Aug. 25, 2016
Katrina has more or less inherited the car I was using and is very happy to have some wheels again. I know the feeling very well. She drove me to Greensboro, NC. From Aiken, SC. And we stayed together at John and Donna’s house.
I forgot to mention that my niece, Ann, the doctor, organized for me to have a massage. Ha. I had one back in Los Angeles. Almost killed me. I came out black and blue and bruised. Like after getting in the ring with Muhamed Ali. But this time, there wasn’t that hammering and pounding and digging, but something to make the muscles relax. A good experience. The Masseuse was from the UK and suggested a place to grab a lunch when I got to London (I had a lay over from 10 in the morning till 7 at night). But back to John and Donna and Katrina. We did some stuff at the bank, transferring most of the money I received into John’s account which he then transferred into the Mariannhill Mission Institute a/c for Fr. Szura to put in the socio-pastoral a/c to be used when things crop up. We ate out a bit and went to church where I forgot to take my sweater (jersey) and froze, although the atmosphere was warm.It was the old folks’ mass so communion was brought to the back for those that had trouble moving with ease. Nicely thoughtful.
On Sunday, the 14th, I think, I left for London on a night flight. My friend Lou Smith Jr. came from his job as baggage handler there at Charlotte to have a chat and a goodbye hug. His schedule had changed and we couldn’t meet at his home as we had planned. Arrived in London Monday morning, the 15th and was met by my friends, Boykie and Pat. We took the advice of the masseuse, Louise, and found the place, Cote Brasserie in Windsor on the Thames river and had a marvelous lunch in the shadow, more or less, or Windsor Castle, and looking down at the swans and geese swimming in the Thames at our feet. Very nice. Old London. They took me back to Heathrow and, after a long wait, I climbed on the plane for Joburg that night, a huge monster, A380-800. I was seated in seat 77e. Two floors. Lots of people. Not an aisle seat, but good company, sitting next to an obstetrician whose mother still stays in Durban, though he has lived in UK for many years now.
Arrived in Joburg on Tuesday, Aug, 16th, met by a family I knew from both Zambia and Zimbabwe, spent the night with them, left my big suitcase with them, and caught the plane for Lusaka on Wed. Morning, Aug. 17th. The Kalidas clan is a very special clan and I always enjoy being with them, and each time I get there, usually after a long break, I meet members of the new generation, which delights me but I have trouble remembering all the names. Thursday we visited my young confreres at Engelmar House (now beatified. He gave his life to save others in Dachau ) in Makeni. We couldn’t find the CPS sisters. Lots of things have changed there, including tar roads in the townships. They say, partly election ploys. Had a talk with the young students and then had lunch with Fr. Gaspar, a French Canadian, who has been there long now and is feeling that it is time to go back home. Friday went to the big church, St. Ignatius, in Lusaka, to get vestments and hosts for the baptisms to be done on Saturday. Saturday, the big day. Two beautiful baptisms (Savella Antoinette and Amber Katherine), children of the children whom I had baptized years before. There were lots of preparations, as you can imagine, including a tent to hold about 80 people or so. After the Mass and baptism and blessing of crosses for the baptized and wedding rings for one of the couples, there was a celebration that went long into the night. A great time was had by all. That was Saturday. Sunday, a friend, Eddie, and I went to the 7:30 Mass at ST. Bonaventure, the seminary for the Franciscans, nearby. With probably close to 100 seminarians, the music was great, in many languages, and the spirit was uplifting. We spent the day together recuperating from the celebration the day before. Stuffed with toooo much food. In the afternoon, I got a lift from another of the Kalidas clan, James and his wife, and went with them to Kabwe, where I was parish priest form ’72 to ’77. Monday we had a look around Kabwe, did a bit of shopping and picked up some Kapenta (tiny dried fish, a staple for Zambians) to bring back for sentimental reasons to another Zambian friend in Mthatha. She will be delighted. Tuesday I hitched a lift back to Lusaka and Wednesday, Aug. 24th, climbed on a plane for Joburg again. Staying, once more with the Bismarcks , old friends from Zimbabwe and Zambia---Margaret Bismarck is a Kalidas by birth and has been surviving on borrowed kidneys and dialysis since the late 70’s). Thursday I had a visit from Kabelo, my colleague at J&P the Bishops’ conference and Danisa, a former priest of Mariannhill who is heading for laicization and who is the very capable head of the Denis Hurley Peace Institute, a kind of spin off of the bishops’ conference. Today, Friday, is chill out day. That’s why I an writing this blog now. Tomorrow I will be fetched by a couple whom I married in Port Elizabeth some years back, but whom I knew in exile in Zambia and Zambia in the last century.
Well, that updates you till now. Enough. Soon I will be on the final plane journey from Joburg to Durban to get back to some sort of normality in my rather abnormal life. I am sure that the grass is patiently waiting for my return . Love and Peace, as always. Cas.