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60-mile walk for AREP: Holyhead to Puffin Island

Decided to walk the 60 miles from Holyhead to Puffin island this summer.
Raising money for school fees for Term 3.

It’s a big term for the project since Lovemore and Scovia are about to sit their Primary Leaving Exams.  Also, Sonia, Esther and Richard will be taking their S4 (GCSE-equivalent) exams.

This donate button takes you to the donations page on
Anonymous gifts can be made, and donations can be gift-aided.
Thanks everyone for your support this year!

The pictures were below were taken last year on part of the route I’ll be walking.  It is a wild (in parts) and very beautiful coastline.

Wylfa Power Station, Anglesey, April 2012

Wylfa Power Station, Anglesey, April 2012

Meg on the beach by Wylfa Power Station, April 2012

Meg on the beach by Wylfa Power Station, April 2012


A pitch to Year 11

Decided today to write to the Year 11 students I teach.  Would they consider sponsoring Esther, Richard and Sonia?  I really hope that these three young people can achieve their dreams.

Esther wants to become an Administrator, Richard hopes to make it as an Engineer.  And Sonia would love to become a Nurse.

Global off-grid lighting association

There’s no mains power in Pajok, so this organisation has some relevance!
I noticed that in their photos are the same solar powered lights we took out to Pajok in December 2011.  The ones in our pictures below are from dlightdesign. The same product featured on the BBC’s series “A History of the World in 100 objects”.  The 100th object was this particular design!  We would like to supply further lights to our friends in Pajok if at all possible.  Fiona and Sunday are at school there.  The lights are small and not very heavy (770 grams) so are suitable for carrying in luggage.

Solar light fully charged by 11am

Solar light at Pajok, fully charged by 11am

Kampala power cut, Laptop plus D-Lights!

Kampala power cut, Laptop plus two D-Lights!


Online giving page is now live at!

To give online, you can find our donations page at:

We chose for the following reasons:

  1. Because they are a charity themselves, so they don’t make a profit from the service.  
  2. They charge no joining fee or monthly fee to the charity.  
  3. And their handling charge is the lowest of all the online giving companies, only 2%.  So 98% of what you give goes to the charity.

For example, on a £5 donation, only 10p is deducted.  And if you are eligible to claim Giftaid, on a £5 donation the charity will receive:
£5 + £1.25 Giftaid, less 10p Admin charge = £6.15.

Pictures tell stories

John sent through a picture of Richard, Joe and Nigel from the days of extreme poverty in Kiryandongo Refugee Camp.  He entitled it The Photo that speaks.

Richard, Joe and Nigel in Masindi

Richard, Joe and Nigel in Masindi

Contrast this picture with a recent group picture taken at the end of January 2013. The goods in the foreground are the school requirements for the start of the new term. Every student has to bring in a few key items, eg a ream of paper, some disinfectant, a pair of gloves etc:

Sudanese Children in Kampala Jan 2013

Sudanese Children in Kampala Jan 2013

Granny Olga looking after Survivor

John sent a picture of Granny Olga holding the child named Survivor.

“Olga at her old age is now still taking responsibilities. Here she was trying to comfort Survivor (the kid whose mother Laker died at birth). The kid was suffering from malaria and had no drugs or money to take to clinic. I gave balance of my transport for her treatment.”

I mentioned this at church this morning and was given some money after the service which I hope to send on Tuesday via Amal Express to Torit which is 38 miles from Pajok.  Lino can pick up the money from there.

Olga comforting Survivor who has malaria

Olga comforting Survivor who has malaria

Establishing Fiona and Sunday at School in Pajok

This morning I took a call from Lino in Pajok.
He wanted to pass information on to sponsors of Fiona and Sunday.

An accurate exchange rate between South Sudanese Pounds and Sterling is tricky to obtain.
The latest exchange rate I have is from Nov 2012: 1 SSP = 520 ugx (Uganda Shillings)
Sterling to shillings: £1=4028 ugx
Cross-rate from £ to SSP: £1=7.75 SSP
or 1 SSP = 13p

Per child:
School Fees for one Term: 250 SSP (£32.27)
School Uniform:                    80 SSP (£10.30)
Stationery:                            75 SSP ( £9.68)
TOTAL:                               405 SSP (£53)

So the total for Fiona and Sunday together is £106 for one Term.

How to get money direct to Pajok? Western Union does not yet operate in Pajok, a legacy of when Sudan was a united country and some Western firms were barred.
We could easily send the money via Western Union to Okenggo John in Kampala.  He could take the money to Pajok on his next visit, but he may not be going for a week or two, and it is 350 miles from Kampala to Pajok!
Amal Express operates in Torit, a nearby town 38 miles from Pajok.
Lino could then pick up the money from Torit.
The problem is that Amal Express has no agents near St Helens.
Their main office Telephone No in London is 0208 749 6050.
The nearest agent to St Helens is in Manchester, Tel 0161 256 0086.
The agent is a shop trading as AB Telecom, at 358 Great Western St, Manchester, M14 4BY, 28 miles from St Helens.  They send money in US dollars.
To send a principal amount of £150 would cost $220 including the fee.
With Amal Express you have to call in person at the office. You cannot send money electronically.