Monday, June 7, 2010

May 16, 2010

It's been almost a month since my last much has happened...both good and bad. Life is pretty much the same, whether in North America or South Africa. I am learning a deep appreciation for the little things that make a day bright,

(a morning sky in Tabola)

(our new chicks...they're two weeks old now)

(our name; I just call him Fariki (pig))

like seeing a pig and and its five little babies feeding on my way home from school, or watching the young ones perform some of their traditional songs and dances ...and speaking of songs and dances, Lepholisa had a Cultural Day last Wednesday. We spent the morning cooking traditional foods for the afternoon feast.

(believe it or not, we cooked bread (actually steamed it) in plastic bags in one of the big black fire,, the plastic didn't melt and the steamed bread was delicious!)

(a girl carrying water to one of our fires for the big cultural day feast)

Most of the children wore traditional garb...seshoeshoes borrowed from Mom for the girls and blankets for the boys. The girls actually wore traditional blankets over their seshoeshoes.

(some of the girls and boys in blankets accompanying the dancing with song and drum (plastic buckets))

(some of the girls wearing their own homemade dance skirts...made from rags and plastic bags...plastic bags are quite a commodity here...very recyclable.)

I, too, dressed in the traditional garb of the Basotho women...seshoeshoe, head scarf, blanket and Lesotho hat.

(seventh standard girls doing a traditional Basotho dance in costume)

(standard seven girls doing a different traditional's white clay from the river on their bodies)

(two standard five girls dressed the way the Basotho used to dress. They are covered in red clay.)

(this is a typical traditional Lesotho blanket. They're all quite lovely.)

(These are the boots the herdsboys wear. The latest fad is to try to decorate them with the tops of different sports socks. The boots come in all colors.)

(this is one of the traditional abuti (boys') dances)

(Oh. this was a school concert...some of the m'es just got up and started dancing with the kids)

(this is one of the mamas watching the concert. I included this picture to show the healthy attitude Basotho have about the natural beauty of breast feeding. It's a common and open occurance...done with pride!)

(another mama watching the concert)

In the afternoon we feasted on what the classes had prepared after performances from every grade level. It was wonderful!!

By the way, I still have no internet; I'll try to make it in to Maseru this weekend to see if the problem can be resolved. I don't remember whether or not I spoke of Clarens, South Africa in my last entry, but it was quite the experience!

(a typical house in Clarens)

I went through a bit of culture shock to find myself suddenly surrounded by white people instead of Basotho. Needless to say, I quickly adapted to the creature comforts I'd missed since living in Lesotho!

(the taxi rank just over the border into Ficksburg, S.A.)

Our cottage was lovely;

it was called Treehouse because of three huge trees growing up through the roof of the house.

(the tree house we stayed in in Clarens; notice the two tree stumps growing through the roof toward the bottom of the picture and the dead tree growing through the roof toward the top of the picture (my bedroom))

Two of the trees were in Kaye's bedroom and one was in mine.

(me in my bedroom in the treehouse cottage)

The cottage was equipped with electricity, heat, running water, flushing toilets and and a beautifully tiled shower! The town was teeming with restaurants, art galleries, fashion shops, etc....and, best of all, there wasn't a small scratch of paper to be seen anywhere on the ground. Lesotho has not caught up, environmentally, with the fact that they now have canned and wrapped goods, plastic bags, cardboard boxes, etc. There is no department of sanitation in this country, and no one in the government has made any effort whatsoever to teach the population what to do with all the new wrappings. Consequently, wherever one walks in Lesotho, one steps on paper, snack bags, broken glass, etc. At any rate, the weekend was a lovely rest from my extremely basic living in Tabola. One of my pipe dreams is to start an environment awareness project in my village. Hopefully, starting with the primary grades, I can make the community aware of picking up trash and not just dropping things on the ground when their use is over. I'd even like to get a couple of barrels placed along the main road that runs through town, and then have some high school clubs empty the trash barrels weekly...big dreams, I know!
The young Ausi Mathabo who has been living with us at the compound has been sent to Maseru to work for one of the Ramoabi's daughters...the mother of young Teko, in fact. Today was a very sad farewell for all of us. I hated to see Mathabo and Teko leave...but, this is life in Lesotho. Mathabo is the young lady I've been trying to get a Peace Corps scholarship for so that she may attend high school. If the scholarship comes through, maybe she'll be able to attend school in Maseru. She and I have become quite close, so the next few days will be difficult, indeed. Again, I am learning to appreciate the people I meet with a new that reminds me that we may cross paths ever so briefly, but the influence of the moment should never be taken for granted. In two weeks (June 3rd.) Kaye will leave for America.
A special note for Lauren: Oh my goodness, Lauren, the two homemade hats that you sent in the package of winter clothes were the hit of the day!! M'e Mamoabi took the green one and has been wearing it all day!!!

(M'e Mamoabi in one of Lauren's hats)

Mathabo took the pink one and wore it as she rode off to Maseru. Ntate Ramoabi wants to know where his is!! Jedd, the scarves and long underwear were passed along to Abuti Morolong. They should come in so handy in the fields now that the weather's getting “down there”.
This Thursday will be the big Multiplication Bee between my three primary schools. Thanks to all the wonderful stickers and special supplies my family has sent, there will be prizes galore to celebrate the victories of the top students!!! I can't wait; it's just wonderful to see the students learning for the fun and excitement of learning rather than just because they might be hit for not doing well!!!...little steps.

I am so sad that I can't send this right off to all of you; you are all missed!

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