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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Well, here it is, March, 4th Sunday of Lent. Easter comes early this year.
     It has been an awful week for me. Nothing seemed to work. It was as though Murphy moved in with his whole family and tried his best to disrupt my life (and that of many others too) with a vengeance.
     The electricity was on and off, mostly off for most of the week. We weren't sure if it was ESKOM, the national provider or if it was KSD (King Sabata Dalindyebo) municipality supplier. All the milk in the fridge went sour and we hope that what little meat there was is still edible. Thank goodness I love Amasi (sour milk, like Yogurt) but not everyone does. It won't go to waste.
     One morning I discovered that the electricity had been off for the whole night in our kitchen, pantry and dining room. The rest of the house seemed to be OK. Of the three phases that come into the house, the power should be between 200 and 240 (in the States it is 110), but one phase was about 67, the other was 132, and the third was 230. The fridges were not going so I had to run around to find extension cords and plug them in to one of the plugs that had the 230 to keep the fridges running. But, after a while, even that didn't work any more as all the electricity went completely out. Holy Moses.
     Finally, when I had given up and was on the way to KSD to shake them up, the electricity came back on again.
    Otherwise, I was unable to get on the internet; my cell phone refused to work; and the landline has been out of commission since the copper cable was stolen about 3 weeks ago. All avenues of communication were totally cut off for about three days.
     When I went to visit our Bedford Project (flats or apartments we built for renting to get some income, in the future, for our young confreres when we old-timers are gone together with our pensions,) I discovered that several jobs that should have been done by the builder were not done yet, a water pipe had been broken and patched with an old inner tube, and one of the septic tanks was overflowing with the effluent that was coming from both the hospital and our tenants (I didn't use the work " effluent" when I saw it!!!)
    I had to go to (I couldn't phone, remember....) someone who knew what the situation was and could advise how to solve it--a good Muslim) and get his help for the other things too.
     People were upset because I wasn't answering their mail or phone calls and I couldn't help it.
     But, as is always the case, some good things happened too. The electricity came back on, the internet connection worked again, and for some mysterious reason, even the cell phone became operable once more.
I managed to get in a few classes with the seniors in one of the high schools and we talked about the challenges they faced when they graduated and what their responsibility was, as Christians, (not necessarily fanatical) to respond with the bag of Christian values that are our inheritance. The humanists too could relate to what I was saying as I brought the bible along with the newpaper to see what the relation was from the one to the other.  I enjoy being with them and I am thrilled with the throbbing energy that is there that needs tapping into and guidance. Wow! They are great.
     I also enjoy going to the outstations and keeping in touch with the rural communities out there. I don't know how they survive as the prices of everything just keep going up. We  (Mariannhillers) have a project going in connection with the J&P of the bishops' conference to gather information at the local supermarkets each month to record just how high the costs have gone (like Petrol, which went up 41 cents a litre last month and just went up another 81 cents a litre, which now is just 3 cents shy of R13 a litre. When petrol goes up, so does transport --people have to get to work, and the price of goods goes up because of the increase in transport costs.) The project is called " Basic Needs Basket". I think that with the statistics of what was collected before, this year's budget actully reflected the pressure brought to bear by the government announcing an increase in some of the social grants, like pensions, to help people to survive.
     I think I will stop here. I run like crazy in the morning to various offices that are connected with our project, including the police who are helpiing to nail down a policeman who is in arrears for his rent by more that R30,000. I start about 7am, shopping, and continue till about 12 or 12:30 each day, just in time for lunch (more or less) and then continue after a break from about 2 to 5 when I have a wash and try to do some reading. I am getting in some of my weed-whacking again. I need some exercise or my body will complain. But I have been sleeping like a log, nicelly tired. a good feeling.
     I hope that you are all well and realize that I love you all and, especially after the delicious time I had in Europe and the States on my home leave and sabbatical, you are all still very fresh in my mind and in my heart. You will stay that way, you can be sure. Love and peace, as always. Cas.