Monday, December 6, 2010

A New Priest and a little Relaxation

Monday 6th December

Unusually I have decided to write this in the morning. I tend to feel guilty when I do something that doesn't feel like work, during working hours. However, I believe that what I am doing here should go a lot further than producing systems, writing project reports etc. I believe one of my major roles is to try to bridge the gap between life here and back in the UK. The blog is a part of that process. In any case, I need a break from the PIZZ accounts database. Working on the database at the moment is an act of faith, because, as it stands, it is not clear that it will be accessible enough to be used here – my problems with the Windows system are still present.

Yesterday I attended mass at Our Lady of the Wayside church. Fr. Maambo, the former Priest in Charge, moved to another church just before I came out in November. At the mass Fr. Raphael was introduced. He will take over in charge of the church and I hope to have an opportunity to talk to him about the growing partnership with St. Gregory's church in Cheltenham before I leave.
The day started overcast and the sun was almost entirely absent throughout the day – something rare in my experience. However, there was no significant rain. In view of the weather I was told it was unlikely that St. Veronica's Small Christian Community would meet. Most families in the community have very small houses that wouldn't contain the group that gathers. We therefore meet outside, under a little shade if possible. However, there is no shelter from the rain.

I therefore had more free time than I had expected. I used the opportunity to do a bit of housework while listening to the music stored on my laptop. I also picked up a copy of the Post – an independent national newspaper – and caught up with local, and international, events.

I have had difficulty in locating a couple of computer applications. Solitaire seems to be the most played computer game worldwide but, of the ones usually on offer with Microsoft, I prefer “Hearts”. After an extensive search I managed to locate it yesterday and indulged myself with a few games! I have finished the novels I brought out – so I was looking for another pastime when I have a chance to relax.

Today I had a couple of people asking me whether I had found support for their projects. It is always difficult when people ask me for support and I feel that I cannot help. Many people I don't know ask for small sums of money because they are hungry. It is difficult to say no, but there are so many hungry people just here in Monze. If I said yes to everyone who asked, I would give away a significant sum each day. Even if I could manage it , I suspect that the numbers would grow and I would set a precedent for other “white folks” who visit the town, causing further problems. However when people you know well ask for support, it is more difficult. A friend asked me a year or so back if I could find help for her to complete the building of her house. Although it is important that this work is completed I find it difficult to give too much priority to this among so many other requests.

The other enquiry was from Best. I think that today was the deadline for applying for a university course. I would love to be able to help him through university. A year or more back he suggested we fund a taxi for him to set up a business with his friend. He was confident that this would enable him to raise sufficient money to pay for his own fees. In practice I was able to find money for his course fees, but not the taxi. It probably would have cost only a little more for the taxi and his university course might now have been secure. He will now have to stop studying and try to earn a little money to keep himself. Maybe he will be able to return and complete his studies leading to a degree in Law in a year or two – I certainly hope so. Best has a bright future if he completes his studies, otherwise he will still have benefited from the support that he has received. He will probably be able to gain a junior legal position when he is awarded his diploma. (He his just completing his exams in the next few days.

During the night we had some more showers – with the associated sound and light show! As I write the sun is trying to break through. The morning has been cooler than of late, though not cool enough to tempt me to put on a jumper. Yes! I do know that you have been gripped by sub zero temperatures and probably don't want to know about me sitting in shirt sleeves with the window open, on what I consider a cool day!! So I won't mention it!

Schools and colleges are breaking up for a Christmas break. PIZZ school closed on Friday and will re-open in January. There has been a lot of activity outside and I suspect that the Homecraft training centre is also about to close for Christmas.

Last night I noticed that my friends Mary and Dominic were online on Skype so I gave them a call. It was a chance for me to test my system and to determine whether it would be feasible to set up a session between PIZZ school and Whitecross school in the UK. I was very pleased with the result, though the video was only one way – I didn't receive any picture at my end. ( I have now achieved one way video in both directions, on different – but I am confident that it will succeed.) I am currently trying to gauge the cost. Since my Internet connection is charged according to the amount of data transferred, I suspect a video link would be expensive to use regularly – but now and again, for special occasions, it could be worthwhile.


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