24 March, 2010

Getting Ready for the World Cup

David writes:

With one of the stadiums less than a couple of hours’ drive away from the capital, Lesotho has its mind on the World Cup.

At church on Sunday, it even found its way into the notices.  A churchwarden announced that there is to be a rally for youth in our local town on Saturday.  This was deemed sufficiently important that, later ,a Lay Minister urged the members of the Mothers’ Union to get their children to go along.

The aim of the rally is to warn the youth about the dangers of human trafficking.  There is concern that they will be enticed away with offers of jobs to help with the World Cup … only to be pressed into a life of prostitution and crime.

Over the past few months, the press have run articles along these lines and, now the World Cup is nearing, the campaign to inform young people of the dangers is hotting up.

21 March, 2010

School activities

Elizabeth writes:

School seems to be settling down to a routine, and feels much more like a real school this year.

Last week, Thursday was a public holiday for Moshoeshoe’s Day when Lesotho celebrates the founder of the nation with cultural activities.  At Fusi, on Friday, the students were asked to come to school dressed in traditional Basotho costume.  As you can see,some chose the minimalist approach wearing the little grass skirt for a traditional dance, while others wrapped themselves cosily in the Basotho blanket which is worn most of the year round with great pride.

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They thoroughly enjoyed themselves and also enjoyed tasting some food made from ground wheat which many of them had never tried before.

This week, the principal, tired of hearing the students asking if they could go on a school trip, decided to take the whole school on an exploration of the local area.  One of the things that many of them had never seen were the San rock paintings under the cliffs which tower over the school. There are many of these paintings throughout the country (although more in the South) and they are very beautiful.  The San bushmen inhabited the area a few hundred years ago but they were all driven away and the few survivors live mainly in Botswana and Namibia.

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14 March, 2010

Simple Pleasures

David writes:

Our Peace Corps neighbour has had a bad cough for a couple of weeks and was eventually taken to hospital in Bloemfontein for tests. Since we know it’s no fun being ill on your own, we went to Bloem for  the weekend to see her. We’re pleased to say that she’s now on the road to recovery and is back in Lesotho.

But what did we treat ourselves to on our outing to the big city?

My first treat was being given a three month visa when we crossed into South Africa. Officially, we’re only supposed to be given one lasting a week. Since the visa takes up half a page in your passport, the occasional trip across the border can soon eat up the pages.

Once in Bloem, I stocked up with some non-fiction and a magazine or two (in ‘Exclusive Books’) while Elizabeth browsed the jigsaws (in ‘Toy Cave’ which has an excellent selection of good quality jigsaws).

Back in the hotel the hot water flowing out of the taps proved a novelty not to be missed – although the novelty of having a TV soon waned. We also visited the cinema, although on Thursday a new six-screen cinema opened in Maseru, which now brings the total number of cinema screens in Lesotho to … six. (It’s in a new shopping mall which is also home to the only escalators I have seen in Lesotho. A fun way to spend time – well there’s not a lot else to do in Maseru – is to watch people experimenting with how to get on and off this new phenomenon.)

We also ate far more rich food than we should have done, so our usual Sunday roast (of chicken pieces) was replaced with a sausage or two to help our systems recover.

If you are going to Bloem for the football, you will be pleased to know that they are still working on the stadium. Also, the receptionist at our guest house told us that the owner had increased his prices for the duration of the cup … but they were still waiting for bookings.

7 March, 2010

Responsibilties at church!

Elizabeth writes:

We arrived at church as usual this morning, sang the first hymn, then everyone sat down while the priest started to speak (in Sesotho of course) to the congregation.  It all sounded very serious and I picked up the words for Church, prayer and work.  After about twenty minutes (may have been longer – time flies when you don’t understand what’s going on!) everyone stood up and started to leave the building.  Strange!  Were they sulking at what had been said?  We were then enlightened as to what was going on:

Apparently, he is concerned that the people are not taking enough responsibility for what needs to be done (so they are sulking!?) and as a start everyone should help clear the grass that has just been cut around the church.  Out we went and joined in the “haymaking”.  Sadly, we did not have the camera with us, but here is the evidence of everyone’s hard work.  So they weren’t sulking!

grass.jpg

Just as well they weren’t sulking as it was a day for giving extra contributions to the priest.  There was an extra plate for money alongside the usual collection plate, but the Mothers’ Union went one better – they brought groceries and garden produce, filled a wheelbarrow and processed with it up the aisle to the accompaniment of singing, dancing and waving flags etc.

I am often reminded of when I was a young child and things just seemed to happen around me.  It was all a bit puzzling but sometimes quite entertaining and that is how it is here much of the time.

6 March, 2010

An Unexpected Request

David writes:

Weeks can be unpredictable here.

On Monday morning, the Rector called in on his way to work (he stays up in Hlotse during the week, where he works for World Vision). He deposited a few books and said would I be kind enough to put together a Marriage Preparation course for him as he had several couples who would be getting married soon and he had never got around to putting a course together himself. Then off he went to work.

The books proved to be rather a mixed bag. One was printed in 1958 and seemed a little out-dated, whereas one on sex seemed to be a little too comprehensive. However, one of the books had useful material and with the help of the internet and e-mails – my thanks to those who gave their help – I put together a five part course which I gave to the Rector on Friday evening and he said he would look through it and make notes.

He called in toady, Saturday, and I thought he might be giving me his comments but instead asked for copies of the material for the first part of the course as he had two couples in church and was going to use it with them. He came back again, later, saying one of the couples wasn’t able to make his next session but had enjoyed it so much that they wanted the material for it so that they could work through it on their own.

So, I’ll take that as an encouraging start. It also seems to confirm that our new Rector is a man who likes to move fast and get things done.

3 March, 2010

Self sufficient?

Elizabeth writes:

The feeding programme at school is going well.
We seem to have got some sort of routine going with purchasing the food required.
This week ,however, we were very pleased with ourselves.  The cabbage served with the maize meal was actually grown by the students themselves in the school garden.  Today, also, every child had an egg with their meal.   The eggs were paid for from profits made by students selling snacks at break.  We are keen to have an increase in protein in their diet, and the children were delighted with the extra variety.

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Staff comforts

Elizabeth writes:

We are delighted that the staff toilets at school are now complete.
All mod cons as you can see!

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