Saturday, July 2, 2011

June 26th., 2011

There were two entries for May, but they seem to have gotten lost! So much has happened since the April entry. First of all, it's incredibly cold right now; we're in the middle of Maria (winter). The winter solstice was a few days ago, so the days should start to get longer and warmer now...I hope! Today it's sunny, so everyone (including me)is out of their huts warming themselves in the lovely sun. The Ramoabis have most of their grandchildren visiting for the vacation...noise, chaos and lots of fun.
Today is also the one year anniversary of the death of

May 23, 2011

I came back from Maseru after a week of workshops in preparation for training the new volunteer arrivals on June 3rd. It was good to be back to my little rondavel in Tabola, good to hug my Tsoene Mathata again, good to see my Basotho family! Ausi Mathabo spent the week at my house in order to control my wild and crazy cat, Tsoene Mathata. He loves to go out at night and raise havoc all over Tabola. I was back home by Friday afternoon.

Saturday I went with the Ramoabis to the funeral of Ntate’s grandmother; she was over one hundred years when she passed. Ntate, being a deacon in the Roman Catholic church, was able to deliver the funeral service; I think it made him quite proud to lay his own grandma to rest…and he looked so eloquent presiding over the service! After she was buried, a huge feast was given in her honor…we ate a traditional meal of papa, moroho (cabbage), khomo (cow), motoho (pumpkin), beets and carrots. My family left before the rest of the village began their “traditional drinking of joala…home-made beer). As we were driving along, we came across an overturned taxi; much to my dismay, it looked just like the taxi we teachers ride to one of our schools, Renekeng. As we came closer, I saw Ntate Power, the owner of our taxi. I asked if he was okay, and he said yes…he also told us that there were no passengers in the taxi at the time of the accident…whew! To make a long story short, no one was hurt, but the taxi is gone forever! So, my longest walk to school, Renekeng, will now be a daily fact for all the teachers and me. It used to be a 1 and ½ hour walk, but we’ve actually shortened the time to about fifty minutes with shortcuts through maize fields, etc!! I guess I’ll stay fit for a while longer!!
On our walk to Renekeng this morning, we discussed a feast which we shall hold at Renekeng tomorrow/ it will be in celebration of ‘M’e Mapalesa’s life and all that is GOOD on the land which houses the Renekeng Primary School. As I had mentioned in an earlier blog entry, many of the teachers believe that the land is bewitched by an evil spirit because of the four teachers’ deaths in the past four years. In an attempt to rid the land of any evil that may be lurking, we have called for many priests and village chiefs to come and give their blessing to the land and us.
I truly believe that this WILL WORK because the teachers believe it. I feel that so long as they bring this positive energy to the feast, that energy will attract more positive energy and push out any negativity that’s been “hanging around”. I’ll try to take some pictures of the “exorcism” if it seems appropriate.

May 3, 2011

Winter has set in early this year; people say it’s because of all the rain we had during the summer. Whatever the reasons, it’s COLD already!
Last week was a setback week for me at work. After all the work ‘M’e Mathabo and I had put into writing a U. S. Embassy self-help grant, we were turned down…not only were we turned down, but they didn’t even read our twenty plus pages of reasons, details, equipment quotes, etc. The embassy claims that it is the Lesotho government who should be responsible for putting electricity into their schools. Since they’ve only done so in some high schools, they might back off completely if they see that we’ll supply electricity through American grants. Of course I argued that when the other schools see that Mopeli has electricity, they’ll want it so badly that they’ll hound the Lesotho government to get them the same…. to no avail.
It was suggested that I rewrite the grant and ask for solar power on the school’s property. The grant deadline was April 30th. but they’ve given me an extension until May 20th for my revisions. I shall put in for solar power, but at the same time I’m writing a Partnership Grant with the Peace Corps for both electricity for the buildings and a tarred road to the school.

I’ll not give up; this town has no hospital, or Dr’s. office…not even a nurse; if we get electricity into Mopeli. We’ll be able to bring an extension of Peka’s St. Rose Clinic to our school!! So, if you haven’t yet let me know that you’d like to be a sponsor for my Partnership Grant, please do now! I’ll need your name, address, phone number and email address….probably all of you who are reading this have already signed on board! Thanks if you have, and please do if you haven’t. I think the more names I have as sponsors, the greater my chances will be for being accepted as a grant winner. I believe your names will be posted on a web site, but I don’t think you’re under ANY obligation to contribute any money.
That week’s over and a new one has begun with fun! Renekeng, my furthest school, has lost its village taxi due to the very poor condition of the road, so we’ve all been hoofing it back and forth to work!. (It’s about an hour and fifteen minute walk each way…through cornfields, etc.) Today two tractors passed by as four teachers and I were trudging through the cold mud. They offered us a lift and of course we said SURE!!! What fun we had bopping along back up to the tarred road! I tried to get some pictures while the tractors were moving, but every time I let go to snap a shot, I thought I’d fall off…sorry!
I’m sure that all of you will here from me as soon as I get this Partnership Grant up and running on a website. Until then, enjoy your warm weather!