January 8th, 2016,
My boss at Kelsey Hayes, Bill Byers, had a saying on his desk that, I think, applies to me here now. The hurrier I go the behinder I get. Ha! Life has been going too fast and I am already behind and the new year has already gone into first gear.
Let me summarize it this way. Katrina was on an emotional roller coaster as the school closed and she had to say goodbye to all the kids. Tough job. Also, we spent a good bit of time together going around from family to family saying goodbye—all people that had taken her into their homes and hearts. She had become part of mor families than she could count. And I became more and more proud of her.
For me, it was a Christmas rush, preparing Masses and liturgies for one feast after another, in both languages, English and Zulu. It takes time, you know, to think things through and then to give a decent sermon or homily on such special days.
Again, before and after Christmas, we visited sometimes 3 or 4 families in one day. Then came the departure day. One of the families that had taken her in as if she was their daughter, Logan and Rajes Govender (and their son) took us all to the airport in a bigger car than I have. We got there in plenty of time and had a cup of coffee and some time to chat.We waited, purposely, up till into boarding time so that we wouldn’t have to look each other in the eye and start you know what. We said our goodbyes quickly before tears could come and then she was off and out of sight. Then we were left to our own emptiness. That was the 29th of December.
She had tried to put in some sim cards that would work in the States and even here but there was no communication for a long time, except for one quick notice (I don’t know how she sent it, maybe borrowed someone’s phone) that she had been very rudely served a document that said that she was an “undesirable person” (persona non grata) and would not be allowed to return to south Africa for five years. They asked her to sign this document, which she didn’t understand, so she asked them what she was signing and that’s what they told her. They also said that she could appeal, period. Damn!!! But then , silence. Eventually we connected again and she had drafted a letter to somewhere appealing this decision. She sent it off by email to some address but never got an answer back as to whether it was received or not. So we are trying to follow up on that now.
In the meantime, I have been back where I started in 1967, at St. Mary’s hospital for Mass every morning and visiting the sick there. I was asked by the chaplain to take his place while he went on home leave and for a retreat till 27th January. Then I discovered that he won’t be back. He has been assigned to another parish far away from here. I suspect that they are thinking that I will just slide in and take over the responsibility of doing the job there but I won’t. I have too many other irons in the fire and don’t really want to be confined to just that job. Am I selfish? Perhaps, but I don’t want to have the responsibility of being the full time chaplain there, although I love the work. As I said, I have too many other irons in the fire.
It has been brutally hot here in the Durban area, 35C not uncommon, and up to 28C in the house the whole night. That is in the 90’s, at least, in Farenheit. Very uncomfortable. And we are also suffering a drought and there are some towns and villages that have to have water trucked in. I can’t imagine a city then size of Durban, with the townships and suburbs, running out of water. It would be an ubelieveable catastrophe.
Well, I am now concentrating on getting my home leave trip organized properly as I don’t want to miss anyone. I will be checking on addresses and phone numbers, hoping that most of them are the same as last time but having the new ones ready to go.
Love to you all. 2016 will be another year of great adventure. So many not problems but challenges---the middle East, Africa, gun control, climate change and the whole ecological earth system, etc. etc. etc. Wow!
We’d better not lose contact with the creator because we will need a lot of enlightenment to deal with all these challenges. But, as Obama’s slogan said, Yes we can. We just have to make up our moral and political minds and put our noses to the grindstone and do it. Pope Francis has given us all a big push. Thank God for him.
Hey, I am going to leave you now. Stay well. Grow in the Spirit. Love and Peace, Cas.