I have just spent 2 weeks with a group of students on a field trip to Uganda, Admos Chimhowu writes.
Many of the students want to work in developing countries after they graduate. Trips like this help them to see what the ideas they learn in class look like in the real world.
On Sunday the 2nd of April while travelling in Buliisa, a district that is on the shores of Lake Albert in western Uganda, we checked into the Albert Nile Hotel for a couple nights stay with the students. In the midst of the intense heat, swarms of lake flies and the beautiful countryside, we could hear the unmistakable sound of church hymns nearby. Drawn to this sound of amazing singing a colleague and I went across to find a vibrant community of Christian worshipers just completing the service in the local language. Even though the signing was in a local language I was amazed at how the ‘language of God’ is quite universal. The hymns sounded familiar and I felt at home.
Introducing ourselves to the amazing parish priest Rev Joan Abesinga we were made to feel special and welcome. She shared with us the story of this parish church and community. The Parish church of St Paul’s Bugungu in Bulisa district is a buzzing place of worship drawing over 800 parishioners every week. Established in 1936, it has been the centre of Christian life and service in Bugungu. The nearby 1000 pupil St Paul’s Primary School is testimony to the central role played by the Church of Uganda in this part of Uganda. It was a great feeling to be with her and to listen to the amazing work she is doing in a largely patriarchal society. After a brief tour of the ‘old’ parish church and the ‘new’ but incomplete parish church we said some prayers and exchanged addresses. As someone who has always had a fascination with the work of Christian Missionaries in Africa, this was a highlight of my day!