A Sad Day for Uphill

November 6 2023 was a sad day for the Uphill community. We learned that Uphill Head Builder, Waren, had died following a brief spell in hospital. He was 53 years old.

Uphill head builderInstalling the school sign at the junction from the main road (2017)

Uphill head builderLaying bricks for the girls’ latrine in February 2019

Uphill head builder at workOverseeing construction work at the school (2016-2023)

Trust chairman Max was asked to pen some words to be shared at Waren’s funeral:

“Some thoughts on the passing of Waren:-

It is with immeasurable sadness that we have learned of the passing of Waren Turinawe Jackson.

Belinda, Liddy and I have known Waren for more than seven years.  In addition to the respect and admiration we have for him as a stalwart and head builder of the Uphill project, and the gratitude and connection we feel towards him as a parent of Uphill children, we have come to love him as a true friend and a gentleman of rare and special character.

In his role as head builder, Waren and I quickly established a very successful understanding and rapport as we set out to build the new school.  I would provide simple basic drawings, and with a minimum of explanation, Waren would understand what I was hoping to achieve and would manage the crew to make it happen.  We learned from each other and Waren was kind enough not to say anything on the occasions when my Mzungu ignorance of the way things are done here was surely causing him to doubt the wisdom of agreeing to take on the project in the first place!

The results of our teamwork and his talents as a builder and team boss are there for all to see on the site of the school, and we could not be more proud of what has been achieved.  We are heartbroken to think that Waren will not be here to see the final brick laid and the final coat of paint applied to a project that he has been so deeply involved in.

But we feel the pain of his passing especially keenly because we have come to know him a person, not just as a builder.  His quiet manner, his smile – slow to come but of genuine warmth – his deep, gentle infectious laughter, his innate goodness and genuine friendship have all left a lasting impression on us.  We always looked forward to seeing his tall frame and that distinctive brown cap any time we returned to Iruhuura.

We are so much richer for having known Waren, and will always remember him any time we pause to think of what has been achieved here with the school.  Elius started it, the management committee have guided it, the community have supported it, we in the Trust have been honoured to provide resources to make it a reality, but Waren built it, and his children, who are amongst the many who have benefitted from it, can feel proud that without their Dad there probably wouldn’t be an Uphill Junior School.

Rest in Peace, Waren.”

Around 700 mourners attended Waren’s funeral, reflecting the high regard in which he was held in the local community and throughout the district. His photograph was passed through the crowd and many testimonies were shared.


Waren leaves a widow and 5 children, ranging in age from 6-18 years. Life is going to be tough for this family now that the breadwinner has gone.

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