Thank you all for a warm welcome to your parish/ group. It was lovely to meet you all. I arrived safely back in Zimbabwe on Sunday 25 February and immediately got back to work as a lot of developments had taken place in my absence. That meant postponing my vacation to go and see my family, which all of you were asking about when I was in UK. Well, I eventually went on two weeks’ vacation and I just got back to work last week. My family, especially my boys were very keen on knowing more about the trip and my stay in the UK and I have told them how awesome you all are, how you took care of me and fed me.
Last week I was in Binga, one of Zimbabwe’s remotest districts in the north-western part of the country and this week I am in Gokwe (where Marian and Svondo live – I will make it a point to visit them to relay more feedback and answers to Marian’s question that I continue to get from you). My current trips to these districts are to provide guidance and support to our Caritas partner staff members who work on the ground as we finalise some of the work previously supported by CAFOD on farming and disaster preparedness in these areas. The project is coming to an end at the end of June 2018.
I told you about the rainfall and as I said, we had a fair rainy season. I am glad to say that those who planted drought tolerant crops with the help from CAFOD and partners did well in a season like this. I also talked a lot on how we are helping build resilience within these communities including diversifying livelihoods using for example livestock. The late rains indeed managed to improve the pastures to some extent. But indeed, as Laudato Si’ says, we could be witnessing effects of climate change.
I have memories of all the parishes that I went to and I have safely stored the pictures that we were taken together as I treasure them very much. Of course I didn’t have much time at each parish, but I managed to get a bit of time to tour Liverpool and Newcastle cities. It also helped that we didn’t have a car in Leeds so through walking, I got to have some insights of that great city. I also remember the legendary stories that I was told of in the once fishing hub – Hull city. There were also moments of honour – Thornleigh, Salesian college having made a banner of me- oh, I was humbled. There are a lot of you who housed me in their homes, I cannot go case by case because I will end up needing to write a novel just on your hospitality: from washing my clothes, preparing extra good meals, taking me out, and making sure that I was overly comfortable. I joked with my wife one day when I was there that I don’t miss home! From the bottom of my heart, I say, thank you so much.
We are heading towards general elections in Zimbabwe and I believe you fasted and prayed for us as we are still going about our work without any disturbance like in that past. We are peaceful. To those who love nature, please come and visit us and remember to just pass by our office. It would be a pleasure to see some of you again. Regards,