In January 2007, a Companion Diocese Covenant was signed between the Diocese of Central Buganda and the Diocese of Rupert’s Land. We agreed to grow our relationship, to share our hopes and dreams with each other, and to work together in our common mission: to spread the good news about Jesus to the world.
Barbara Bailey made this covenant personal, by deciding to sponsor a student to attend Central Buganda University. Run by our Companion Diocese, CBU has its main campus in Kasaka right next door to St. John’s Cathedral, our sister parish. Below Barbara reflects back on her time when she and her sponsored student, Moses, had the opportunity to “walk together, side by side”:
My Uganda Visits
By Barbara Bailey
In the fall of 2001 the members of the Ruperts Land Parish Partners met with the Volunteers in Mission to hear from John Veldhuis about his mission to Uganda. John, originally from Bowmansville, Ontario, had volunteered as a school Inspector in 1999 for the Central Buganda Diocese. He found that the nearest University was more than 90 km away. He set about to establish one. It became the Central Buganda University (CBU). How he achieved this is a long story of struggle and heartbreak and, although important, it is a story for another time. What was important were his visits to Canadian and American Anglican parishes to find people to sponsor students to CBU. The tuition for a semester was $600.
It has been my feeling for many years that foreign students studying here in Canada often end up staying here when they are so desperately needed in their homeland. Also so many bright young people cannot afford tuition and so do not develop their full potential. Here I had a wonderful opportunity to sponsor just such a person. His name was Moses Ssegirinya. He was enrolled at the College of Agriculture and needed a sponsor urgently.
Moses proved to be a bright, eager and very thankful student writing me letters of his progress and his family.
In February of 2003 I was a member of a small group of Parish Partners who went to Uganda, to Kasaka Parish (St. John’s Cathedral, Kasaka) to volunteer three weeks of their time. There they helped to paint, to plaster and build a roof on the University campus. For my part, I helped the secretary of the Cathedral office organize her files. During the last week there, we were taken on a river boat cruise down the Nile River. Along the shores of the Nile we witnessed many exotic animals such as the elephant, giraffe, hippopotamus and crocodiles. Flying in the sky and perching in the trees were many birds of all colours. In our journey we also saw Murchison Falls. It was a wonderful trip. I had met my sponsored student and was well pleased.
Such a wonderful honour I have never experienced before in my life.
In 2006 Moses had earned his degree and was to graduate. I went back to Kasaka Uganda for the Graduation ceremony. It was very impressive. After the ceremony Moses’ parents took me to their village. It is named Mpigi. There we were greeted by the whole village who were celebrating the occasion of the first University trained person from the village. Upon our arrival Moses and I were given two shovels and directed to a spot where we planted a mango tree. Such a wonderful honour I have never experienced before in my life.
Companions walk together, side by side.
They share their experiences and their visions.
They support each other in their mission
and rejoice in all that God has created.
By the end of their journey, they are enriched and transformed
by the mutual appreciation of their gifts.
Now each has more to give, and may continue to receive
from new companions in an ongoing journey of faith.
– from the Anglican Church of Canada’s Companion Diocese handbook