Follow This Blog

Friday, August 26, 2016

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.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Aug. 1, 2016
     I’m going to bed now but will be back tomorrow to clue you in on what has been going on….

Aug. 11, 2016,
     Where did the time go. I am in the last week here in the States and only have two more stops to go. I have left the vehicle that my niece organized for me with her daughter, the famous Katrina of St. Vincent’s Children’s home fame---volunteer for the whole year of 2015. She will take me, tomorrow, Friday, Aug. 12, to my brother in Greensboro, NC. (I am now in Aiken SC) (You should check the maps to see where I have been, and now, and where I am going.)
     I checked the mileage that I covered and it is just about 6000miles of driving (about 9600 Km.). Not bad. The highlights, of course, were mostly people, family, friends whom I haven’t seen for four years or more, just soaking them up, having, sometimes, deep and serious conversations and also fun time, like my uncle Cas and his wife Rose and I laughing at ourselves, us old people. What do old people talk about when they get together, Ha, “ Yeah, I had my other knee done last week” or “ I’ve been having trouble with my bowels lately”, or “ Can you come over to my other side ‘cause I can’t hear in the ear on that side”, etc. etc. etc.
      Sometimes I avoided politics because we were on different pages (or even planets), but for the most part, people seemed to be worried that Trump would actually make it to be president, as he doesn’t seem to have the qualities needed for a president. But, at the same time, the mistrust of Hilary was strong, although she has many of the skills and lots of knowledge that would normally qualify her for the job.
     I  got onto Google and got her biography and also got the biography of Trump. To me it was clear who was the most qualified, but I leave it up to you to judge for yourself. It’s quite a bit of reading but, for Americans, the vote, this time, is so important, I think it is worth the time to read and then decide.
     Aside from my beloved family and friends (I can’t begin to start naming names because they are all too precious and I would bore you for the next 15 chapters) so let me say that some of the other things that got my attention were: 1) trees---Holy Moses, after living in Transkei for the last 35 yrs., where trees are as scarce as hen’s teeth, I was deluged with trees all along the way. Super beautiful. But, there was a blight on some Blue Ash trees as bugs seemed to have gotten inside and were killing them (In Michigan alone, 7 million trees, they say, died, because of this blight. Wow.)  The Appalachian Mountains and the Smoky Mountains and the mountains in Vermont were exceptional. 2) the maize. In July and August I was in Maize country and I was green with envy to see the beautiful dark green maize more than 2 metres high, getting ready for harvesting. I remember our drought year when, if there was any maize at all, it wasn’t more (in most parts) higher than a metre, if that much. Also fields and fields and fields of soya beans, I think enough to feed half the world. Wow. The Americans are really blessed with a fantastic country. 3) Drought…. Also here, especially in California, the many fires tell the story… the earth is so dry that it doesn’t take much to start a fire, which will grow and grow and grow because there is so much tinder. I took some pictures just outside of Los Angeles. It could have been Transkei. You would hardly know the difference---dry and brown, as in winter.  4) As I drove down Hwy US23 in Southern Ohio and Southeastern Kentucky and the Hwy 80 there I saw stunningly awesome mountains and cliffs and what all to knock your eyes out. I was driving and had a deadline so I wasn’t able to take pictures but I guess I will try to see if Google has something, pictures, and send them off. Wow. Bringing a connection with nature and the creator, super beautiful.  5) Just about everyone is involved in some way if trying to respond to the needs of the most disadvantaged in one way or another or trying to make a better, more aware and responsive society to the many needs that often go unrecognized or neglected. I am proud of them all. This is my family. These are my friends. I am also blessed to be connected with such beautiful people. 6) I have been touched by the deep love and concern for the ailing partners of my cousins and aunts and uncles. Lots of serious health problems that demand 24/7 tough and gently love and concern. I was deeply moved and impressed by their love and care for one another.
     What I say here about the States is also true of my friends  in the U.K. who were first on my list for visiting. Yes, I am richly blessed.
     And now, the last few days here, I am with my beloved Katrina again, and her mom and Dave and Ann, her parents. Soon I will be with my brother John, and his wife, Donna, who have been more than super supportive during this whole time.
      I think that this is enough for now. I will try once more before I leave next Sunday to collect a few more thoughts together. I was telling our people here that they have Trump and we have Zuma, so there are challenges all around.  Love and Peace, Cas.

PS. Fr. Guy’s checkup was delayed because the machine wasn’t working but we will hear from him next week. So far, he is holding his own. He should have been dead last May, 2015, but here he still is. Call it the power of prayer, as he explains to the doctors who are baffled by his condition. He should be dead, but….. Thanks to you all for you prayers for him.