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14th February 2010

Greetings!

After a week, our phone was reconnected on Thursday 4th. A technical fault according to the phone people. It is just so frustrating to be out of touch, either by email or Internet. At least the TV news from SKY and BBC kept us abreast of the developments in NI. Thank God, justice and policing are now in the hands of the local politicians. Hard to believe that it took almost eleven years to agree on such a basic part of governing.The die hards are slow to let go of their privileged positions.

We expected to have a funeral on Thursday p.m. The woman was from an outstation. Local custom dictates that the body can only be in the house for one night. Otherwise, the family have to pay money to “the head man.” Unfortunately, when the body was taken to Rusape Hospital on Wed. p.m. there was no refrigeration in the morgue. The body had to be taken 80km to Marondera. It was late when they arrived on Thursday evening. It was agreed that we would do the funeral Mass on Friday at 10.30am and that someone would meet us on the dirt road. The burial has to take place before noon . Otherwise they have to wait until the mid afternoon. While I celebrated Eucharist under the tarpaulin, nearby,15meters away, four women vigorously stirred the sadza in a forty gallon barrel. There was great activity preparing the meal.

They were waiting when I arrived. We drove deep into the bush on very uneven terrain. I have never been so far away from even a dirt road. There was a gathering of about 200 people. Everything was ready, including a tarpaulin to protect padre from the sun. The cloth covering on the table was a zambyia with quotations in French from St. Luke’s Gospel about death and resurrection.A good start for the homily. I forgot to ask where they got the zambyia. A zambyia, a wrap around, is worn by women when they are seated on the ground. Sitting on the ground is the usual posture as they do not have chairs in their houses.

I had a good weekend with a memorial Mass on Saturday in Vengere township or settlement area, and at St.Andrew’s outstation on Sunday. We got a lot of mangos in the offertory processions:some for the orphanage, the convent and ourselves. I took the surplus ones to the Priory, Mutare. I was able to watch the play off of the Dubai Open on Sunday p.m., between Westwood and Jiminez, before leaving for Mutare.Ireland deserved their victory over Italy in the Six Nations Rugby in Croke Park, but they will need to step up the pace against the French in Paris on Saturday.

I had a pleasant game of golf on Monday with good scores on the first nine.

After class in Kriste Mambo on Wed. I went to Nyanga, about 60km from Kriste Mambo, to visit a couple in their 80′s.Years ago,they farmed extensively in the Sabi Valley. The husband was an accountant while the wife was a nurse.They were evicted from the farm by the War Vets. Later they had a fuel filling station and general store in Juliasdale, which they were forced to sell at a knock down price to a ZANU PF supporter some years ago. Like many other elderly whites, they are supported by their son who lives and works in Mozambique. He had to flee the country some years ago as he was body guard to TSvangarai, the leader of the Opposition.

With love and best wishes.