Friday, November 18, 2011

November 18, 2011: Road To Mopeli is On-Line!!

WOW!!! My Peace Corps Project was finally accepted in Washington. Please check out the following website for information and donations…every little bit will help, and THANK YOU in advance.

This link represents the first phase of the project; the electricity phase.
Due to the scope of the Road To Mopeli project, the Peace Corps is having us complete it in Phases. This first phase will pay for getting the electricity run to the existing school buildings of Mopeli Government Primary School.

Once we've completed this phase successfully, we will be able to move on to subsequent phases of the project, ultimately putting in the brick road which will facilitate the establishment of evening educational programs, AIDS/HIV education and prevention training and medical assistance for the ~12,000 residents of the ten surrounding villages.

The sooner we reach our fundraising goal for Phase One, the sooner we can complete the phase and move on to the next phase.

Thank you in advance for helping to support this project. Any donation you can make will help us reach our goal.


Monday, November 14, 2011

November 12, 2011

Today is a very special day for me; it’s the day, two years ago, when I arrived in the Mountain kingdom of Lesotho. It is also Tsoene Mathata’s second birthday…and he’s still as feisty as ever! My life is so much richer because of this day…thank you, Universe.

Addendum…it is the morning of November 13th…I have just come from outside where there was a great hu-bub of chaotic sounds and movements…people in my Basotho family, all chasing Tsoene and yelling. It seems that one of Ntate’s baby chicks escaped from its cage and right into the waiting mouth of Tsoene!! He helped himself to his own after-birthday dinner. He is such a mathata!
Ah, things are deteriorating rapidly. Ntate wants me to get rid of Tsoene; he says he’s a wild cat who will eat all the baby chicks. I have said that I cannot get rid of him…he is like my son. The Basotho do not understand this. I have offered to buy better caging to keep the chickens in, but Ntate says, “NO, they should be free; they are only fenced because of your wild cat!” I have offered to move to another place, but Ntate says,”No, the Peace Corps will think that we don’t like you.”
My supervisor, ‘M’e Mathabo is coming by after church, to see if she can help resolve this problem. My cat is truly named Tsoene Mathata. The expression, “Ha ho na mathata” (no problem) is sometimes misleading; in life there ARE problems. Our strength of character lies in how well we handle/solve them. Wish me luck.

Addendum #2
‘M’e Mathabo came and talked with the Ramoabis. Tomorrow after school we will go to the market and buy materials to make a better cage for the wild chickens and their babies.

November 10, 2011

Strange events never cease to amaze me about Renekeng Government Primary School. Today some of the teachers and I visited a little girls who’s been absent from school for well over a month now…because she’d allegedly been poisoned by a classmate Both of the girls are in class 1.
The story goes like this (although nothing’s been proven…even with a police investigation): It seems that a first grader invited her friend into a dunga after school and offered her some hair elixir to eat. (Dungas, by the way, are very deep crevices in the earth, made from water erosion.) The little girl, being hungry after school, ate the elixir, went home and then became violently ill. The girl’s mama immediately picked up the girl, who was convulsing by this time, and jumped into a taxi to get her to the nearest clinic. One of the teachers happened to be riding in that very taxi and, upon seeing how serious the situation was, convinced the mom to go to Maputsoe, the nearest big town, rather than the local clinic in Peka, which is always out of medicine and never has a doctor available.
By the time the three of them reached the bigger clinic in Maputsoe, the little thing was barely breathing. The clinic sent the three of them to a hospital in the camp town of Hlotse. Many rides later, the trio arrived at the hospital, where all the nurses just shook their heads in despair while the mom and teacher stood helplessly and cried with fear. A passing doctor happened to see the now very still child, grabbed her and rushed her away. After staying with her and working on her frail little body all night, the girl began to show some signs of life. She was sent home in three days, but returned because she had turned blind and was shaking constantly.
While all this was going on, the little girl who offered the elixir to her friend was questioned. She repeated the same story over and over: “My grandma told me to bring my friend to the dunga after school. She told me to only bring her and then tell her to eat the elixir. My grandma said I was not to eat it myself.”
The grandmas of both children were then brought in for questioning. (The mother was still at the hospital with her child)…Now, here’s where the story gets even more intriguing: It seems that the mother of the child who was poisoned is a policewoman in the neighboring town of Peka. Not only is she on the police force there, but the previous week she had arrested the son of the grandmother who had allegedly told her grandchild to feed the elixir to her classmate.
Are you following all this??? This still has not been resolved. After several days of questioning and several days of giving the same answer, the little girl who said she’d indeed fed the elixir to her friend came to school with many bruises on her body. She told the school that the grandma, for telling her story, had beaten her. When the grandma was again questioned, this time about the wounds on her granddaughter’s body, she said she had beaten the girl for lying to us.
The little girl, whom we visited today, has regained her sight, but she has a constant shaking in both hands and a problem with her speech. . She seemed quite alert and happy to see all of us; that made us happy and relieved. I am hoping that the family will be able to afford to bring her to a specialist in South Africa.
When we questioned the grandma about her granddaughter’s return to Renekeng, an absolute NO was answered; they are so afraid of more “witchcraft” being set upon the family. Renekeng’s villages are indeed strangely superstitious.
It is my hope that I shall see the little girl in school when it resumes in January, after the summer vacation.