Zimbabwe has been in the news regularly in the last number of years for all the wrong reasons. Since 2000,
- life expectancy rates have fallen,
- infant and under-5 mortality rates have increased,
- the prevalence of of HIV in the population is about 20%,
- 36% of the population live in absolute poverty (less than a US$1 a day),
- national income growth is negative,
- the percentage inflation rate is measured in thousands.
There is serious concern about human rights under the current ZAN-PF regime, and the forthcoming elections in March will be a test of democracy. The Human Rights Watch organisation highlighted these issues in its World Report 2008. Click here for pdf report.
The BBC provides an excellent profile of the country and a timeline of key events. Click here
In light of all this it is difficult for us to imagine how life could have any semblance of normality. Yet Fr Paul Horan, O Carm, who serves in St Killian’s Mission, (also in eastern Zimbabwe) wrote in 2006: “Despite such hardship on a daily basis people are generally very joyful and positive about life. Suicide is a rare event, certainly in our area. Our liturgies are truly uplifting with plenty of singing, even at daily masses, dancing, drumming, and processions.” (Knocklyon News June 2006.
In late 2007, Fr Paul accepted a donation from St Colmcille’s Parish for the St Simon Stock community. The money will go towards essential repair and maintenance work including the roofing of a church. The parish is run by Carmelite friars: Fr Desmond Bvirakare, PP and Fr Robert (Bob) Kelly, CC. Fr Ned Ward moved from the Regina Coeli mission to St Simon Stock but in now home in Ireland.