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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October 25, 2016

Would you believe a whole month has gone by since I last caught you up on what is happening on this side of the world. Wow! Time really does fly. Let me try to summarize what has been going on.
    As a matter of fact, I was advised to give it a try so I drove back to Mariannhill, keeping my fingers crossed. All went well. On Tuesday, when I went to the tire place where we usually go, the place that ripped me off last time, in an apologetic mood, he gave me a spare wheel with tire for my Hyundai. Someone had had mags put on his car and this wheel was left over. My good luck. Then I went and bought a jack and some oil and another container of power steering fluid. When I was astonished that it was only R39 and something I asked about it and realized that I had been taken for a ride in Mthatha where I paid R130 for the same thing. Is there an honest person on earth???
    Then, when I went to a friend who is an IT person and a cell phone fundi, to have him check out all the things that are on this phone and to transfer the old numbers to this phone, he did that but also noticed that the leak was not power steering fluid but motor oil. The filter had worked its way loose and was a few threads from coming off (that would have been a disaster). Where it is located, it can’t be seen at all. Well, he tightened it up and all was well again. Then I went to Pinetown Locksmith, and, after a few days thinking it over, when the locks didn’t work any more, I had him fix the door locks. It cost R600 (about $55) but it had to be done as the thieves had damaged the door locks. Now, all problems had been solved, nicely. A bit expensive, but the main thing, the spare wheel was in its proper place again.
    I had helped one of the ladies who works at the Retreat house with some money to by windows for the house she is trying to build bit by bit. I deposited in the account of the store where she bought it, Abdul is the proprietor. I had to go three times to our bank and twice to his bank because, after a month, it still didn’t show up in his account. The banks, of course, blamed each other. In the meantime, in order to get her windows out, I paid cash, and delivered them to her myself (a little car but amazing how much it can hold). Then, later, when the amount showed up in Abdul’s account ( a good and proper Muslim), he returned the cash. It was very frustrating, going back and forth to the banks, but it turned out OK in the end. It really tried my patience, and put a dent in my petrol budget.
    Of course we have been watching the ghastly, ugly, acrimonious presidential events in the States. It may be a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils, but the one evil is bad and the other is really, really bad, which helps one to make a decision. I am ashamed at some of our bishops who have a one issue mind and almost force Catholics, as they see it, to vote with regard to that one issue, and don’t consider the whole picture. Someone once said, probably in one of my classes, Politics is the art of the possible. You will never get a perfect system but you take what you can get and work on the rest. People here are depressingly amused by the circus that these events have turned out to be. Shameful. What has become of our country!!!
     The guy who was given permission to put up a tent in the spot where we had received permission to hold our Sunday services, (it is municipal property intended for building a municipal hall for general use for people of ward 17. We are using what is a club house for sports during the week.) But now he has built not only a permanent building but has installed steel girders to put up a second floor. He has long done away with his tent. It is totally illegal, but he must be paying off someone, who, after being given a handout, turns his eye the other way. Corruption is rife. I took Mr. Pillay with me to see someone whom we hope can put a wrench in their works. The community will suffer by his selfishness and the greed of those counselors who took his money.
But with things as they are, I wouldn’t be surprised if we lost the case, because of some more greased palms.
     I had a mass for the Matrics (seniors—grade 12’s) at Holy Family School. I enjoy being with youngsters. However, one of the unsavory outcomes was that one of those seniors stole the cell phone of their class teacher. Happy  graduation. Bring your values into the next phase of your life. Maybe he will have a chance  to experience life behind bars one day.
     On the 22nd, I gave a workshop on Laudato Si, mi signore (Praise to you , my Lord), St. Francis’ words, who loved nature. I had to do lot and lots of preparation, as it is about Climate Change and Global warming and the bad effects in has on the poor of the world, who bear the brunt of the negative effects of these things, even though it is the developed nations who are the biggest culprits.  What are Green house Gases; what is Ecology; What is an ecosystem; what is the biosphere;  How is Methane gas produced; What are HFC’s and CFC’s and why are they bad for the environment; deforestation, water pollution, air pollution,  pesticides, herbicies, artificial fertilizers, GMO’s, acidification of the oceans, loss of biodiversity and why this is so important; throw away culture; The market forces will take care of everything; technology and its role in these things; etc. etc. etc.  Thank goodness for Google. It took most of 4 hours to make the presentation, including a Power Point program that I borrowed from a friend who made this presentation at St. Meinrad when I was on my home leave. (St. Meinrad is my alma mater in Southern Indiana). The aim was three fold: 1) help people to understand what these things are. 2) to motivate them to take this seriously. If, really, the temperature continues to rise and goes above the 2C threshold, and continues on to 3C or 4C, it will be irreversible, and it will be too late to prevent further damage to our ecosystem. 3) Action (education, re-connection with mother earth through gardening, or other ways, teaching the children to respect and work with, not against, mother nature, and getting involved in local, regional, national organizations that are trying to slow down the global warming in big and little ways.) I was exhausted. I doubt if people will still take this seriously. Here, water is at a premium in KZN, our province. Some small towns and villages have no water at all and it has to be trucked in. Where the water comes from, I haven’t a clue.
     On Saturday evening I had supper with a friend that I had known from her school days back in the late sixties. She has been working at the American Consulate for many years now. She is the one who organized an absentee ballot for me, which went off by diplomatic post the same day and was in the States the next day. She also invited me to a gathering of some of the Americans in the neighborhood as one of the hotels in town on the morning of the 9th  of Nov. here to watch the election results. It should be interesting.
    After Mass at Savannah Park on Sunday the 23rd, I drove to Mthatha (about 450 km.—285 miles) to make my annual retreat with the other members of the province.
     I had taken a new printer for Nothemba, who works at the parish house in Landsend, that has a photocopy function. It costs a villager R33 to get a photocopy of something, just a page. R16 taxi to town, R1 for photocopy, R16 taxi back to village. She can provide a service for the people and make a bit of a living for herself. I tried to help her set up he printing part, but failed. So I took it to one of Fr. Guys’s guys and they are working on it.

     I am now cheating on my retreat. I should be praying of meditating but… If  I let this go, I will go another month and I can’t do that. Pray for me. Cas.