A sad week. On Sunday Charity, the sister of Arkaline (Ak), J1010’s Ugandan Director, died. While death is always sad the fact that this death would probably have been avoided in the UK – and that she leaves three very young children behind makes it doubly, or trebly, heartbreaking. Why is life so unfair? More specifically – why is our world so unfair?

I prayed with Charity when she first got ill with the breast cancer that ended her life last weekend. I have prayed for her many times since. She didn’t get better and she died after some days on oxygen in the horror story that is Murago Hospital, Kampala. Her three children, Billy, Joshua and Martha have been living in Kabale with Ak and her other sister during Charity’s illness and they were at the burial yesterday with Hildah, my wife, and the other J1010 staff. Our staff and my wonderful wife travelled six hours each way on a bus to show their support and love for Ak and her family and I am so grateful to them. This is the community and love that I miss so much in UK when I’m not at home in Uganda.

Three children – 9, 7 and 4 years of age lost their Mum to breast cancer. In Uganda there is no ‘pink ribbon’ campaign, women don’t check their breasts as they do in Europe, if a lump is detected its potential significance is not understood and when they get ill they can’t afford treatment. There is no mastectomy awareness, understanding or support groups. You’re by yourself, you’re ignorant and if you’re poor you will definitely die. It makes me want to cry AND scream with anger at the same time.

And it is why I believe that God has given me a twin passion for our work in Uganda – health and education in Jesus’s name. If we can build health facilities that allow the poor early access to loving, professional health care and run schools that educate children to listen to their bodies and act accordingly then we can change this needless loss of life in the next generation. We already teach the 5-11 year olds in our care about sanitation and, as we build schools to serve them till age 18 over the coming years we will also teach them about how to monitor their own bodies. So Martha, Charity’s adorable 4 year old, need not die in her thirties. Ouch.

We failed Charity. All of us. And we failed her children. The love of Jesus and their certainty of an afterlife free of pain, fear and death will sustain this very lovely family. But in 2012 in the UK 85.1% of breast cancer victims survived. In Uganda I would doubt that it is as high as 5% survival. Unsurprisingly figures are not available.

This makes me angry and if I am made in the image of my creator then it makes him angry too. For the love of God we need to change this and, in a small way at J1010 in Kigazi/Kabale, we intend to. In God’s strength and in Jesus name. Rest in peace Charity. I’m sorry.