The election season has come, not only in the United States but also in Uganda. On Thursday (February 18th), Ugandans will vote in the general national elections. The president and all 400+ seats in parliament are on the ballots. The results should be announced on Saturday. Local elections (for mayors and town councils) are scheduled between February 24th and March 10th.
Please pray for Uganda in these coming weeks. There are eight presidential candidates on the ballot, including the incumbent who has been in office since 1986. Tensions can be high in the time leading up to and following elections. On Monday, rioting broke out in Kampala as one of the candidates tried to go through the city campaigning. Thankfully, Tuesday’s final campaign rallies were peaceful.
Most of the unrest is usually centered in Kampala (the capital city), it rarely reaches the bush (rural area) to the same extent. All three of the New Hope locations are away from large cities, so hopefully most of the children and staff will not be caught up in the middle of things. Some of the Early Adulthood students are located in Kampala, though, so pray for their safety.
At Kasana Community Church on Sunday, two of the elders spoke about the election and led the church in praying for the country during this time. Simon Katabazi took the attendees to Isaiah 33:22, “For the Lord is our Judge, The Lord is our Lawgiver, The Lord is our King; He will save us.” Uncle Simon reminded his listeners that God is the ultimate leader, in all three areas of government. Moreover, God is the one who saves His people – not any promises made by any political leaders.
Pray that Ugandan believers would trust God during this time. Many people are apprehensive and worried about the possibility of unrest and even war following the elections. Pray for a peaceful transition, but more than that pray that God would receive glory in whatever happens.
Because of the election season, the Ugandan government delayed the beginning of the school year. While the first term of the year usually begins during the first week of February, this year the official start date is February 22nd.
At Kasana Children’s Centre, the children who live onsite came back from their holiday visits to their families at the end of January. So in the weeks since then, they have been enjoying their extended vacation – but many say they are bored and ready for school to start again.
The mornings have included garden work for the children, harvesting their previous crops and preparing the ground for the next season. Praise God that all the family groups reported an increase in the yields from their fields, thanks to a good rainy season last year!
Almost every evening has been filled with a couple hours of volleyball, once the heat lets up a little. (Uganda is currently in the middle of dry season, and the weather has been very hot recently.)
The boys have had multiple football (soccer) matches, and a couple of the staff also arranged a netball competition for the girls. Netball is mostly like basketball, though with additional rules – the primary one being that when a person has the ball, one of her feet must remain planted and cannot move.
Pray for the students and teachers as they get ready to start school next week!
Text and sports photos by Esther Carey, Communications Coordinator