Book Reviews

POTHOLES AND PROMISES by Jenny Ottewell

This is a self-published book by Jenny Ottewell about her life and work in Uganda from 1975-2001. She went with CMS and worked in the Church of Uganda. She first spent eight years as the Diocesan Education Adviser for Rwenzori Diocese, living just outside Fort Portal. She then moved to Hoima (Diocese of Bunyoro-Kitara) for four years before finally moving to Namirembe in 1987. She lived at Namirembe for fourteen years and worked in the Provincial Offices developing and co-ordinating education and training programmes for churches and schools, especially focussing on primary education.  She was also the CMS Representative in Uganda during this time.

Jenny was living and working in Uganda during the most turbulent times in its history. She writes with humour and compassion, humility and candour. She tells of many frightening journeys and night-time experiences without sensationalising the hardships and shortages, the dangers and risks which she and others often had to endure.

Jenny did much to encourage inter-denominational working together as she and others developed text books, training manuals and other materials for use in Roman Catholic and Anglican primary schools as well as in the Church of Uganda. As Ugandan teaching methods became more and more didactic, Jenny was committed to participatory, learner-centred teaching methods, whether working with children or training teachers in schools and churches.

My enjoyment of ‘Potholes and Promises’ was slightly marred by an irritating number of typographical errors, and a rather disjointed sequencing of chapters, but Jenny’s strong faith, and the resilience of all those she worked with, both Ugandan and ex-patriate, nevertheless shines through in a book from which those who know Uganda will find much to enjoy.

Canon Margaret Stevens

Price: A donation, with anything above the printing cost of £5 going towards Children’s Ministry in Uganda (see https://sites.google.com/site/childrensministrycou/home/new-coordinator). Contact Jenny at 4 Dockray Hall Road, Kendal, LA9 4QY (jennyottewell@breathe.com).

 

MORE THAN ONE WIFE – POLYGAMY AND GRACE by Stanley Ntagali & Eileen Enwright Hodgetts

Reprinted since one of the authors became archbishop, this book is a thoughtful consideration of polygamy and the issues it raises. Starting with an overview of polygamy in Uganda and in the global (not just African) context it then looks at an African understanding of polygamy and also the culture-bound reaction to it of early missionaries in Uganda. A number of case studies of individuals’ experience of polygamy, chiefly from the Bunyoro-Kitara region, are given. There is helpful reflection on Biblical material relating to polygamy and an account of the positive pastoral approach pioneered by Yustasi Ruhindi, the first bishop of Bunyoro-Kitara. This is a valuable contribution on an issue that continues to be more live than many may imagine (it is reckoned that one quarter of married women in Uganda are in polygamous marriages).

There are places where the editing could have been tighter and one excursus which, at least to this reviewer, seemed a distraction from the main thrust of the book but overall it is a very worthwhile contribution to the subject that will be helpful both to churches grappling with the pastoral issues and also to those from other cultures who find themselves working with the churches in Africa.

Revd Dr Michael Hunter

H J Orombi Publications, Kampala: ISBN 9789970403141: First published 2011, reprinted 2014