Sunday, September 18, 2011

September 16, 2011

Spring in Lesotho. It’s a lovely time of year. There are blossoming fruit trees all over the countryside, and children’s mouths water in anticipation of the coming fruits.

September 9, 2011

Cultural Day for the government schools in Leribe took place today at Hlotse. It was a day filled with dramas in both Sesotho and English and many traditional Basotho dances. What a day it was. (September is like March in the Northern Hemisphere, filled with gusty winds, cool mornings and evenings and lovely sunny days). When we weren’t busy trying to shield our eyes from the enormous amounts of dust blowing at us, we enjoyed watching the young ones perform. The rhythms are incredible and usually made with only plastic buckets as makeshift drums and the lovely voices of the student singers. The songs and dances are passed down from generation to generation; you’ll not find a “dance or singing school” anywhere in Lesotho, yet almost every child can sing and dance the stories of their heritage.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

August 29, 2011

It’s almost September!…and August has been filled with its ups and downs. I have officially requested a one-year extension to my service in Lesotho. I want, desperately, to see my projects come close to fruition before I head back to the United States. Getting my project proposal together has been a difficult task.. I finally submitted it to the Lesotho Peace Corps office last week and was told that it’s a nearly impossible task I am attempting. So, do I give up? Do I just say I’ve bitten off more than I can chew?…forget it and just go home??? I can’t! I can’t tell if I am dealing more with the ultra idealistic Rusty or the ultra stubborn one. At any rate, here I stay for one more year .I shall certainly give more time to writing down details that the Peace Corps needs on paper. I can understand where this extreme organization with meticulous and very detailed questions has come from…no money waste, no fraud and full participation on the part of the Tabola community. I shall try to give the office what they want.
Enough about how tough things are. The weather has changed, yea!!!! Spring is definitely here; fruit trees are showing lovely pink and white blossoms, little lambs, calves and donkeys are “popping out” in every field, compound, etc., and young are and old are enjoying the longer daylight hours!
Last Friday our region of schools participated in a cultural day on the grounds of St Rose Mission in Peka. I am so very proud to announce that Mopeli Primary School took first place in the girls’ traditional dancing competition. We shall go on to compete in the district of Leribe contest on September 9th. Wish us luck! Yes, I did go wearing the traditional Basotho garb… seshoeshoe, scarf and blanket. In fact, I’ve become so accustomed to the blanket that half way through the day I found myself, like the Basotho ladies, taking it off my shoulders and rearranging it around my waist.
This Saturday the volunteers from my group, Ed.’10, will go to Maseru, to the site where Tom was killed last September 3rd. We’ll hold a small memorial service in his honor and then be on our ways back to our sites. It’s hard to believe that that was just a year ago.

Looking back on the past two years, I realize that it’s been darn hard; I guess the Peace Corps is right in saying “…hardest job you’ll ever love.”

On yet another note, enjoy some of the “everyday” pictures of Lesotho.

1. me, Andrea and Nathan waiting at the bus depot in Bloemfontein

2. the hostel in Cape Town

3. This is when Kimiko, Andrea and I went to Katse Dam for my birthday. In the picture are the three of us, Ryan and Nate...all volunteers.

4. Herd boys in traditional Basotho blankets

5. Me Matumo and her daughter, Lerato in school uniform

6. just a friendly rooster visiting Mopeli

7. A view of the convergence of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, taken from Table Mt. in Cape Town.

Missing all of you and the United States a lot, Rusty.