International Exchange – Fran

Fran Warner (Grail Sydney) with Polly Nyangoma and Demmy Kangye at Kishabya in Western Uganda, discussing organic farming, health promotion, girls' development and primary school projects run by the Grail Team.

Off to Uganda 2006

Bill and Fran Warner (Grail Sydney) set off for Kampala (Uganda) in January 2006 and were there for most of that year.  In their own words:

“We are beyond the middle of our professional careers. Our two children have grown up and are no longer living with us. We both work in the education/training area - Fran in Catholic schools and Bill in private sector financial training. We have often talked about making a voluntary contribution, at this stage of our lives, where our skills and experience might be useful. We have both travelled extensively and lived out of Australia many years ago. After raising the prospect with Ruth Crowe (Grail International Leadership Team) and the IGA, we were invited to become part of the Grail-run Uganda Catholic Social Training Centre in Kampala.”

So it seemed as if Fran might be working with the Grail members on spirituality and offering English language support and Bill might be working on the financial side in some way. It was also likely that they would visit other Grail projects in Uganda and neighbouring countries and write up an account of the work undertaken in order to assist with funding applications. The prospect of new vistas and experiences, meeting new people and learning from another culture was very appealing to them.

“We welcome the challenges it might bring. We are sure we will gain much from the experience.”

 Looking back in 2015

Bill eating by lamplight in Mushanga (Uganda)

Bill, Noela, Mansuet and Fran at Dido (Tanzania)

The sorts of activities we were involved in were

  • Working with the Deputy Director of the Uganda Catholic Social Training Centre at options for a new accounting package
  • Informal English conversation classes
  • Mentoring one staff member about her studies
  • Some computer software help
  • Joining in Grail gatherings
  • Drafting promotional material for the Grail and some of the projects
  • Proofreading some writing with a Grail member
  • Visiting many Grail projects in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania and a couple in South Africa

There were excellent projects in these countries , and there is great expertise in many areas of interest to the wider Grail. A challenge is to get more sharing happening, so the expertise is shared more broadly, and the learnings from one place shared and taken up in Grail programs in other countries.

We are always very grateful to Ruth Crowe (Grail Sydney and then member of the International Leadership Team) and previous ILTs who facilitated our exchange. We especially thank the Leadership Teams in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa for welcoming us and making time to share the Grail work with us.