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Iteso in the UK Remember

Reported by George Agiru

Well over 100 Iteso from various parts of the United Kingdom (UK) attended a memorial service at St Paul’s Church Lorrimore, London, Saturday 10 October 2015. The service was conducted in both English and Ateso, led by the parish priest of St Paul’s, Mother Katy Hacker Hughes and the Superior General of Mill Hill Missionaries, Fr Michael Corcoran.

Representatives of several families solemnly lit candles and read out names of more than 150 departed who were prayed for. These included prominent personalities who had made significant contribution to the development of Teso and Uganda. The first Chief Judge from Teso, the first Chairperson of Teso District Council, the first Bishop from Teso, the first Ugandan Auditor (an Etesot), renowned missionaries, religious leaders, educationists and politicians, among others, were remembered at the service.

Speaking at the reception that followed the service, Fr Michael Corcoran said that he was pleased to have recognised most of the names of the people our Community remembered. Fr Michael who spoke fluent Ateso revealed that he had spent more than ten years in Teso where he served in the Catholic parishes of Kyere, Kidetok and Soroti. He narrated how he used to personally visit some of the people being remembered and pray for them in their homes when they were ill.

Fr Michael appealed to the Iteso Community in the UK to unite and work together to develop themselves and contribute to the development of their community. He narrated how the people of Kyere had contributed building materials for the construction of several churches in their areas under the leadership of their then parish priest, Fr Van Dijk from Holland. Fr Michael said that we could learn from the Kyere Catholic Community – that it isn’t about how big one’s contribution is but about everyone contributing to their own development.

Members of the Board of Trustees for Iteso Welfare Association (IWA), who organised and partly financed the ceremonies were paraded before the Community that included representatives from the Acholi and Upper Nile Communities. Each of the Trustees addressed the Community and announced their plan for the rest of the year.

These can be summarised as the need to reinvent IWA based on a welfare agenda by:

  • promoting positive social networking to avert isolation and inequality
  • promoting personal development initiatives
  • promoting healthy living
  • safeguarding family values
  • jointly combatting poverty and disunity
  • launching a hardship fund to support the above agenda, and,
  • using effective communication as a social fabric that drives change and makes connections for development
A job well done; a satisfied Board pose for a team photo at the end of the event.
A job well done; a satisfied Board pose for a team photo at the end of the event.