Zimbabwe August 2010 - Fr Nicolas’s Journal
an excellent breakfast with the few boarders from
took me back to Rosettenville where I met up with Fr Thabo and Fr
That afternoon I went to friends for supper and to stay the night. They are RCs and Opus Dei; Mark is very seriously ill with a lung condition but we had a great evening and much excellent wine.
Sr Heather Francis and Edna Moore for the flight up to
picked up my car from the mechanic who had serviced it. Maintaining cars in
drove out to Shearly Cripps. The weather has been pretty cold since we arrived
but the drive was lovely, except that you see empty fields all the way - the
government's land reform programme has meant that almost everything now has to
be imported! At Shearly Cripps we met with the CBLM sisters and I could give
them the happy news that we have the money for them to start building their new
convent in Juru township. I said mass for them and then picked up the headmaster
of St Jude's school and set off back to
Phillip Mutasa and went with him to see Bishop
That evening I went round to Julius Makoni's for a chat. This turned into a typical Julius evening - three bankers turned up - Francis, James and Jonathan (the latter from England) and we drank lots of whiskey, ate a large meal, drank some lovely wine, talked about banking, investments, church politics and Julius's episcopal experiences.
Taken up with a long chat with Phillip Mutasa, a visit to Tariro House to meet the housemother and admire the chickens, 200 of which are near to slaughter and then on the airport to meet Carl and Ben off the Ethiopian flight, which was late. Carl and Ben stayed with Rob and Glynis, who have three sons, now away from home so they seemed rather to enjoy having the three of us to spoil in their place.
We went out to Shearly Cripps, to celebrate mass, dish out a lot of rosaries (I preached on Our Lady) pick up the ladies who had had a good time, despite cold, and long power cuts.
We set off with the full party - Heather Francis, Edna, Carl, Ben and I for Mutare where we met with Luke Chigwanda (now Diocesan Secretary) and the splendid bursar, Cecilia Chinguo. We heard some dramas - how Luke and another priest were attacked by police saying mass at St Anne's Goto and were arrested. They managed to escape police cells by paying a spot fine. Much trouble also at Bonda where the church is now locked against both factions of the Anglican church.
we drove up to
retrospect this was the only day in my stay in
After mass (it is only when I am there the sisters get mass) Carl, Ben and I set off to Chipinge, about 2 hours south of Mutare. There we met a young priest, Fr Paul Mudowaya who is the only priest south of Mutare and very young and inadequately trained. Carl wanted us to start a Tariro group in his parish, so we went for a long walk round Chipinge (Derek was rector there 25 years ago) meeting some of the leading parishioners.
mass in the church and seeing off ten MU members to the MU gathering in Mutare
(see below!) the four of us set off for the Lower Save to see the
Anglican congregation in Tongogara Refugee camp. This is in hot, low lying
territory and feels as if it is the back end of nowhere. We found a camp of
about 4,000 refugees from DRC,
mattins and mass, Ben and I left Carl (who later talked with the church council
and started another group of Tariro orphans) and set off first to Chimanimani
where we took tea with Lord and Lady Plunkett (sounds posh but they are friends
of Anselm and now very elderly). We also met nice Guy Carey, then drove on to
Mutare to the Diocesan office to meet Bishop Julius who updated us on the
diocese. He had just come from the MU gathering of 4,000 in the showgrounds and
it was expected to go up to 6,000 by the Sunday. Then Ben and I drove on to
lunch the four of us left
took Ben to St Francis Waterfalls for his placement with Fr Paul Gwese. There we
had mass with about 400 people in a school hall. They are shortly going to move
out to a tent on a patch of ground where they intend to build a new church while
they wait to regain access to their old! Paul gave us an excellent breakfast,
then Edna and I went to the neighbouring parish of Hatfield where I met Justin
Matyatya. I have promised to find the money for him to have surgery on his arm.
From there we went to the airport to meet two more people from
Paddington Zorwadza in his nice big Jeep, Lola, Des and I set off for Masvingo and arrived in late afternoon. Des met us and was impressed by the administrative staff the Bishop has created.
We set off to look at schools in the Sherugwi area – visiting four of these over dreadful roads. Each school was incredibly moving though, as we found they have about 60% orphans. Less than half the children pay their fees. Schools are short of water, books, staff housing, classrooms – pretty well everything you need to make a school work. The headmasters we met all seemed competent and well motivated, struggling with really inadequate resources. We agreed we couldn't meet all their needs but if we can at least enable the majority of children to pay their school fees that would make a big difference. Des is also determined to raise money to put in a borehole in the most needy of the schools.
the morning we set off to see the Secondary School and Youth Training centre at
Chidzikwe. The secondary school was a council school but has been taken over by
the Diocese and that has enabled them to improve their facilities, though much
is still lacking. The diocese has taken
over about 12 former council schools, as local councils just haven't been able
to cope. The Training centre opened this year and has produced over 100 pigs
(starting from eight), a thousand chickens and a magnificent vegetable garden.
They are training 60 young people free of charge. That afternoon we returned to
early on this morning Heather Frances, Sr Anna Marie and I set off back to
I took a quiet day for about 13 people, mostly of fairly evangelical Anglican persuasion.
Being rather under the weather I simply said a mass for Jenny and Edna, who were both not well; then drove in to town to meet Justin Matyatya; from there went to airport to see off Lola and Des, then picked up Ben from Waterfalls four 2 days R&R.
I took Ben to Gaul House where we met some seminarians. When I went on to Waterfalls to pick up Fr Justin Matyatya and take him to a doctor for a consultation (result of that is that I must find $3,500 for him to have more surgery.) That evening Sr HF and I went out to meet some former Bonda pupils.
I tried to make this a day off but had to see one of the Saturday retreatants for a long talk. I also moved my billet to Gillian Girdlestone's.
Spent most of the day with 40 Diocesan clergy teaching about confession, priestly formation and the rosary. That was good and very moving to meet some of the really splendid clergy in the diocese. Then visited Tariro House to find them in the midst of a rather bloody slaughtering and dressing of 200 chickens.
Went out to Shearly Cripps to meet the Bishop and see the sisters. The Bishop and I met with the priest and chairman of governors to agree on setting up a clinic which will serve the children primarily but also the local community. This probably means we need to find another £10,000. Then I took some of the sisters to Juru township so we could admire the newly dug foundations of their new convent. Then back into town for a quick lunch with Jenny and then drove to the Diocesan office to meet the Diocesan Secretary to check on payment and supervision of the Sister's convent project.
spent most of the morning at Tariro House, celebrating a requiem mass for the
children's parents. This was the culmination of some weeks' work on grief etc.
Then rushed to
Having offered to say mass and preach for Christchurch Borrowdale, I found myself booked to do two masses. The first was in English at a school chapel. The second in Shona at another school hall. In fact we had that outside as the keys had got mislaid. It was fun, but had to be conducted faster than the Shona people are accustomed to as I had to get back, change and get to the airport.
night and the next day I spent with my niece and family in