The outdoor mass at Our Lady of the Wayside
I am confusing myself with the days so I will continue by giving the date of events rather than the day I record them!
I certainly have a prime position here at Homecraft – so good that there is a constant stream of visitors calling by.
Pentecost Sunday 15th May
I was told that there would only be one service on Sunday so that everyone could attend. So instead of the mass I attend being at 10 hrs it would take place at 9hrs. I was therefore duly at the chuch on time. It soon dawned on me the other implication of a single mass – it would be outside under the blazing African sun!
While in Zambia I occasionally use suntan lotion, but as I usually move about in and out of buildings I don't put it on as a matter of course. Haven't not thought through the Pentecost celebrations I didn't smear any on yesterday.
I was given a paper with the order of service which stated the start as being at 9.30 am so at least until that time I could take some shelter. 9.30 passed and 10 while I was in the pews. At about 10.30 the service began with a large procession, including the 95 candidates who would be confirmed during the mass. The Bishop of Monze was the main celebrant. Both Fr. Clement and Fr. Raphael were also in attendance. Fr. Raphael was in fact involved in Our Lady of the Wayside before it became a parish, he is still very much involved but also has work at the Bishop's office.
Celebrations in Zambia are not short affairs and this was no exception! Conferring the sacrament of confirmation on so many candidates didn't mean that short cuts were taken elsewhere. The service ended at 14 hrs (5 hours after I arrived at the church). I was ready to make a speedy exit when I was told that I was invited for lunch. I find it difficult when someone invites to to such functions. I am sometimes not sure what authority they have or whether they are just messengers. If I refuse it might seem rude, if I go though not officially invited, I am sure they will make a place for me.
Anyway I joined the priests, one or two other guests, those newly confirmed and the bishop for lunch in the church hall.
I was given a lift home by Pauli an Italian lady who has spent the past 7 years in Zambia working in accounts in the bishop's office and also helping at Our Lady of the Wayside. She turns out to be my next door neighbour.
I decided to spend the remainder of the day relaxing, reading and beating the computer at backgammon – it finds it difficult coping with my unusual strategies.
Monday 16th May
I rinsed the washing and put it on the line. This morning it was not in the sun, but I am certain it will be very dry by now. I even did a little sweeping around the house. In Zambia sweeping seems to be very important – particularly outside the house. People seem to spend hours sweeping leaves from the dust. Last year I was always being told off because it was dusty outside. It is a particular crime if you have a bit of concrete which isn't kept spotless!
Inside my house it is quite dull on account of the many trees growing close to the building. However I am taking advantage of a reasonable battery in the laptop to come out in the garden where it is very pleasant – not least because of the many trees. It is the start of the short winter season here and temperatures are in the mid twenties centigrade. I have seen a few clouds, but rarely is the sun covered. At the moment I cannot see a cloud in the sky!
Power didn't arrive today until about midday, although I was aware that when the sun was rising we still had electricity from last night – I turned over and went back to sleep!
Best came around this morning. He had just returned from seeing Chief Monze. In Zambia the chiefs still have considerable power. Chief Monze is one of a few Paramount Chiefs who are in charge of the major tribes. Best is currently doing research into tribal laws which differ from state law and vary from tribe to tribe. He needs to meet four of the five major chiefs as part of this research. He will write a paper as part of his work leading hopefully to admission to the bar at the end of the year. It has been a long (and expensive) journey, but it should all be worthwhile.
Best at my back door
Bright was waiting to see me and followed once Best had left. He told me that his son Brian failed two subjects last year and will need to resit this year. In the meantime he is doing some piece work to earn a bit of money. Bright is back at the front gate at the hospital on security duty. he told me that his house is coming up and promised to take me to see how the work is progressing.
Teddy popped around unannounced. The position of the house makes it easy for people to pop around to say hallo. I am very happy to be in the thick of things here. He is working with Diven to sort out the issue of a shop that stands immediately in front of his house and next to his shop. Diven is concerned that if someone else buys it he will experience problems – he would therefore like to secure it himself. Teddy is acting as broker with the owner.
You are now up to date!! I am expecting Luke to call around any moment. Luke used to work in the hospital stores in 2004 when I was dev eloping a stock control system there. He went to college and came back to work in Human Resources at the hospital and after a couple of other moves is now in a small town (we would say village) Chikuni about 20 Km from Monze. Luke came to Lochinvar National Park – 35 Km from Monze – with Dilys and myself just after his uncle was injured in the same car crash that killed Bentoe. Luke is now married with a child. He has a lot of nieces and nephews that he supports – trying to help them complete their education.
Diven and Jennipher are expected later!!