29 April 2012

Settling in

Susan was very lonely - particularly that first year.  Our first few weeks in Auckland had been spent in and around Howick, with the Browns and others, so at least there were acquaintances - and Americans, at that - but they were considerably older than we were.  I had almost immediately begun to make friends at work.  Once we were in Mt Eden, Susan was quite alone.  We were very fortunate in Dr and Mrs Grigor, our landlords (and doctor), wonderful people - but, again, much older than we were.  We attended Valley Road Baptist Church at the beginning but were soon members of Hillsboro Baptist Church.  Nevertheless, Susan was bored and lonely, at home alone all day.  Money was, as always, never in overwhelmingly abundant supply.  I had significant University debt to pay.  We decided that Susan would look for a job.

In order to go to work, she would need transport.  Our sole private mode of transport was the one-cylinder kick-start Honda 90 that I had innocently thought appropriate simply to have packed in with the rest of our household goods - causing a certain amount of consternation to the man from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries who had been deputed to watch as our goods were unpacked - he had it trucked down to the docks for steam-cleaning!  I normally rode the trolley 'bus to work.  Susan would have to learn to drive a motorcycle.

She did, with only a little difficulty.  She will remember her first solo ride in Cornwall Park.  Sheep graze freely in the park - and the road where she practised is not fenced.  Sheep graze safely in the park for the most part - but the first time Susan drove on her own, one crossed the road in front of her, causing her to panic and fall over in the grass.  Once I had stopped laughing, I picked her up and she was all right; the sheep escaped unharmed.

I can no longer remember the details of Sue's job hunting in relation to the friends we had made at the time.  Certainly we were very soon close friends of Ross and Glenys Jackson - now living in Melbourne and destined - or doomed? - to major involvement in our lives; with David and Heather Patterson; with Peter Mulholland; with David Curle and his family; with Maria Subritzky (whose wedding we attended in January, 1976).  Suggestions for jobs with Christian employers may have come from some of these, or from others.

Two job leads did not seem suitable - one to an importer, one to the local office of the Sudan Interior Mission - for various reasons.  The New Zealand office of World Vision had just been created the year before. Susan was hired there in, I suppose, late March or early April, 1973.  When she started, the office was very small.  So far as she can remember, the staff at the beginning were Geoff Renner (the boss); Mrs Hayden, office manager; Mrs Gillet, accountant; Angela Necklen, office junior; and Susan - who had the exalted title of sponsorship manager.  This eventually became a job as large as its title implied, since the essential bread-and-butter operation of World Vision is the financial sponsorship in small dollar amounts by individuals in the wealthier parts of the world of individuals in the poorer parts of the world.  When Susan finally quit, near the end of May, 1975, she was still in charge of the sponsorship programme, managing something like four or five thousand New Zealand sponsors.

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