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20th January 2010

Greetings! Ireland and England have had the worst snow and frost in years. I made three trips to Mutare Hospital before Ambrose was ready to travel home. Fr Desmond had him at the hospital at 7.45am on Tuesday,12th. It was 12.30 before he saw the surgeon. By then the nurses were on lunch break until 2.00pm. I called at 12.30;1.45 and finally at 3.15. Things move slowly in this country. The stitches were out. The good news was that he was feeling much better. The cook at the Priory had made up lunches for Ambrose and his son. On leaving the hospital and reaching the tar road, I asked Ambrose to say a prayer. As I sped along the steep and winding Christmas Pass, he prayed in thanksgiving for all who had helped him.He was very grateful. All that remained was that he would get the results of the biopsy, which had been sent to the lab. on Dec 23rd. The results were on the way from Bulawayo. He was back home by 4.45pm. I had a funeral service on Wed at the Crematorium. An old European had died at the local nursing home. He had no family here. His former white friends looked after his funeral arrangements.The crematorium is a simple structure. An open shed with a plinth for the coffin. As I did not have a ritual in English, I had to do a little improvisation. About a dozen people gathered. After the service, the coffin is placed on an iron trolley, with three tiers of timber, which is pushed into an enclosed space with a chimney and set on fire. The ashes would be ready for collection on Saturday. I did not wait for the final part, lighting the fire. Instead of having class with the prenovices on Wednesday, I went to Kriste Mambo on Thursday. It was my first class with them after their break of a month at home. The post brought some belated Christmas mail. Zol staff were on retraining courses on Friday and Saturday. The service was poor. Five of the six/seven year old children from the local orphanage moved on to Mt. Mellary Mission Station a week ago.It will be a big change for them.They came from the orphanage, a block away, to say thanks. There is a large boarding school at the Mission.They will go into first class in the Primary School.They were either abandoned or their parents and grandparents had died of AIDS. A new group will take their places in the near future. Still no rain even though the sky has been murky on a few occasions. The temperature increases. The dark clouds roll around. There is the odd clap of thunder and yet no rain. Haiti earthquake is dominating the world news.What a tragedy for the people! Our shortage of rain is minuscule in comparison. You will be glad to see the end of the snow and frost. Having confirmed by phone that the results of Ambrose’s biopsy had come to the clinic in Mutare, I went there on Monday morning, only to find that they had been sent to Rusape Clinic. I dropped in, on my way to St. Simon’s, to collect them.Thank God, he got the all clear. No malignancy. Love and best wishes.