21 June, 2010

Growing family

When we left for two years in Lesotho in January 2009, people were asking if we would make a return visit during our stay.
Our reply was always – nothing planned but a new grandchild would be a good reason.

Well,here we are back in Blighty – school has finished for the cold Lesotho winter and we are welcoming the new grandchild.
Yesterday (20th June), Zoe arrived as a beautiful daughter for proud parents Caroline and Steven.  She is very small so Caroline will probably be in hospital for a few days but there are no serious worries and we are delighted with the new arrival.

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12 June, 2010

Snow

Elizabeth writes:

The last few days have been freezing cold and lots of rain, even though it is supposed to be the dry season.  Last night the climax came with a covering of snow…

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It rained a lot in the night so there was no opportunity to build a snowman :-(
As you see, the snow was quite icy so not the nice powdery stuff I missed at home earlier this year.

Project Management

David writes:

Two years ago, when we were considering whether we would go to Lesotho, I attended a conference in Cardiff for NGOs and others working in Lesotho. At one of the break-out sessions, people spoke of the need for better business skills in NGOs to make their work more effective.

So I was pleased to be able to make a contribution earlier this week by running a day’s workshop on Project Management for Lesotho Durham Link. It took me quite a while to put it all together – well over a month – but what made it worthwhile was when people came up afterwards and said that they would be changing the way that they did some things as a result of what they had learned on the day.

8 June, 2010

David’s Sixtieth

David writes:

As usual, my birthday followed exactly two weeks after Elizabeth’s.

I was told that we were going away for a surprise weekend and that I should pack exactly the same things as I had done for Elizabeth’s birthday. The first surprise came when, having packed my passport, I discovered that I wouldn’t be needing it as Elizabeth had arranged to hire the Cathedral Venture – no sleek racehorse of a vehicle, but one that doesn’t object whether it is climbing mountains or going over rutted tracks – and we were going into the centre of the country.

I found myself taken to Mohale Dam, the last on our list of “places to see” in Lesotho. We started the weekend with a guided tour – just for the two of us – of the dam and its control room (actually about eight push buttons in a box on the wall, thanks to modern technology).

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In fact most of the weekend was “just for the two of us”. We spent a couple of nights at the Mohale Lodge – a hotel with 69 rooms and we think one of the others was occupied. But there was nobody else in the dining room either evening. So there was no need to be embarrassed when the staff appeared with a cake specially baked and iced in my honour. You will note that there are more staff than guests.

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On my birthday, we spent the afternoon on a boat ride. It was a good job that we had the Venture as the tour guide / boat captain had no transport and we had to collect her from the village and take her out to the boat. It was a real treat to have the boat to ourselves and enjoy the lovely trip surrounded by the mountains.

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On the Sunday we went pony trekking. I had never ridden a horse until two years ago, but these rides are becoming a feature of our time in Lesotho. Again, it was just us two out for the ride with our guide, amongst some lovely varied scenery visiting several small waterfalls and not another person in sight.

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It is the start of the winter (and dry season) here but the weather was not too cold, although we did see ice on some puddles of water during our horse ride. We were up in the mountains, having driven through God Help Me Pass and others on the way up, but the sun shone and the weekend was perfect.

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2 June, 2010

Confirmation at St Agnes


David writes:

 

In May we had a big event at St Agnes – the Bishop came for a confirmation service, so the weekend was spent in preparation, both of the candidates – many of whom stayed overnight in the church – and of the food.

 

During term time, the boarding students at St Agnes attend an early morning mass in English.  That Sunday they stayed after the service and lined the hill to greet the Bishop, who was escorted up to the church in true Basotho style by over a dozen horsemen to much cheering and ululation.

 

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There were 56 confirmation candidates, gathered from St Agnes and its eight daughter churches.  The congregation was too large for the church, so we all gathered outside on chairs, benches or sitting on the ground.  The weather was just right – dry and warm but with a fair amount of cloud cover.  When the sun did shine through, up went a flurry of umbrellas to provide shade – which did not always make it easy to see what was going on.

 

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The singing was more organised than usual, but eventually the men of the Bernard Mizeki guild took over and started one of their favourite songs – to the delight of the Bishop (a guild member) who borrowed a stick from one of the men and joined in.