After Masvingo....Our road trip took us to Bulawayo ...Skies.. Birth place and home of so many members on this page. By and large it is still as I remember. The beautiful wide streets, the friendly people , the change of tempo from the rat race in Harare .. yet a sadness also envelopes it. Roads in many suburbs are a far cry from their original state . Some are now almost gravel with glimpses of tar here and there .. Many houses and gardens look lost and forlorn as neglect and just a weariness from life's constant grind have worn the owners down. Block B at Rhodes Jubilee cottages was no exception. The gardens were absolutely beautiful but the building and rooms are in need of some TLC. ( We have already covered the Matrons bathroom and this is in hand thanks to two kind donors ).
C.A.T hosted an impromptu Christmas luncheon on the 18th November ( Social distancing applied ) and also gave out a few small gifts to all the residents. ( There are now 27 ) It was a quiet subdued affair. Zesa had gone a few hours before so no music as there is no generator . As we sat down to lunch a transformer blew with a loud bang ,But even without the music most of the residents just sat there quietly . No banter and for me what really was not "normal ".. very little chat .. quiet conversation. Hardly any laughter. Maybe a few smatterings of laughter and a giggle or two as one of the residents teased Honey about where his " loyalties lay" It was such a refreshing and normal sound to me. They then, after dessert just quietly thanked us and went back to their rooms. Now I know nothing is quite " normal" in 2020 but... I left there wondering what it could be.. How could we make a difference in this "not normal" scenario ? One of the things that did occur to me was the residents lounge. I first visited RJC 20 years ago when my late mother inlaw Stella Bell was a resident . 20 years later the lounge is exactly as it was then. It looks tired and unwelcoming. The current chairlady Maureen Meade King has at her own expense had the cushions recovered and tried to make good with what was there and much has improved under her guidance but it really needs a total makeover. When I asked the administrator about it she informed me that the RESIDENTS lounge is only used for " When visitors come for meetings " This lounge ideally should be used for the residents of Block B. if I am correct ( Who are now only 7 ) It could be made into a lovely " Family room" ( Please think further than the current Covid pandemic).
A lovely flat screen TV sits there not in use because there is no decoder? ( Perhaps a few on here could commit to purchasing a decoder and paying DSTV subs?)A mini stereo donated also sits in the office not in use or plugged into the lounge with a pile of golden oldies cd's next to it The residents could surely benefit from some music in their lives if nothing else. I witnessed a pallor of utter loneliness in some ( My personal observation ) Jig saw puzzles also sit on a table in the office untouched. A games table designed for this purpose in the lounge would not go amiss. I write this in the hope that we can come up with solutions as to how to create a residents lounge that will be a sanctuary for these dear old folks.. where friendships will flourish, where they can gather for a few hours of entertainment( even just to watch the news of the world ?) maybe " kill some stories " celebrate the blessing of a long life ,remember and recall. . Where they will feel comfortable , loved and not forgotten. On the subject of the lounge. Blessed as we were to receive a deluge of rain the day before the lunch it caused havoc with a roof that has been in need of repair for years . ( Yet another expense for the current chairlady and committee to worry about . The lounge and dining room flooded and a carpet that had been there for over 40 years came out of there in pieces ( totally beyond repair ) and could not be put back in. So folks if you have a newish 9 x 12 carpet that you could spare ?? It would be much appreciated The staff at RJC are a wonderful bunch who over the years have managed somehow , long before CAT ever arrived and we must never take this away from them. We just want to lend a hand in A. Bringing awareness so that those who are able to assist can, and B Assisting where we can in whatever small way we can . "Together we are stronger "