DIARY FROM ZIMBABWE April 2016
Frances Sibert writes:
(This article first appwared in the April 2016 issue of BE Alive without the photos)
Such a lot has happened in the last weeks. Fr Caspar looks after the area of Chiweshe which is about 120 km away but still in the Diocese of Harare. He looks after 15 prayer centres and one Secondary School. Each day Fr Caspar drives to the area. However, when petrol was expensive he had to rely on pastoral helpers during the week. On Sundays, he and Fr Francis each say Mass in a different centre, taking a month to get around and their cars are the mobile office/sacristy. However, this will change (he said that in 2014).
We set off for our visit. It was a beautiful drive and we talked all the way. The school facilities were worse than the last time I visited and that was bad. The number of teachers in the school has been reduced. There were 48 pupils in each class, so three pupils sat at a desk meant for two. I gave the Maths teacher some protractors and rulers. He said they hadn’t taught angles for some time because they had no equipment. The head also told me that some pupils had sat their ‘O’ Level Maths (yes it is ‘O’ Levels here) without a calculator, hence, they failed. What about the Maths lessons leading up to the exams? I could not bring myself to ask.
The staffroom was not very big. It had four computers and no printer. We were just leaving as a class of pupils asked to come in. I was told it was their computer lesson and these were the only computers in the school.
We set off on our return journey but Fr Caspar only went a short distance then stopped the car. I thought we were going to look at the spectacular view. No, there behind some trees was a small round house under construction. It was the new house/presbytery! This cheered me up but for most of the way home, I could not speak. I was so upset by the conditions I had seen.
On Saturday mornings, the 15/16 year old parish youth have been making rosary bracelets. Unfortunately I have no more beads left (next time more beads)!
Five new postulants have joined the congregation and have started their studies on site. For a short period they have extra sessions in English which has included the completion of their application for Theology College. Five perfect applications have now been submitted and lessons continue till 4th April....
The Way of The Cross at 5 am? Yes, it continues. However, the biggest challenge is getting dressed when there is no electricity, which is most mornings. On all the official documents for ‘The Mavambo Trust’ the footer is ‘Together we can make a difference!’ This has had me thinking. Yes, stand by for the next project.
I would like to say a big thank you for all the support and prayers that have helped me over the three months. Also, thanks to the Cullen family - ‘they made a difference’.
Watch this space for the project ‘Together we can make a difference!’
P.S. My return with the lovely Windows 10 touch-screen laptop? No chance! Some things you can only do once….. plus there are five who have a greater need here! Frances