30 December, 2009

Rain – or lack of it

It is supposed to be the rainy season.  It started well in October, but there has been hardly any rain for a couple of months and the sun is very hot.  The crops are wilting.
Here is a picture I took this morning of the river which runs through the village of Ha Fusi.

river.jpg

29 December, 2009

Family News

We’ve booked our tickets to spend the month of July back home in England.

This will mean that, as well as enjoying the traditional British summer, we will avoid some of the freezing cold Lesotho winter.
However, the more astute amongst you may remember that we said we did not intend to return home unless something like the arrival of a new grandchild was imminent.  So, congratulations are due to Caroline and Steven, expecting their first baby in early July.

26 December, 2009

Christmas

Elizabeth writes:

Christmas for us has always been associated with church, spending time with the family, enjoying good food and keeping ourselves protected from the cold.  This year was going to be a bit different.

Firstly, we managed church.  The service started early at 8 o’clock with a Sesotho version of “O, Come all ye faithful”.  People arrived gradually and by half past 9 the place was full.  As well as all the standard parts of the service, there were quite a few babies to be baptised – 65 in fact.  There were so many that after about 50 had been “done” the priest thought he had finished and returned to the front of the church to continue with the service.  He had to go back later and baptise six who had been left out.  Here are some of their families trying to squeeze into the front of the church.

church2.jpg

Some of you may think I can’t add up, but the truth is that the other families arrived at church too late, so they had to wait until the end of the service for baptism part 3.  The end of the service did not come until 12 o’clock – we had been there 4 hours, but it was fun.

As to the other aspects of Christmas :- we have a good friend and neighbour, Karen, who is a Peace Corps volunteer from America.  We decided to have a joint celebration with her and two other American friends.  Last week, when we returned from Swaziland in a hired car, we stopped in Ladysmith (yes, the famous one) and stocked up at the supermarket.  There we found turkeys, Christmas puddings and other goodies for sale.  The meal we produced was, we decided, the best meal any of us had enjoyed since arriving in Lesotho a year ago.  It was delicious.

turkey.jpg

dinner.jpg

elizabeth1.jpg

It was very strange to be eating such a meal outside in the hot sunshine.
We had a lovely day, but it goes without saying that we missed being with the family.

24 December, 2009

Greetings


Elizabeth & David would like to wish all their friends
 and family a very happy and blessed Christmas

 from a hot and peaceful Lesotho.

Krestemissa e monate

us.jpg

22 December, 2009

Swaziland & the Sea

Elizabeth writes:

Summer is well and truly here so it seemed like a good time for some exploration further afield.

Together with our American friend Karen, we hired a car and headed for Swaziland (time to get your atlases out again methinks).  We drove all day through South Africa to this country which is even smaller than Lesotho.  We had booked into a wildlife reserve and stayed in delightful beehive accommodation built in traditional Swazi style.

beehives.jpg

Our first impression was that Swaziland is much greener than Lesotho and has many more trees.  This made a wonderful change – Lesotho is beautiful, but quite stark and barren so we felt more at home.  The whole country seemed tidier and better organised although the facts are that it is also one of the poorest developing nations also suffering from the terrible AIDS epidemic.  It is more popular with South African visitors resulting in better tourist facilities.  We managed to spend freely on nice meals out and local crafts.  We spent several days relaxing, driving round the park admiring the animals (mainly antelope, zebras and warthogs) and generally admiring the beautiful views.

view.jpg

With three drivers, distance was no object so we finished our holiday with a couple of days on the South African coast.  St Lucia is a huge wetland reserve with lovely beaches and it was wonderful to be by the sea again (Karen is from San Diego, California so she misses the ocean too).  I couldn’t resist the temptation to swim and had a great splash fighting the huge waves.

elizabethbeach.jpg

The wetland reserve is supposed to have rhino, elephants and leopard, all of which which we failed to spot, but the bird watching was great including some magnificent varieties of eagle.

Back home now, and it is swelteringly hot – doesn’t really feel like Christmas is approaching.

9 December, 2009

Book Drives

David writes:

You may have read that Fusi Secondary School had applied to the African Library Project.  It is an American scheme, whereby communities in the U.S. aim to collect between 1,000 and 2,000 books and the money to ship them out to establish a library in a school or local community in Africa.

Although we had heard that Fusi’s application had been accepted, we didn’t know where the book drives would take place until we came across this posting on the internet:

http://media.www.theclockonline.com/media/storage/paper569/news/2009/12/04/News/Book-Drive.Exceeds.Expectations-3845792.shtml

We have since heard, via a Peace Corps contact, that the book drives at Plymouth State University and the surrounding area have been so successful that they have raised 4,000 books and will need to split the donations between Fusi and another school.

Our thanks go to all those who donated and especially those who organised the book drives.  We’re really excited at the idea of all those books arriving next year.

4 December, 2009

Going down

Elizabeth writes:

The end of term has to mean “get away for a few days” so we visited Semonkong, one of the remote villages in the mountains.  We stayed in a very nice lodge by the river and did the usual resting, walking, eating and of course pony trekking…all very enjoyable.  But Semonkong offers something different – the highest commercial abseil in the world – 204m alongside a waterfall;  I just had to do it.

This is the waterfall as seen from our pony trek the day before:

waterfall.jpg

On the way down – you have to look carefully for the yellow dot that is me!

way-down.jpg

Did it – David says I’m crazy.  It was amazing.

after.jpg