W.O. 196/68


 Telephone: (263‑4) 251116 -- Fax: (263‑4)251117 -- email:



It is some time now since we launched the embryonic website but it has stirred up some interest. Thanks to all those who visited it and gave me some feedback. We are excited about it and hope to build it into something much bigger. In the meantime bear with us as we steal minutes from the daily tasks to put something on paper.

As with everyone else we can say it has been a very difficult year but, unlike many others, we can thank God that a lot of very good things have happened.

The new residence has taken a lot of our time but it is growing in everyway. Oh yes, we were not the only ones who loved it – so did the rats! It all began with two cane rats, yes as big as cats and they relished the wonderful veggies we had persuaded the sticky red soils to produce. It took a lot of skill and thought until they were despatched to happier hunting grounds but then came their cousins, literally dozens of them! They even ate holes in the new floor covering that had been imported from South Africa. When they demolished all the cables in the stove they had signed their death warrant. War was declared and we made a better job of it than others in the world because we won hands down, although we do understand that we shall have to do the same thing again in about six months’ time. Such is the nature of the 'Garden City' of which we used to be so proud.

Of much greater interest are the resident students who have come and have now gone again having completed their courses. They arrived from Kariba, Bulawayo, Mutare, KweKwe, Chitungwiza and Ruwa and the waiting list is long. They ranged in age from 21 years to 45 years and had lost their sight from illnesses  and accidents. Today they have returned home confident in their mobility, braille and their ability to use computers and all household things. The Rehab staff have gone on leave and the classroom block at the Library is being painted ready for the new intake of 2010. The house at Denmark Ave is being cleaned and the garden continues to give the gardener much pleasure and he in turn makes us laugh. Hopefully everything will be flourishing by the time we re-open.

At the Braille Library we are working on skeleton staff and have had to change our normal routine completely since we have few books to mend. This is not because our children and teachers now handle them much better, but simply because they did not handle them at all! The schools battle to open and keep running and the blind come right down on their list of priorities. But never mind, we wrote to the Minister of Education when we had a meeting here, and it was signed by multiple signatures legible and illegible as well as numerous thumb prints! (The police couldn’t have done better!) We spoke of our concern and offered to do our bit to get things together again. Last week I received a lovely letter in reply thanking us for our offer of help and pointing out that one has to get a school open before one can have a Resource Room operational. True! I am sure wonderful days lie ahead as slowly, slowly things are re-established. But one school had borrowed our Braille books and duly returned them through the post. The problem was that they had forgotten to put any string on the boxes so all the books fell out and the spiral binders broke into small pieces leaving multiple Braille pages lying around the post office floor. Some kind postal workers found a Royal Mail bag, dumped all the pages in it, and secured it tightly. It raised quite a stir when it arrived in the library with everyone guessing who had sent us things through the Royal Mail postal bags. Now Reuben, the switchboard operator whom many of you know, is sitting sorting out the mess so that the books can be rebound ready for next year.

Before I close let me introduce you to some of the staff who are still here. Some of course have come and gone either of their own free will or of my will! Fiona left us last December for UK and we have not heard yet how she is getting on. We have reorganised the structure of the Library and Rehab so now we have Mr Andrew Mutambisi, whom I head hunted from Exams Branch. He is just great and has taken an enormous burden off my back. Anderson Robertson, no, not Scottish but Shona, is in charge of the Audio department where he spends hours preparing books on the Daisy project using CDs. He is also studying for an American qualification in networking. Agnes still stays in the Library recording the Large Print books as they come and go, and she is helped by Faith who does the audio books. Then Lucia of long fame continues to clean and cook and generally makes herself useful, or else dreams her own dreams leaning on the end of the broom! She is now helped, not in the dreaming but in the cleaning etc, by Mercy who comes in each day from Ruwa. The overall household work is supervised by Veronica Hativagone, who has had three daughters at the Convent school. The staff all her Mama, and she stands no nonsense. Jackie and Taffy are both on leave right now.

Now if I succeed I shall take some pics of the above for you since I received such a lovely camera from a friend when George Bell came over for a week’s in-house training. I am not sure how to get the pics onto the email but I’ll give it a bash. My excuse is that there is so much for me to learn at the moment and time is short.

If anyone really wants to help please could you try to find some white folding canes with pencil tips for us? They are available at the RNIB in Peterborough and can be posted surface mail free of charge for the blind. We would be happy with second hand ones. They should not have the crook handles – they get badly caught up in the buses. People also steal these canes because they think they are either magic or evil. Thanks.

I'll close with the usual good wishes for a blessed and happy Christmas, but also with the plea that anyone who sees this on the internet will contact me and will also pass on the information to others with whom I have lost contact. Why? Because I lost my entire address book of course, and now I have also lost my entire set of keys! Time to retire I am sure.

God bless you all.