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29th February 2012

Greetings from Rusape!

It was a wonderful weekend of sport on TV. Ireland showed some skill in the second half against Italy in the Six Nations Rugby, having played a pedestrian first half at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. But the real surprise was the performance of a young inexperienced English team against Wales in the same competition. It was a manly physical game, which Wales won on the stroke of full time. I only saw recorded highlights of the Open Match Play Championship in Arizona early on Sunday morning. The young NI player, McIlroy, played some extraordinary shots on the desert course. I watched the opening two holes of the final on Sunday night but had to quit due to sleepy eyes at 9.30pm. McIlroy was unable to reproduce his form and missed out on becoming No 1 in the World rankings. At 22 he has many years ahead of him.

Weekend ministry took me to DZVAiro on Saturday morning. The locals had done repair work on the dirt road by digging large scraws of grass or rushes and placing them in the many potholes. This time last year the road was almost impassable due to the heavy rains. The small community of about twelve people are always so welcoming.

I try and get in an early walk on Sunday mornings and be showered before Morning Prayer at 6.30am. That left me time to watch the golf highlights and be on the road for Nembaware by 10.15. A round trip of 110km, 70km on bad dirt road , takes its toll on ones energy. However, there is a large congregation with a strong male presence, which makes it very worthwhile. Homilies on such weekends are longer than usual as one tries to explain the significance of Ash Wed. and say something about the Temptations of Jesus. I was back in Rusape at 3.00pm just in time to phone home and hear how life is on the farm in the mild but rainy weather.

Spring has arrived in Ireland and it is most welcome. A quick snack of lunch and I was ready to watch a cracker of a soccer game between Arsenal and Spurs. It tore up the form book with Arsenal winning 5-2. That was followed by Liverpool and Cardiff in the Carling Cup Final, which went to extra time,120 minutes in all, penalties and a shoot out. Liverpool won eventually. NO time to watch the Oscars and Meryl Streep portraying the Iron Lady , Margaret Thatcher!

Fr Desmond is busy with the Nyazura project, clearing the site and digging the foundations as well as getting water from the local dam. NO JCB on site. All manual labour. It is a learning curve for the indigenous brethren as they had no road improvements made before the arrival of the broken stone for the foundations. The heavy truck got stuck and it took two days to have it released. Casual labour is always available e.g. there are men waiting outside the local hardware store in Rusape to unload asbestos or cement. Six of them unloaded six hundred 50kg bags of cement here last week. At the store they are paid $8.00 each . Here, they were paid $12.00 each as they had to carry the bags from the road into the parish hall and stack them fifteen bags high. Imagine carrying 100 x 50kgs(about 1 cwt) for $12.00!!!!

On Monday a man from the local hospital or health department came to spray the house. The chemical is sprayed on the walls and windows of rooms , which are closed for two hours. It kills mosquitoes, cockroaches flies etc. Admittedly, it is a bit late in the rainy season to have it done but better late than never.

I have been following, with some interest, the correspondence re: Children’s Hospital at the Mater Hospital site.

Once again, it shows the darker side of politics. Imagine spending 650 to 750 million Euro on a building with no room for expansion, which will be inadequate in fifteen years time. I have copied the well reasoned article below from the Irish Times plus a note on property prices.

With two outings to Mutare towards the weekend, I decided not to go and play golf on Monday. A day at base was restful.

I will register for the concluding Mass of the Eucharistic Congress as an accredited priest through the Provincial Office. Even have accessed flights and prices for my travel home and return in September.

Love and best wishes.

NB A note on property: And, of course, a strong possibility is that prices might continue to fall. According to the Central Statistics Office, prices fell by 16.7 per cent in 2011 alone, and there are no signs of an improvement anytime soon. “This year will be very difficult again,” says McGarry-Murphy.