Friday, December 31, 2004





It is said that:

When we really love and accept and approve of ourselves,
exactly as we are, then everything in life works.

Thursday, December 30, 2004



Wednesday, December 29, 2004


I have been enjoying with my family the Christmas festivities. However, I continue in disbelief to watch the unfolding horrific news of the underwater Earthquake and resulting Tsunamis in Asia. How very fortunate I am - it wont affect me I told myself !!!

The realisation came that there could well be hundreds of tourists from the country where I live out there, and who may not come back. It really hit me yesterday when I went into my local supermarket, and the checkout lady told me that there were people from my town unaccounted for out there. I thought the Tsunami could well hit Africa, and it did and with deaths.The coastal region of Kenya hosts many tourists, as well as their own people who go there from Nairobi and further inland for the Christmas break. I know people in Kenya. I have lived and I have friends who live in Durban in South Africa who have been hoping to get back to Thailand for another holiday as they loved it there. I used to live in Mauritius, and I have spent many happy holidays in what was Beira in Mocambique. I feel certain too that at some point in the future, either near or afar, we will all be affected by the this terrible natural catastrophe as weather patterns may be affected where we live all over the world. As my mind goes even further into the future, the loss of so many lives will mean the loss of businesses, jobs and trade for each of the very badly hit countries. I know the rest of the world has already sent help in many forms. It seems to me that we will need to continue over the months, and even years ahead, to offer our assistance and financial help. I pray we will rise to their needs.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004


The news on T.V. and Radio about the earthquake
and tsunamis in Indonesia and all the after effects
have turned my blood cold.
My views are mixed up.
My thoughts are confused.
The photos I have seen are horrific.
And where are all the animals too?

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

A Trip to London

I have been to London on a number of short breaks, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed. Each visit was packed with places that needed to be seen. A week's Underground Train pass was the 1st essential item to buy. These can be bought for Zones 1 up to 6. Zones 1 and 2 are in the main central to London itself, and the others fan out around from the center Zone. The London Underground at one time was a very dirty, noisy, unrealiable place to be, but these days I have found it to be very much improved indeed and with a number of staff only too willing to lend an ear or give friendly directions. There is just so much to do and see in London that one could spend a number of weeks there to get it all done. However 4 or 5 days at a time is just about right I think. Staying in a bed and breakfast Hotel near Earl's Court has been ideal enabling us to go by the Underground to anywhere we planned to go to. The rest of the day is walking, and walking and more walking. The evenings are usually for a Theatre Outing, a Pop Concert, a Lecture or just out for a slap up meal. On arrival in London it is very noticable how everyone is rushing here, there and everywhere, and I wonder how they can cope living like that week in and week out. However by lunchtime the next day I am rushing about like the best of them. Over the years that I have been going to London it has also occurred to me how the type of people, the buildings and the traffic there have all changed. Although the congestion charge has stopped quite a number of cars, the up turn is that there are far more taxis and buses, and they dont wait for anyone. All the yearly events attended by thousands from home and far afield are always enjoyed by all. There is always a new Show on at a Theatre or a Film Premiere, where one can see the film stars in person. When walking, one never knows exactly what is around the next corner, who one might meet, or to talk to people from another part of the world.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Cathy's latest letter

Dear Family and Friends,
Christmas 2004 is an incredibly difficult time for most Zimbabweans as we
struggle to cope financially with additional burdens and emotionally with
families which are spread out across continents because of the ongoing
turmoil in the country. I would like to use this Christmas letter to thank
some of the people who have made life bearable, others whose leadership
and determination has been inspirational and yet others who, just by being
there in the background, day after day, week after week, have given me the
courage to go on.

Mostly I would like to thank Zimbabwe's opposition political party who
have managed, for five years, to stop our country from descending into
civil war. The MDC have fought with words, with court battles and with
dignified determination. Every single one of the MDC MP's have made
supreme sacrifices for the country. They have almost all been arrested;
they and their families have been harassed, abused and intimidated; some
have been tortured, others beaten and detained and some have even lost
their lives in the fight for democracy. MDC MP Roy Bennett will spend this
Christmas in prison and our thoughts will be with him because we know that
the sacrifices he and his family made were for us all and for Zimbabwe.
Some days I look at film clips of armed militants in Sudan, Ivory Coast,
the Congo and other African countries and think that if it were not for
the determined non violent stance of the MDC, that could so easily be us.

This Christmas I would also like to thank the growing number of people
inside the country who have formed and joined civic action groups and
raised their voices for Zimbabwe. I hesitate to list them for fear of
putting them at risk but they all lead by their bravery and example. Most
of them have suffered appalling indignities and outrageous injustices and
have put their lives and families on hold as they fight for democracy in

Lastly this Christmas I would like to thank the people outside the country
who continue to fight for Zimbabwe. The staff of Short Wave Radio Africa
who are banned from returning to Zimbabwe but who faithfully report to us
every night; without them we would be lost in a fog of propaganda. There
are MP's in country's all over the world who continue to lobby their own
governments to speak out about events in Zimbabwe. There are human rights
organizations and associations, writers, reporters and lobby groups who
speak out for Zimbabwe all the time now. There are groups who hold vigils,
marches, protests and demonstrations in the UK, USA and South Africa on an
ongoing basis. And then there are just the ordinary people, the men and
women all over the world, who care about Zimbabwe. The people who send
emails and letters, sign petitions and join marches. People who write to
their MP's, tell their friends about what's happening in Zimbabwe and add
their voices to the rising international discontent. There are many people
who take the time, every week, to read my letter from Zimbabwe and then
pass it on to others to read. I thank you all for your support and
compassion, and for your generosity to the people in need that I have
written about and been able to help because of you.

I will not write a letter next Saturday as it will be Christmas Day and so
I wish all my family and friends a wonderful, peaceful and happy Christmas
and thank you for everything you have done to help Zimbabwe. With love,
cathy. Copyright cathy buckle 18th December 2004.
My books on the Zimbabwean crisis, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are
available from: ; ; ; in Australia and New Zealand: ; Africa:

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Cathy's letter from Zimbabwe

Dear Family and Friends,
This week our schools limped to the last day and shuddered to a stop at
the end of what has been an impossibly difficult school year. It was my
son's last day at junior school and I sat with other parents at the final
assembly. Since nursery school I have never missed a gala, sports day,
play or concert and I knew that Richard's last day at junior school was
going to be emotional. It was also prize giving day and one by one
children came up grade by grade to receive awards for their excellence.
There were the usual English, Maths and Arts prizes but also awards for
achievement, consistent effort and Christian conduct.

As each child came up there were the usual claps, cheers and ululation's
from parents bursting with pride and I found tears in my eyes on more than
one occasion. I clapped and cried for myself as a parent, ex farmer and
outspoken writer. I was not actually sure how I had survived these 57
months of turmoil, fear and penury and made it to this day. I clapped and
cried for Richard who had changed schools, worked through learning
problems, lived through horrors on an invaded farm and fought his fears
and nightmares. I was not sure how Richard had made it to this day either
or how either of us would cope with the phenomenal changes which lie
ahead. I clapped and cried for the school too and moreso after listening
to the annual reports by the Headmistress and the Chairman of the Board of
Governors. Even though I had been in and out of the school all year and
had attended almost all of the meetings, listening to the litany of
horrors in one speech really bought home to me what an enormous
achievement it was that this little school had managed to stay open at
all. The year had begun with inflation of over 600% and yet the
government had pegged the school fees at a rate which did not take
economics into consideration. In May, first the headmistress and then the
Chairman of the Board had been detained in police cells. The Police closed
the school down and patrolled the premises preventing our children and
their teachers from entering.

As the year went on, the finances of the school became more and more
precarious. All parents had agreed to make donations to the school to keep
the standards up, but when it came to it, many did not do so. The feelings
at parents meetings got tenser and angrier as those parents who had made
large donations to the school knew that their money was supporting the
children of other parents who had promised to, but who had paid nothing
extra. Three weeks before the end of the term and in the heat of mid
summer, the school was forced to close the swimming pool down as they
could no longer afford to keep it operating. And now, on prize giving day,
not a single child actually received a prize because the school simply
could not afford to buy the usual book prizes. The children got
certificates and applause, huge applause, from parents and teachers who
knew what an achievement it was and what sacrifices had been made again
and again for and by the school to get to this day.

As I sit here on Saturday morning writing about our little prize-less
prize giving day at a small Marondera school, I found myself drawn to
switch on local TV just for a minute. There is live coverage of the Zanu
PF annual congress and its 9000 delegates in Harare. The speakers seem to
be falling over each other to pour praise on the party and its leaders.
They are no doubt as shocked as we are at the events of the last week
which saw seven top Zanu PF officials being suspended from the party for
daring to differ in the choice of vice presidency. Heads have rolled, more
will undoubtedly follow and no doubt there will be no prizes at that
ceremony either. Until next week, love cathy Copyright cathy
buckle 4th December 2004.
My books on the Zimbabwean crisis, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are
available outside Africa from: ; ; ; in Australia and New Zealand: ; Africa: