On the 8th of August 2002, a truck carrying a few people rolled up. They cut the locks on the two security gates and drove right up to the front door. (My husband was in town and always insisted on locking the gates when he was away). They started beating on the windows and door, loudly chanting chimarenga songs and shouting, “Get out!” They proceeded to build a fire on the verandah while continuing their noise and banging. Our maid was petrified and sat in the passage clutching her knees and whispering “Oh, madam”. We crept to the back door and then quietly up to the back gate where I let her out to go to her house. When my husband arrived, accompanied by a policeman from Mazoe police station, he took in the situation and decided we could not stay in the house. We rolled up our bedding, grabbed some meat from the freezer, and locking everything, set off for town. Our youngest son was flat-sitting at the time so we went there. We warned our other son not to go home to the farm, so he also joined us. Unfortunately, we never bought a town house!
We eventually extracted permission from Mazoe police to go back to collect some of our possessions. The intruders had forced locks and were now occupying our home. Late one afternoon we were given one hour to collect stuff. Some dear friends had been standing by with their trucks so they came to our rescue. We were told what we could and could not take. As a result, much of the farm equipment had to be left as well as permanent fixtures. The police refused any help and just said it was political.
It has been difficult emotionally to retrace our steps, so many details regarding our workers, stock, and pets have been omitted. In town we moved three times house sitting, so much of our furniture went to auctions. Then close friends asked us to house sit as they were trying to emigrate to Australia and would be away till they got their visa. The only condition was that we would keep the house in good repair.
The sad result of all this was that two of our sons emigrated to New Zealand and my mother had to be put in a home as she would not have been able to cope with all the moves. My husband and I both had to find jobs at 69 and 62.
In spite of everything we can truly say “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
We would once again like to express our grateful thanks for the food boxes you have given us so many times. It always gives us a lift when we get a call from Mary at the CFU office to say one is waiting to be collected. (We have never had it delivered).
It saves us so much to receive some of the basic grocery items and there is always something sweet to nibble at! I love seeing the South African named brands, which remind me of the trips we used to make down south of the border. I always giggle when I see the Sunsilk dazzling shiny black shampoo and wonder if I should dare try it (my hair is now white!) At Christmas time we so enjoy the lovely and thoughtful gifts, reminding us all year of your generosity.
Our church also gives us the occasional food parcel, and our son here helps us pay some of the essential bills each month. My husband Neville, at 85, is still grateful for his half-day job and I very occasionally help out at the school nearby. I am 78.
Well, they say that it’s a sign of old age when everything you hear reminds you of something else . . . so I had better end this story now. As my Oupa used to say “Fluit, fluit, my storie is uit!”
With best wishes and blessings,
Neville and Minnie Durand