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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Jan. 21, 2015.
    Holy Moses, but time has flown. It is already almost three weeks since the last blog and lots of water over (or under ) the dam. Well, here goes...During that first week of Jan. I went down to Mthatha to celebrate the final  vows of Sr. Pauline Makoro whose first assignment is to be the "farm manager" of the convent of Glen Avent. Usually most youngsters don't want to get their hands dirty but his young woman has earth blood in her veins and will happily take the place of Sr. Ignatia (she was still driving the tractor at 83 yrs. of age) who felt that she could now die, which she did, because Pauline was there to take her place.
     I stayed with Fr. Guy and the boys at Sabelani while I moved around Lansend and Bedford to see how things are going there. Because of your generosity, I was able to help Nothemba at landsend with help for tuition for two of her kids. I also was able to help Sinovuyo with his sewing project. He is determined to make a living for himself and help others to learn as well through his sewing and designing of carrier bags, Afro-shirts, and just about anything else you want to order. He deserves support. Also I was able to help Nomonde with some funds for servicing her car and helping to pay off some other debts. She is overloaded with problems. Hopefully she can retire in two or three years and go back to running her preschool. She is a fantastic teacher. Siyamthanda is doing well in her studies and that was the big concern for Nomonde. She is still trying to swallow the tragic death of her son Lita.
     The Bedford project which was meant to generate income for our province is going along but needs more input from the Mthatha community, I think. Fr. Guy and his guys helped once more by cutting the grass so that people are happy to live in what is like a nice park with mown lawns and lots of nice trees.
     A friend and board member of Sabelani Home invited Guy and I to lunch one day as we all were, happily, together before heading off in our different directions again. But he had a trick up his sleeve. After the lunch, which included a few mutual friends and Fr. Malinga, our canon lawyer, who came up to join us for a day or two, Mr. Rod Allen, representing the Rotary International presented to Guy and me a kind of citation that recognizes the work that we have done in the Mthatha community in trying to uplift and improve the life of the Mthatha community. Fr. Guy is the one who deserves it much more than me. Guy would never have come if he had known that Rod had this trick up his sleeve. It is also interesting to note that the
Church never recognized the contribution that Guy made through Sabelani home and its activities for the community, nor did Mariannhill, the religious community that we both belong to , recognize his work with the community. It had to take a civic organization, with its eyes open to what Guy was doing there at Sabelani home and in the neighborhood, and to encourage its continuation by paying this tribute to Guy, e.g. the Rotary International. Some achievement. So much for our church and religious communities.
     After the return to MD (Mater Dolorosa--the retirement home here at Mariannhill), I managed to terminate my contract with Mweb since it was costing me R299 a month for unlimited access to the internet, which was beautiful, but which had the hitch that the MTN signal here is so poor that it couldn't be used. I filled in the form that was given to me earlier but when I took it back to that office they said it was no longer done that way but had to be done on the internet. Ha! More fun and games. After an hour on the phone to try to get things moving in that direction, I was told to enter my password. Have you ever had that experience. Hell's teeth. It is two years since I opened that contract and I don't even remember having a password. After jumping through a few more hoops, we finally got that done. Now i have to make sure by phoning them that they really and actually termnate the contact and stop relieving my account of the R299 a month. They will continue unless you follow up and stop them
     I also stopped to visit a few families along the way on my way back from Mthatha and renewed old friendships that go as far back as 1966. I think that is my feminine side coming out. I really appreciate and treasure relationships. 
     I was also involved in a beautiful house blessing (the parish priest whom I help by taking his outstation several times a month did the job with me accompanying him with a pail full of holy water and a big brush used when laying blocks for a sprinkler, you would have laughed). We blessed, I am sure, at least 6 bedrooms, each with en suite bathrooms, toiilets and showers, and lots of other rooms. It was the biggest house I have ever been in in Africa. The woman whom I have known since she was a kid, who is now the wife of the owner, came from the typical 4 room township house together with her 7 siblings and parents. So this is really an achievement for her. I am sure that with the customary extended family, many of those rooms will soon be put to good use.
    I also managed , with several hitches, to get a new contract for R69 a month (instead of R299 a
month) for 1 GB a month, which, I think, will be sufficient for me. I had to go back three times to have some corrections and adjustments made to the modem but it is finally working now. How can we live today without access to email, Google, etc.???
    Yesterday I went back to the eye doctor who took the pressure in my eyes and found that it has come down dramaticallly and she (they  and me) is happy with the low, low pressure, thanks to the drops I put in each night. But, another cataract in the left eye is starting to grow and it won't be long before I will need that done as well. We shall wait and see.
     I saw the most horrible photo, gruesome, that I have ever seen in my life yesterday while I was looking for information about the saint of the day. I don't know how I got onto this but there was an article about ISIS and how it is trying to frighten the Christians in its path into becoming Muslims. There as a photo taken of a group of these ISIS people, holding a woman down while they were cutting her throat and catching the blood running out of her neck into a bowl on the floor. Ugly, gruesome. Hard to believe. I can't get that picture out of my mind. Another picture, almost as bad shows a father lifting up his 8 yr. old child, with a beautiful dress, but without a head. It had been cut off. Oh my God! We are told, over and over again, that we abhor violence and that violence begets violence, but can one just stand by and let this happen? Holy Moses!
    The Pope is making headlines these days with his nuancing of contraception and encouraging, so it seems, peolple to use their heads when it comes to planning an economically viable family (we are not, he said, expected to breed like rabbits, or something like that). We will have to see where this goes. I was also touched to see how he was moved to hug the little girl who asked him how God could allow such terrible things to happen to little children who were innocent, like her, who had to eat out of garbage cans and sleep on  a piece of cardboard while fighting off pimps who want to exploit her or get he onto drugs. Her life, she said, was a nightmare. The Pope tried to explain about suffering, but what can you say to a hurting and suffering child to take the hurt away. An attempt at explaining, philosiphically or theologically, the deeper meaning of suffering is going to do what???
We know that God hates the suffering ten million times more than we but how do you help to hearl this poor child.
     Hey, I have been asked to go to the hospital to anoint several people who may be taking the last few steps of their journey here on earth. What a privilege to accompany them like this and to remind them that the need not be afraid. A loving father, a forgiving father, a compassionate father, is waiting for them with open arms. Have a great 2015. Cas.


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