Dear Everyone, Feb. 10, 2014
On Wednesday, Feb. 5, after having a lot of trouble with the fading battery of My confere’s bakkie (pickup truck), and having to go back and forth to borrow the jumper cables from our Yaris, I managed to get the vehicle over to our project and loaded my boxes (too many) with the last minute things plus the files that I had taken out of my one remaining file cabinet to make it lighter and easier to carry and load and offload, I asked our maintenance man, Mjuleni, to give me a hand to load the file cabinet and we were all set. I went to see Fr. Guy and his guys for my last meal in Mthatha for some time. I got home at a reasonable hour and got to be early as I wanted to get up at 3am to load up my computer and tooth brushes and hair brush etc. and clean up the place a bit before I left. When I got to the car, about 3:30 am, Ha, the thing wouldn’t start. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I said. I was forced to wake up Mjuleni and some of the guys who are renting to ask them to give me a push start and then wish them well for the future. They won’t easily forget my early morning departure.
I got To Fr. Guy’s house, Sabelani, about 4:15 and there was no Fr. Ngadi. He was supposed to meet me there and then we would leave the car that I and he had been driving and leave with his bakkie. He overslept. I phoned him and tried to wake him up but no response. But eventually he did get the message, somehow, and off we went about and hour later than I would have liked, but, so what…
It is about a 5 hr. ride, depending on the road repairs and the traffic, but we were lucky and were not delayed by much. We grabbed a quick bite for bkfst about 9:30am and arrived at MD (Mater Dolorosa) about 10:30. We had a lot of help in getting the boxes and stuff up the stairs to my room (s) and he left immediately to visit one of our confreres to pick up something that he had brought from Kenya and was on the road back to Mthatha right after lunch. I had to smile on the way to Mariannhill because Francis took turns sleeping and working on his tablet. It has a wi-fi built in and he handled it like a pro. I wished I had his tablet and his skills.
I was given a warm welcome. The two retired bishops are still very active both physically and mentally and they are a pleasure to be with. There are several other brothers and priests who are immobile or slowing down a lot and I am the new kid on the block, the youngest of all, turning 79 this year and 80 next year.
I had two visitors already, one driving up in his Mercedes sports car which attracted a lot of attention especially at the orphanage when he put the top down. Ooohs and Aaaahs. The other was when my friend Shirley came to fetch me twice, once to go to her son to get me back on the internet (I discovered that my MTN provider is too weak so I couldn’t send or receive emails and couldn’t even get on the internet. That has been solved, more or less with the help of her son who is a guru when it comes to this stuff.
Then on Sunday, Shirley, my friend, picked me up again and we made a plan whereby I can make use of her vehicle several times this week until I am able to get the vehicle that Fr. Guy promised up here. My niece, Ann, a general practitioner doctor and her husband Dave, from South Carolina, are here since the 8th of Feb. and I will meet them in Mthatha on the 18th and come with them to Mariannhill where we will meet people and take in a game park before they head back for home on the 27th.
I have already gotten some commitments for Mass and some presentations and have put out my feelers for other possibilities lest I go stir crazy here. I know lots and lots of people and I will have to control myself. This was my first assignment and my roots in Africa started here and I am happy to renew old friendships and offer my services is there is any way I can be of help.
So this is a catch up on what has been happening since I left Mthatha, sadly, but necessarily last Thursday. I keep all of you and all of them in my prayers and in my heart.