Saturday, 20 September 2008

Zimbabwe's dragons

First hand news from rural Matabeleland only confirms and brings home how desperate the situation in Zimbabwe continues to be. Messages from the parish which St Michael’s, Little Coates tries to support also tell us of the death of their Bishop (whose quality we know about from his time teaching at the missionary training colleges at Selly Oak ten years ago), and knowing about the loss of such leadership in his 50s and at this time is, as a friend who has worked in the diocese says to me ‘very sad news, and possibly drastic at this time of uncertainty for the country’.

The messages we have had this month are:

I hope that this letter reaches you in good health. I am in town to see my doctor and buy some tablets. Last week we were supposed to Confirm some members of our church but unfortunately the Bishop fell ill and he was unable to come we hope he will come at a later date.

The situation in the country side continues to be going bad as the NGOs have not started giving people relief food. People are now facing starvation and in the shops there is nothing to buy. We pray that the negotiations between the political parties bears fruits and come to a conclusion.

May the grace of the Almighty be with you.


I am here to let you know that our Bishop, the Right Rev Dr Wilson Sitshebo, has passed away after a short illness. He suffered a stroke and was taken to a hospital. I shall go to his house today to find out the burial arrangement. As I told you in my last letter that he was supposed to come to confirm the candidates I thought l was going to brief him on the situation we face in the countryside.

I was denied to buy maize at our home village, the officer in charge of the police station told me that l did not have a share. Some of those who bought 50kg of maize were war vets, store owners , teachers and Gov employees. These people do exchange maize for goats or chicken as for cash they accept foreign currency. The food situation is so bad that some people eat wild fruits and roots that they cook and then they get sick.

Me and my wife do all we can to help those who find themselves in a sad situation. On my way back l shall pass by another town just to find out what l can buy for my family. I might buy mealie-meal. I shall have to use foreign currency as they do not accept our own money.

The picture is of a newly carved dragon on display on the floor of Lincoln Cathedral at the moment before being placed on the roof.

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