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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dear Everyone,
    Yesterday was a very important event in our Mariannhill history. We buried a 94 yrs. old veteran of the school of old missionaries. He was a character, full of life and jokes and fun and at the same time deeply serious about making Jesus real to the people who were under his care as their shepherd.
     It was said that once he came out here to South Africa, which was, if I remember rightly, shortly after the second world war—he never returned home to his native Switzerland. He was a once off and when God made him, it seems, he threw the mold away, as they say.
     It was inspiring to hear about him and it gave an impulse to my own determination to be faithful to my calling and never to ease up as long as I live.
     Otherwise, I have still gladly given my self to looking after my confrere, Fr. Macarius Haeusler, who is back for a while from him parish in the North of Zambia. He successfully passed the 3 week checkup after his prostate operation, and the last thing on the list is a visit to a specialist eye doctor who can give him an injection into his eye (ouch!) to prevent the macular generation from destroying more of his eye nerves. He is already blind totally in his left eye and has very, very limited vision in his right eye. It is so limited that after our eye doctor, Casandra, checked out various ways (like magnifying glass, etc.) to enhance his vision in that right eye, nothing worked. So he has to just carry that cross.
    I have been going pretty regularly to a new and growing parish at a place called Savanah Park. I think that we hit it off with each other and I don’t mind at all whenever they ask for a visit from me. They are very kind to overlook my poor Zulu but I think that they still understand what I am trying to say.
     I would have lots of work to do in getting some order in my files but I have been too lazy to do that. The days go fast enough but the nights, from after supper ( a break from about 6pm to 7pm-and, after the news from 7 to 7:30pm) till bed time at about 9:30 or 10pm consists in doing a lot of reading, some heavy and some novels, especially by the priest novelist Andrew Greeley. John Grisham is another favorite.
    Anyway, I am preparing for a visit in just over a month to friends in Zimbabwe. I should start packing now so that by the time I leave, I will have cut down to only those things that I really need. I don’t like to wait till the last minute.
     So, there you have it. I am gradually adjusting to the slowed down life and am at least content for the time being. I would like to look for more, but I am sure that things will evolve.

   Catch you later. Fr. Cas

Friday, March 7, 2014

Saturday March 8, 2014

It's almost a month since I looked at my blog and lot's has happened since then. As you may recall, everyone laughed to hear that Cas was going to be without wheels. Ha! That's impossible. But I was prepared for this. However, it was not as simple as that. But, actually, people, beginning with my Provincial, Fr. Guy, were very understanding and helpful. Fr. Guy said that he would release the Astra (a 2003 model) for my use here at MD (Mater Dolorosa--mother of sorrows, ugh!)
    However, again, when I tried it out after going back to Mthatha to meet my niece and her husband, Ann and Dave, I noticed that the temperature gauge wasn't working so I left it in Mthatha till it got repaired. In the meantime, after my lovely family guests departed, some friends, Classina and John Powell, said that I could use their Tazz (Toyota) while they were away in Mozambique and it came in very handy;
   But before we get into that, the time with Ann and Dave was great. The rural areas, villages, people in Transkei, Mthatha meeting the community, Port St. John's and the beautiful wild coast and friends Dr. O'Mahony and his wife Mbuyi. Durban, Retreat house for lodging, Hluhluwe and Mfolozi game parks for two days and two nights where they saw myriads of wild animals including most of the big five, as they say, except a Leopard (sightings are very rare) and Hippos. They saw gobs of Rhinos and elephants and Giraffes and Water Buffaloes, etc. Dave is an amateur photographer and he thought that he was in heaven. I think that he took at least sixty zillion pictures. We met many families as I wanted them to see who my " family" is here and they were anxious to meet my "home family". The last night before departure we went to the Roma, one of those revolving restaurants where you get a chance to see all of Durban and the seafront with the ships waiting to come into the harbor. The next day, Feb. 27 I led them to the airport with my borrowed Tazz and off they went .Back to work, unfortunately.
     The very next day, a priest friend and confrere, Fr. Macarius (75 yrs. old) had arrived from Zambia and complained about having the old man's trouble about uriniating. I thought that this is more serious than he may think so I called the urologist who told me to bring him in now now. The result of that meeting was being first on the list of operations the next week to clean out his prostate. He has had the operation and is doing fine now. He also is partially blind with something called macular degeneration. He can see shapes and forms but nothing distinctly. I will take him to my optometrist to see if we can't get him a device to be able to at least read a bit. That will be next week.
    In the meantime, I went for my appointment to the ophthalmologist who examined by eyes after taking drops every day for the last 6 months and he was pleased and said it was as good as could be and that I should come back in a year. In the meantime, he also said, cataracts are beginning to form in in a year or two he may have to correct that. I also went to my optometrist who measured my eyes again for the second pair of glasses. I am afraid that I might sit on these or lose them or something and wanted a back up pair. I can drive without them but things are much more distinct with them (like reading signs). Otherwise I don't need glasses to read normally.
    Another great adventure was being able to go back to the hospital and on the first Sunday and again on Ash Wednesday to help with the distribution of ashes, a sign that we recognize that we are a work in progress and there is still more to be done. I had another service that evening in Zulu, mostly, and I see that I will have to do some boning up on my Zulu. I picked up a missal, hymn book and bible to get started.
    I discovered that there is no signal here for my MTN provider but I discovered that I can get a signal in front of the cathedral so usually I go there each morning about 5am and again in the afternoon about 4pm to check my emails and do whatever I have to do in the internet there.
     In the meantime, I am adjusting and things are filling in slowly but surely. The vehicle came in very handy for the many trips to the hospital and to the eye doctors.
    I am happy for Fr. Macarius who will be going back to Zambia in three weeks. I am afraid to think what would have happened to him if he hadn't mentioned his bladder problem. He lives out in the boonies about 1000 miles from Lusaka where he might be able to get some help but it would be, probably, too late.
    So that's enough for now. I will be taking the car, later today, to see if my friend, can fix the heat gauge. I miss Mthatha and my kids and people there and my confreres but I realized that it was time to face the fact that I am getting older now and can't be as active as I was before but there is still some life in the old horse. Love and peace to you all, as usual