About Fiona Schneider

All posts are Copyright

Web Logger’s Cramp

Wednesday  18 th February 2015

I  was sure I wasn’t going to write today.All this blogging by finger on a phone getting a drag.And then the auto spell thing coming up with just the word  I  don’t want.And I need to upload by WiFi and not the more usual 3G. It’s hot. The Internet cafe is closed.

But  there’s lots to blog to express rather than blog to impress. The everyday.Shopping. Walking home and buying from the numerous stalls. I aim to use a variety of local shops.It’s must be ssooooo boring sharing a dusty sheet with tomatoes,onions and pineapple.Or a bowl full of  delicious mango.


Waiting and hopeful to sell.Waiting all day before they all shift. But that’s not as dirty as selling charcoal and the colours of the fruits here are numerous. The charcoal black black and dirty. A few sellers are active whilst they wait, the dressmakers, the meat friers,but many sit silently, some cast a watchful eye on their youngsters playing in the dust nearby and some chat chat chat. Yesterday’s shrove Tuesday pancake has a creative element to the selling process


The nature of so much commerce worldwide and an non considerable occupation for those of us shielded by education,privilege and power. I don’t mean non considerable for us to do.I mean we don’t consider the tedium of the necessity for so many.  Some have shops,less dusty but dark, and they stock  the things I want today.Nail varnish. Scissors. Toothpaste. In my arrogance, I’m always surprised what a dark tiny shop can stock.Isn’t this what we are fighting for in Europe.. to keep the highstreet shop? to support the farmer’s market.

I’m wondering how many of these shopkeepers are confined by necessity. How many might have moved off the dusty road side if opportunity had given them wings to fly?
Some students lose education because they drop out through lack of money,too much pressure to achieve,or illness or pregnancy. Few through lack of ambition.All want a bright future . Most school children  board. It frees the parents to work and avoids the congested school run. it brings order and focus and stops the children being goatherds.Students need to bring most things with them and they get to school however. Here,with mum and possessions on a motorbike, staying for three months at a time.


My mile walk home brings lots of interaction with locals at work.The very small start that some seller’s make is to be applauded and is to be supported. We haven’t had a glut of produce at home  as a result of.my encounters,just exquisite mango and pineapple. No long food chain,no refrigeration no supermarket forcing the producers to an unreasonable price.Sellers doing a great job, needing brisker trade to encourage and rise up from the dusty sheet.


Sunday February  15 th  2015

I’m about to sleep in a quiet place tonight up on the hill where the water goes anticlockwise down the plug.It’s a beautiful African  night with the frogs croaking, and no cockrel. I might sleep too well but I hope I see the sunrise over the lake.


I’m giving thanks to God for meeting some very special people this evening and this weekend. For  their generosity in giving their time, money, resources and lives to helping others.It is good to hear their stories, listen and learn.

Beatrice and her husband are well educated Ugandans with good jobs.They largely finance their missions to areas of North East Uganda where the hens roost high in the trees and the trauma of the Lord’s Resistance Army still affects man and beast.(Is he that is on trial in the Hague not victim and perpetrator?) They educate and give health care,support churches to serve and rebuild their communities. We laughed a lot and shared news of common acquaintances. We tried to found a FB page for their organisation whilst they relished fish and chips with Internet.Faith inspiration.

I’ve  never heard of a doctor celebrating 50years of work, but this evening I have met a very rare lady.Tales of tooting her horn at a tank  and miraculously seeing it move out of her way in a war zone in Angola .Pioneering work in Uganda for those with consequences of obstructed labour and a lasting legacy of a teaching healing facility. I’m going to learn a lot  here from this long serving nun.

And today we remember a martyr of Uganda. Archbishop Janini Luwum.
Killed by Idi Amin.It was the price of his Christian discipleship that made him say ‘ I live as though there shall be no tomorrow. While the opportunity is there I shall preach the Gospel with all my might and my conscience is clear before God.”    see link
The preacher at the memorial service will be the UKs best known Ugandan, and sufferer under Amin, Rt Rev John Sentamu, Archbishop of York.


And we hear of Coptic Christians martyred today.Sudanese, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Nigerians,Syrians,Indonesians, all have recent Christian martyrs in their number.And silent news on others. Giving their lives as they live out their discipleship of Christ.

Is  there a response? 

St.Valentine’s Day

Not much hype here about St Valentine, obscure Christian martyr  of 269 AD.
Not that there isn’t an ethos of  romance and love and ‘Go forth and multiply ‘.  I’m surrounded by little children. Persuavive skills to encourage contraception, even for child spacing, trip on the edge of a cultural springboard signed ‘Multiply’.
No society escapes misplaced sexual behaviour but an effort to challenge it for the good of relationships, families and children.. is that not positive? 


I love the word dignity, in this photo.It’s not a word I use much in my sexual health practice. But it’s a healthy word and worth repeating and pondering on.Created in a virgin state, the choice of when to first have sex needs to be dignified and under the control of the virgin.
So it’s sad to hear rumours of hype about a film of domineering, manipulative sexual abuse taking the limelight in the UK. When porn or sexual abuse are sought out as entertainment and marketed as mainstream in a society, the  society is in decline. If  we can stand up about  this we may give a glimpse of a film’s attempt at  degrading an undegradable people. A report this week gives shocking figures for UK teenagers in sexually abusive relationships.

http:// http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/four-in-10-teenage-girls-coerced-into-sex-acts-10037846.html

Children thrive in safe families built on a parent relationship of trust. Trust thrives in a supportive nonabusive, non threatening exclusive sexual relationship. Society thrives on building blocks of secure families. Of course, there will be childless households and unpartnered individuals for many reasons, but the multiplication of a society of dignity requires security of its children and young people who can be confident to enjoy a responsible freedom in their own generation.


Here is an anti HIV poster…. Change the word AIDS to PORN….use both. In the year of removal of topless women in the Sun newspaper, there can be hope for a responsible society putting sexual behaviour in its rightful place.



As the children of Uganda cry out
‘How are you, European ? ‘

Thankfully,God is Love is timeless and meets us at our point of need.Know love this Valentine’s day.

Degrading Undegradable

everywhere,everywhere, everywhere .
It’s  a mess. It’s cheap and it’s careless. It’s bags,it’s bottles it’s water cans and broken chairs.Rubbish with a price…    and with a value.


Plastic bags

The road has been remade recently and the plastic bags are now half  embedded in the road.
On the path home, the pigs and chickens scratch amongst the debris.,the plastic. We have the knowledge on food chain contamination but no will to care.We know that water sitting on a plastic bag is a great place for breeding mosquitoes.We know there is a lot of malaria here.No will to clear up, no will to educate. No will to afford large scale recycling.The fall in oil prices is bad for recycling.
A worldwide problem and A We Don’t Care problem.

But a ray of hope.Fazzi  with his broken plastic jerry cans


Eeking a living out of collection and nurturing the infant recycle.
I like this guy, he wants to collect metal but for now he wants the plastic monopoly. On the back of research into the process of collection and recycle,  a trip around the main plant for plastic recycling looms.Should be interesting even if not on my original Uganda agenda. Might stop my scream of frustration at this degrading undegradable mess.

Stopping the Starting


The Libyan Coast.
Where Africa meets the Mediterranean. The  Mediterranean calls back promises of Europe.

It is obvious much much more must be done to stop the trafficking of Adventurous-by-Circumstance across these waters,    or into the deep
deep depths of these waters.

Conflict and inequality embracing deprivation and desperation.
Talent and determination at the mercy of cruel opportunists.Lives washed away and more boarding boats behind.


Stopping the Starting. Stopping the conflict and inequality, deprivation and desperation must be our target. Africa is not to be ignored.

Rest in peace. Unknown.
Known unto God.

Financial Times

I went to the bank,  a bus ride away.It cost me 1000 shillings each way.The bank had moved from the dusty busy street corner to a brighter spot one hundred hectic metres down the road to Sudan. A place where bike and motorbike, maxi trucks and minibuses, pedestrians and pedallers and dogs snatch an opportunistic route.
Three gunned guards outside the bank, chatting in the heat, offered me a bag check.The bank was empty. But shiny and air conditioned. Funny how banks are always the comfortable palaces to outshine the neighbourhood. I paid cash in with a paper form in duplicate and the receiving account will be credited tomorrow. Ah! So much better than five working days to clear a cheque in a certain banking zone that boasts the world’s biggest  fashionable financial centre.But smarter is here,now, London ,and the chequebook should have been buried years ago.

This is the new school term and fees have to be paid.I am told the queues at this time of year used to warm up the air conditioning demanding ever open doors. Why the emptiness this year?


Rapid adoption of technology is changing the scene quickly.There  is no need to pay 2000 shillings on the minibus fare to the bank.Probably no need for the bank.


The new bank

Silly institution I was paying is slower to change and me,foreigner failing to trust.This new world is leapfrogging the duplicate forms and archaic chequebook as money speeds up its journey transferred by phone.Mobile money is reaching the heart of the communities, instantaneously and imaginatively. Reliability, accuracy,speed, safety.Shops are beginning to be money mobile as are schools and institutions.
Mobile magic money is here to enhance and empower.Will it be a tool for international payments?  Could we tip our mango growers for instance, if his or her number is on the fruit?  Will the phone companies be as problematic as the old banks? Will greed rob or will this accessible transfer system set millions free?  The Gates Foundation have a vision of the latter. Pray it is so.


Hear the stories and be humbled.

Uganda is a goldmine of talent,strong spirit,courage and endeavour. It’s all around me and that talent’s
seismic activity just needs to break out of the crust and be free.


Lois employee



Meet Christine, a dress designer of much style and talent.She’s made a great dress for me. A smiling happy lady who learnt to sew 8 years ago, then trained 6 machinists and now employs them. She works from 0700 til 2200 each day except Sunday. She is a Christian and her faith is her strength. She has two sons and has lost her husband.Look and see that she has no use of her legs since polio targeted her as a small child.

And yesterday,a blind Leeds university masters scholaship graduate came to talk about the orphaned siblings she cares for.A lady whose computer has a voice and so does she. Already she has lobbied the UK  House of Lords on disability rights.Now back in Uganda to contribute with her talent to the buzz and excitement of the young generation. Discriminated against because of her lack of sight yet resilient, courageous and inspirational.

Or one of the top students in his specialist subject at Gulu university. Bright and articulate he’s peaceful and yet striving to better himself and his family. He spent the holidays rebuilding the roof of the family thatched cottage.Formerly a Kampala street boy and before that running for his life from the massacres and atrocities of the Lord’s Resistance Army.


There is a lot more to tell of his story and he is slowly writing it down. Pain and agony  just allowed enough space to appall and his reaction, to humble and inspire the listener.

There are many many more. Let there be a bright dawn for Uganda.


Eveyone has their temperature taken on arriving at Entebbe.The nurses all wearing masks.Ebola may not be far away ,but the risk is low .There are other common illnesses that do change nations demographics still. And unnecessarily. Unfair for those who suffer. Often a result of haphazard neglect of educating about simple preventative measures. And inadequate provision.
Is it a scandal that the world has neglected adequate toilet and drainage and handwashing facilities for so many? Is it not an animal instinct to have a clean nest as a priority? The twenty first century sees mobile network providers being far more savvy at marketing than sewer manufacturers or toilet makers.It must be one of the biggest untapped markets .( no pun intended) Please,if you are a toilet manufacturer or economist or WHO person ,please can you tell me why the neglect. Don’t say money ….why the low low priority? Don’t say ignorance … We have had the information for 150 years ..