Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March 21, 2012

The third set of library books has arrived!! Now all three of my schools will have a student library…and what a library this one will be! Yea for Lepholisa. Kathy Parker, the woman who organized this A.L.P. (African Library Project) donation, had somehow gotten in touch with Scholastic Books, and they’ve donated the most incredible sets for our learners. I have not finished cataloging them all…there are sixteen cartons…but, so far I’ve seen at least ten sets of twenty books on various subjects. This is enough for a class of forty to use easily.
I should be finished cataloguing by tomorrow, as I have only three cartons left to open. Once all the books have been recorded, I shall meet with the teachers to help them set up a system for knowing reading levels, subjects, etc. I’ll also help them set up classroom lending rules, since this is the school where the books will have to be kept in individual classrooms.
Thank you, thank you, thank you Kathy.
At Mopeli, I am told that the bulbs have been placed in some of the classrooms. I haven’t been there this week because of Lepholisa’s library, but I can’t wait to see what the rooms look like with light bulbs in the ceilings!!!
It’s starting to show signs of Maria (winter) here in Tabola. The mornings are crisp and clear and the evenings are downright cold! The days are still quite pleasant. My walks to and from Lepholisa are very special. I’ve learned to cut across fields and meadows to shorten the trip and make it more interesting! I’m becoming quite familiar with the animals and pre-school children along the way…they’re always outside! Most of the dogs don’t bother to bark at me anymore. I am sure they’re thinking, “Oh that’s just the nkhono singing her way to school!”
This has actually been a good week for the arrival of the new library. Last week was hectic with all the sports competitions, but this is now testing week for the first quarter of school. Most of the classrooms are quiet with students busy writing exams.
Oh, I almost forgot…I managed to give out ten application forms for Peace Corps scholarships to high school. I hope that all ten of my candidates win scholarships because they’re all from families with little means; many of them are orphans or double orphans. The applications have to be completed and handed in by April 20th. The candidates have to be in the top one third of their class; they also have to write two essays: Why I Want to Go to School and What I’d Like to do When Finished With School. Last year I handed in six applications and five of them received scholarships. Unfortunately, the limit is 10 per volunteer.
A fellow teacher, ‘M’e Marethabile, has given me some wonderful peaches and apples from her garden! This weekend I shall teach her how to make peach and apple pies…she’s never seen or eaten pie before!
Okay, it’s definitely time to get under that nice warm comforter! ‘night, Rusty

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Missing Entry from March 3, 2012

We spent Friday cleaning up and preparing the grounds for the big Meshoeshoe Day sports events (next Friday, March 9).

There will be government schools from all over Leribe here that day, and it's where we're gonna launch our first sales for the project! Although the grounds are slanted, they should be good enough for the big run.

The man with the cows is Ntate Mafarika; he brought them and his plow to try to make the ground more level for running...hah! I sent you the pictures of the cows on the school grounds because, believe it or not, they were brought in as lawn mowers!!!

The picture of the kids jumping rope is great because they saved all the old plastic bags they picked up as trash and made themselves a jump-rope for break time!!

Here are some more pictures of the electricians installing the wiring!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

sequel to a typical day...another typical day.

Friday was something else!  I was to be at the bus stop (Halepholisa stop) by 7, so I left my mokhoro at 6:30 am and enjoyed the nice cool morning walk.  When I got to the stop, of course I was the only adult there.  At about 7:30 the first teacher arrived; the others came in spurts after that.
The bus finally showed up at a bit after 8...only, it was so small that it could take only half of the approximately 150 students.  So we CRAMMED the first batch into the bus, making sure our runners were on the first load.  Then 'M'e Matsobotsi and I waited with the other half; we waited and waited and then the blistering sun... (do you remember how open the tarred road is?)...until 5 minutes past 11!!! Thankfully, I did have a hat and umbrella to protect me from the sun.  

We got to Fobane by a bit before 1 o'clock, just in time to help feed the kids some lunch; we packed up and headed home before 2:30 and were back in Tabola by a little bit after 4.

Luckily, I still had enough time to run over to Mopeli to see how they and Renekeng had done at the government competition.  Mopeli didn't win anything, but they were wonderful hosts.  Renekeng took 2nd. place and will compete at the district run...then, maybe even the national run. In the confusion of hosting, Mopeli  forgot to set out the things to sell.  Aah, my beloved Basotho friends!!!  But it's okay; there'll be other selling occasions.

'M'e Mukunutlu walked home with me because she wanted to buy one of the Monyane's hens...she's the teacher whose class is making all the jewelry. She's promised me some fresh eggs.!

Friday, March 9, 2012

March 7, 2012 A Typical Day at Lepholisa

The first thing I did when I got to school this morning was go over to inspect the progress that had been made on the roof for the new classrooms…slow but steady goes the work.

Then I sat for a moment to catch my breath (it’s about a 45 minute walk to school). Actually, the walk to school is much more pleasant than the walk home; it takes about ten more minutes to get home because it’s slightly uphill all the way and I am usually walking it in the heat of the day!
Once sufficiently rested, I ambled down to the 2, 3 and 5 classrooms. They are about another five-minute walk away from the main building. I thoroughly enjoyed helping with a class 3-addition lesson and a class 2-subtraction lesson!

Then I headed back to the main building, where I sat in a room filled with approximately sixty kids (classes 6 and 7). We were all quietly reading when there suddenly erupted a loud, chaotic bunch of screams and everyone started scrambling out of the room. A snake had visited us! (Poor thing; he was immediately taken care of by the class 7 boys.)

Once the children had returned to the room and settled down, I went outside to visit with our principal, “M’e Masello, who was giving class 4 a lesson in Sesotho. They were working outside because they share a room with class 1, and it was just too noisy for them.

I went back inside to watch the young ones having a Sesotho lesson also!

It was a good lesson for me…yup, I’m just about at grade one level in Sesotho writing!!
After lunch we all met on the field to practice for Friday’s running competition at Fobone.
My walk home was HOT and tiring; I collapsed on my bed and just stayed motionless until my body cooled down. I am so lucky to live in a mokhoro. It’s much cooler inside during the summer days and quite warm inside at night when the temperature outside drops!
It was a good day!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February 29, 2012

Yesterday when I arrived at Lepholisa, I was happily surprised with the vision of students carrying long planks of wood from the village to the school.  Work has finally begun on the roof for the two new classrooms!! Once the roofs are up, all that’s left is the floor and panes of glass for some of the windows. Yea!!!
​Today at Mopeli I saw the beginning of the installation of the wires for electricity!  

I cannot begin to tell you how good it feels to see pipe dreams become reality.  If luck is with us, and Basotho timing with us too, there’ll be electricity at Mopeli before the dark days of winter set in, and two extra classrooms at Lepholisa so that the children do not have to be taught out in the cold!
​Sometimes I feel as though there are just too many blessings to count.  Mopeli held a fund-raiser for the electricity project today.  It was called “Funny Day”.  Children were allowed to dress up in crazy outfits for school.  It cost them fifty licente (that’s about 7 cents) to come to school in a crazy outfit.  Those who wore uniforms to school were charged M1 to enter (that’s about 14 cents).  Needless to say, teaching was a bit chaotic today…even the teachers dressed up.  

Other fundraising efforts for the Road to Mopeli Project include handmade jewelry and brooms for sale. Below are pictures of some of the jewelry the children and teachers have been creating.

Also below are images of women collecting grass to fashion into brooms. The community will try to sell both the jewelry and the brooms to raise funds for the community portion of the costs of Phase One of the project; getting electricity to Mopeli and for Phase Two; the road itself.

More to follow…