Easter Sunday 20th April
Yesterday morning I met Diven and Teddy. They had looked at a couple of plots which might be suitable for building a small shop and adjoining house. Diven has for a long time dreamed of having his own property. Difficulties where he currently stays have crystallised the idea and he is keen to move on. He has a small amount to invest – currently in the form of sugar! I will make my own contribution. I am finding that money is regularly held in other forms here in Zambia. Jennipher has her assets in the form of animals – chickens, goats and pigs.- even a turkey.
Mr Meheritona spotted me and came over to talk about using an HHI flat during my stay, so I agreed to have a look. It would seem to satisfy my needs being self-contained. My only reservations are that there is some use of the sitting room by the HHI staff – and it isn't absolutely clear how much. It is also situated at the back of some offices which need to be passed by me and any guests coming in and out.
Raymond has also told me he has found a 4 bedroomed house for me!! It is of course far bigger than I need, but there are a number of volunteers – possibly seven at the end of July coming to Monze from the UK. It might prove ideal, if it is available to the end of August. I will look at it on Tuesday and make my decision.
I caught up on my mail and dealt with some of it.
When I was last here during Holy Week I was disappointed when I realised that I had no candle to light during the service. In the UK candles are provided at the churches, so it didn't occur to me to bring my own. This year I was determined that I wouldn't be candleless! I walked to 'My Prayer Shop' – quite appropriate in the cicumstances!! In fact My Prayer Shop is what we would generally call and ironmongers and general store. The guy asked me how many candles I wanted (I was tempted to ask for “four candles or was it fork handles!” remembering the Two Ronnies sketch, but resisted!). He showed me a packet with 5 candles so I decided to have two packets i.e. 10 candles. He gave me that packet and another with 6 candles and repeated 5 plus 6 equals 10 with a smile. I assume it is in the tradition of giving a bonus. This often happens in the market they will add an onion or tomato to your bag as a free gift.
I decided to wander across to the railway station and stroll along the lanes where there is a bit of countryside. I emerged by the Golf Course which is in the Fairview area where the prospective house is situated. It was good to enjoy the fresh air. The weather has been very pleasant since I arrived with quite a lot of cloud cover – but still more sun than we are used to in the UK. Temperatures during the day are probably low to mid twenties.
I spoke to Dilys on Skype, which is working well this year.
The Easter Vigil Mass started at a little after 20 hrs. The bishop is recurperating from a fractured hip and was unable to attend, so Fr. Kenan presided. During Holy Week there had been no instruments used during the services. It is lovely to hear the powerful voices singing effortlessly in harmony, but with the ringing of the bell at the Gloria, during the vigil mass, the Lenten tone was transformed into the joy of Easter and the instuments – especially the drums encouraged the congregation to stand up and dance to the vibrant rhythmns.
Teddy asked me to join him for the service which was a pleasure. He also helped me by distributing my spare candles to those who had none.
During the service there were a large number of baptisms and three new parishioners were confirmed.
It wasn't quite midnight when I carried my lighted candle the very short journey back across the grounds to the parish house.
On Sunday morning it was time to join with the congregation at Our Lady of the Wayside to again celebrate Easter.On the way I passed some ladies carrying bundles of grass, which i assume will be used to re-thatch their houses. The grass is high - about 8ft (2 1/2 metres) high and very plentiful at the moment.
For the past week or more, I had managed to slip into services without any fuss and hoped I had escaped the need to show myself. I should have known better! At the end of the vigil mass at the Cathedral Fr. Kenan announced that I was in the congregation and I had to stand up in in acknowledgement. At Our Lady of the Wayside I was at least warned that I would be asked to say a few words at the end of mass. It was an opportunity to formally convey greetings from St. Gregory's and St. Thomas More. I also particularly thanked the children for their Easter card on which they had written their names.
Mass was earlier than usual and I therefore had a little time to spare. I wanted to check out the possibility of finding a quiet place in the bush where I could relax for a while. I headed further up the Livingstone Road past Comfort Lodge. I recall when Dilys and Amy were with me in 2011. We had been to mass and Dilys was thirsty. She was very surprised when I took them to Comfort Lodge for a drink. Her experience to this point had convinced her that anything approaching luxury was absent from Monze. They enjoyed a little of the comfort promised!
I crossed the road having decided that this gave the best opportunity to reach some pleasant bush in the shortest time. I made my way to the railway and decided to walk along the line. The Countryside opens out to the East of the railway line but it wasn't clear that I would get far along the small paths. I decided not to explore but perhaps to return.another day. Along the tracks I met a couple of young men sitting on the rails. They asked me what I was doing I explained that I was enjoying the scenery. We stopped and talked for a while. They were unhappy that like so many they were struggling to find employment. They eventually explained that they were student teachers who had to try to raise money in the holidays to fund their studies. I told them that it wasn't only in Zambia that talents are being wasted – two of my children are looking for permanent work in the UK at the moment. I said goodbye to Geshan and Joseph and went on my way, not before establishing that there was indeed a nice quiet place that I could reach along some paths a little further to the south.
In the afternoon I started yet another crime thriller, deciding to sit myself outside in the late afternoon sunshine.
Over supper Fr. Kenan announced that we had some serious work to do. We would be heading for the pool table with a couple of new challengers. In the event, the table at Mayfair hadn't been replaced, but nearby there was a bar where a table was present and no other customers! Fr. Kenan and myself commenced battle and fortune was with me because I managed to keep the cue throughout the evening defending my position against all comers! My luck is unlikely to be as good when we have a return contest!!
May the Risen Lord fill you with joy especially during this Easter season.