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18th September 2009

Greetings from hot Mutare!

The temperature is moving towards 30C. It will take some time for my body to adjust to the rising temperature. It is almost double the temperature in Ireland. The midday, early afternoon heat saps my energy. It even affects my breathing. There is a lot of dust in the air. It may take some time to get my sleeping pattern back.

I wore a sleeveless sweater at the 8.00am mass in Rusape on Sunday. By the end of Mass I was very warm.That maybe the last time I will wear a sweater until the cold season next May or June. We are now in the in-between period -end of cold dry season -temperature building up- until the rain and heat come in December. Rain before December is a sign that there will be low rainfall for the rest of the season, which is not good for the crops. Good rains and heat bring the world of nature alive. Everyplace is scorched. At present, there is excessive burning of bush and grassland, which damages the eco system or bio diversity.

My first weekend went off well. I enjoyed the celebration of Eucharist on Sunday. The presence of the Lord is a recurring theme in Celtic and Carmelite spirituality.The gospel from Mark: Who do people say I am? is one I like and on which I have reflected and preached many times. Not having an outstation, I was able to travel to Mutare in mid afternoon. The trip was leisurely with the comfort of air conditioning in the truck.

On Monday morning I went to Zol to have my email and internet connected. While the phones are working in Rusape, most of the time, it is almost impossible to link up with the service provider. The system is probably overloaded.

Monday was golf day. The midday and early afternoon heat is almost overpowering but it is still good to get out. My former caddy now works in an Indian shop. I will have to wait and see what his replacement is like. Hillside Golf Course is in good condition, It costs a senior $3.00US to play and $4,00US to the caddy. I was happy with my drives off the tee but the rest of the game left a lot to be desired.

On Wednesday pm I took the 83 year old cook,Canisius, out to his farm about 25km. On the way he told me that two of his cattle, which he had trained for ploughing, had been stolen last June. They were three to four years old. That would be a huge loss for any African family. Stealing is rampant.

Local TV and media is still dominated by ZANU PF propaganda. The US did not grant a visa to the representative for a meeting at the UN. The TV news referred to the US as the Godfather. Mining interests, including foreigners, were invited to a meeting with Government regarding future development.They were given an undertaking that the mines would not be nationalised. However, seeing what happened to the commercial farms, one would need a lot of trust to invest in anything here. A booklet on farming was published this week entitled: ………….. A bit late after the destructive policy of the past ten years.

After a week here, I am trying to get into shape. Rising before 6.00am, have a cup of tea, I do thirty five minutes walk on the grounds of the church, followed by a shower and some personal prayer, usually on the readings of the day. We have community morning prayer at 7.15 followed by Eucharist. A good start to the day. After Evening Prayer of the Church I do a further twenty minutes brisk walk. Hopefully, this with a little dieting, will reduce the weight I gained over the past fifteen months.

It is good to be back.

Love and best wishes.