'It then became apparent that the salaries of the other two sisters were inadequate to support a third person-me! I decided to look for paid work.'

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'It then became apparent that the salaries of the other two sisters were inadequate to support a third person-me! I decided to look for paid work.'


Rosemary remembers seeking paid work in Zimbabwe. She approached the ministry of higher education in Harare to obtain teaching work and teacher training. She remembers eventually getting work in Bulawayo in Zimbabwe to lecture in a training college.


Rosemary McCloskey


Trinity College Dublin




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Rosemary McCloskey

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Work and Employment


Life Story

Spatial Coverage

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

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It then became apparent that the salaries of the other two sisters were inadequate to support a third person-me! I decided to look for paid work. The Franciscan mission work was not working out very well for me and I was very frustrated with wasting my time and nothing to show for it. I had been to teacher training colleges looking for a place to send Romuald, and met a very nice lady, Mandi Taruvinga, who was very interested in my quest to educate the young man. She had a good chat with me, and advised me to go to the Ministry of Higher Education in Harare, since I had the qualifications to work in a teacher training college. I lost no time and spoke to Ambrose McCann about it. He agreed that I would be better employed doing something constructive with my talents and qualifications. For about six weeks, I plagued a Mr Nyandoro,at the Ministry of Higher Education in the Old Mutual Building in Harare, about giving me a job, until eventually he agreed, and said that he was sending me to Bulawayo, to lecture in United College of Education there. I had consulted Sr. M Emilian about getting a job, and she was happy enough with this, as long as I was based with Irish Sisters. I spoke to the Presentation Sisters, who knew me well, but they were in Harare. I knew no one in Bulawayo except Brother Turner, who was a friend of a friend. I thought about the whole situation and eventually decided that I wanted to take the job and so I requested two years' leave of absence, from the congregation. I got it. I had promised Romauld that if I got a paid post I would educate him. I asked him if he would go to Bulawayo with me and he agreed, but had to work for another few months in Jaggers. I returned to Belfast and eventually I got the ticket to travel to Bulawayo. Like everything in Africa, it was not until almost the date they wanted me, that I knew I was going. Miss Sharayi Chakanyuka, the college principal, met me at the airport and deposited me in the Zimbabwe Sun Hotel. I was miserable. It was cold inside, since it was winter in Zimbabwe, but they do not have any heating. I had no local currency and the banks etc were closed because it was Heroes Day or something, and so I was stranded for three days. Brother Turner had flu and I was unable to contact Romuald, as he had no phone. Eventually, I contacted the Samaritans who were close by, and they sent someone to find Romuald in Glenview, Harare and let him know where I was. They asked him to come to Bualwayo, with the money I had left with him. He arrived a few days later, and I could hardly believe it. I was so overjoyed to see someone I knew and have a few Zim. dollars in my pocket once more. Romuald stayed for the weekend and we went to Mass in St Mary's Cathedral on Sunday morning. Bulawayo was like a ghost town on Sunday. In the afternoon Romuald had to leave for Harare once more, as he had work in the morning. He knew where I was and I got a contact number for him and so things were not quite so bad. A couple of days later I went to Gweru. Sr. Margaret Slattery collected me and took me to the mission where I was able to collect my bits and pieces and take them by car to Bulawayo. She travelled with me leaving at 4.00am and we went straight to an estate agent once we arrived, and asked about suitable accommodation to rent. The lady there was most helpful and recommended a house in Montrose for me. I left my things with Br. Turner who had kindly allowed me to use the guest room at the Christian Brothers' house in Matsheumahlope. WE viewed the house, 20 Wootton Crescent, and I agreed to lease it for six months for a start. Next day Margaret and I went to our first Mass in Bulawayo in Our Lady of Lourdes church, Khumalo which eventually became my parish. Montrose was in the parish of Christ the King. She had to return to the mission, but I was feeling a lot better, because at least I had somewhere to call 'home' for the time being. I searched the local paper and managed to buy some furniture'a table and benches and a chesterfield suite. Br Turner lent me a driver called 'Tired' and the school truck to transport my things. Later, I went to the mission again and sent the rest with a carrier. This was a whole new experience for me and I came through it.


Irish Research Council for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Research Coordinator/P.I.

Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)

Senior Research Associate

Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)


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