Fr. Jo supply the Kyangwali Secondary School with solar panels and a couple of computers. Until then there had been no computers at the refugee settlement. This provided students in the camp the first opportunity they have had to learn computer skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century. In September 2013, Fr. Jo blessed the solar power system and computers and sent us photographs of the system in operation.
Letter: September 2013
Fr. Jo was appointed to a relief and rescue committee in Uganda after disastrous mud landslides in March 2010 had killed hundreds of people and left over 30,000 people homeless. His June 2010 letter describes how St. Edward’s donations have helped at this time.