This is just a kind of afterthought. I sent this message to a few people and then thought that I might as well share it with you all. It is what happened since I returned from Zimbabwe on Wednesday the 14th of May.
I flew up to Harare, Zim on the 2nd of May and stayed with some dear friends till the 7th when I flew down to Bulawayo to visit our Mariannhill confreres there and then back on the 9th to the 14th when I returned to SA. While in Harare I managed to visit old friends at the Dominican Convent (we worked together in Zambia before we both moved down to Zimbabwe back in the 70's) and also my Jesuit friends at Aruppe college and at Silveira House where some are teaching Philosophy and others and running courses for various skills and projects. Also met the head of Justice and Peace to understand a bit about what they are doing under the present circumstances, and a few others who have been working with NGO's who are in the picture. I also visited our new house in Harare near Aruppe College and Trinity college where our guys will study philosophy and theology because it is much cheaper than here in SA. I also had the pleasure of celebrating Mass at our CPS house in Harare twice. I paid a special visit to my old haunt, Imbisa (Inter-regional meeting of the bishops of southern africa) where I lived and worked with refugees (exiles) from 1988 to 1992. I met a friend and colleage, Fr. Richard Menatsi who has been the secretary for the past 5 1/2 yrs. and is ready to come back to SA.
In Bulawayo I visited the CPS sisters and especially one of our sisters from Mthatha, Sr. Martina, who is working for a project called Mustardseed Project. Physically challenged children being taught to do handwork, sewing, candle making, etc. She is enjoying it and it is a great project. CMM also has a project in the offing for building a school for skills training that is greatly needed in their rural area. I also saw, among others, Fr. Andy Heier, the only other American who has been working in Zim for many years now and is finally retired like myself--re-tyred. We also visited our candidates and hope that one or the other will pick up the baton and carry on were we left off.
But with the indiginization policy for businesses in Zim, many businesses have had to close down and the unofficial number of unemployed is 80%. That means now money is circulating. Only a comparative few have the US dollars to buy things. Everything is presently available but it may not last through next year when things will have come to a head. People survived the total collapse of the economy in 2008 so they feel that they will also be able to survive whatever happens next year.
so that is the Zim story. Now after the return..
I had a wonderful time in Zim and settled back in at MD, catching up on things. My car wouldn't start yesterday after fetching a lot of used clothing etc. at Estie's. I was at the petrol station and it just wouldn't start after filling up with petrol. The guys in the petrol station said it was a cell in the battery that was dead and I would need a new battery and they phoned to get a price and to have it delivered now, now. Only R982 or something like that. Ha! But because the battery place had no transport just at that moment, they tried getting it started with jumper cables. That didn't help either. so they were sure that I needed a new starter motor. Ha again! But that they couldn't do there so I got a push to get it started and drove to the monastery. There I parked on a small hill so that, in the morning, come hell or high water, I would be able to go to Mthatha. (I left at 7:30am and arrived at 12:30 just after noon. That is averaging about 100km. and hour. Not bad. That vehicle moves nicely.) After breakfast I got a crew to help to push to get it started -- including two bishops, Ha again, but before they started pushing, I tried to start it again and it started nicely. I had phoned Neil who had done some fixing and repairing while I was gone (he washed and polished it and blacked the tires and polished the inside as well so that it looked better than a new car) and he said that they had put in some new brushed in the starter so it might be that one of them got stuck a bit when it was heated or maybe they might need to be sanded slightly so that they slide up and down easily. Well, I prayed and talked to the Lord and asked him to cool down those brushes or whatever was needed and he did. So it started nicely and I never stopped till I got here (except once to empty my bursting bladder).
I grabbed a lunch with Guy and some of the boys and at 2pm we had a meeting till about 5pm about the future of Sabelani and the boys. We yakitty yaked and had supper together and at about 7:15 pm I left. I don't like driving at night but I took it easy and went out to Bedford to our office where I will get a good and long night's sleep. Everyone says how good I look. Yes, indeed, I had a marvelous holiday with fantastic hosts and that explains it. I was treated like royalty and spoiled silly and I must say that I didn't mind.
So, tomorrow Guy and I will celebrate mass together at the kitchen table and I will take the clothes out to Nothemba at Landsend after lunch. On Monday we meet for the last time with Fr. Damian and Thulani from Rome on their official visitation, and then they will go home and I will head back to Mariannhhill on Wednesday.
So that brings you all up to date on my horribly boring (???) life. Love and peace, Cas