September 5, 2009

Disclaimer: I will eventually post the photos I talked about, but the
internet is painfully slow today, even by Lesotho standards.

THE LIBRARY IS ON ITS WAY. PLEASE HELP OUT! Contact Barbara Burk at, (732)577-1941, or 104 Juniper Dr. Freehold, NJ

It's been quite a while since I've updated, and believe me it?s not
from lack of things happening. The main reason I haven?t written is
because I feel very distanced from technology in lots of ways (and not
so much in others) but I don?t really enjoy sitting behind computers
like I used to and when I have the option to sit in front of one it?s
probably the first time I?ve seen Americans in a month or two.
Lots has changed at school. We had three teachers quit in the period
around our winter break (remember, the seasons are reversed) which
means 40% or 2/5ths of the staff has left since I joined, I can?t take
responsibility for this, as the last Peace Corps volunteer was at my
school longer than any other teacher. He served 2 years.
Fortunately the three teachers who quit were the three worst at the
school and the three that have since replaced them have been pretty
incredible thus far. ?M?e Ntsatsi graduated from Form E, by the skin
of her teeth, last year (she was, however, the only )one who graduated
last year... the other 15 students failed their year end test). She is
still very shy around the other teachers as a result, I?m sure, of the
fact that quite a few of them probably hit her with sticks for talking
during class just the year before. However, she does lots of work and
gets along very well with the Form A?s and B?s. ?M?e Mphati is
actually my host-sister, who was living in Maseru till she got the
job. She?s very high-spirited and is easily one of the best educated,
motivated and smartest teachers at the school, it?s also nice to have
her around because she knows the deal with PCVs well already. Ntate
Khotso is my favorite of the new group. He?s very well educated, and
spent a fair amount of time in South Africa, so we?re able to talk
about lots of things: he?s a big fan of Wu-Tang and is very interested
in learning chess.
I do want to admit I just had a chuckle to myself imagining some of
the members of my family trying to figure out how to pronounce any of
those names. ;-)
This weekend is the annual district ?ball sports? meet. This means
that all the high school and secondary school children come to the
camp town for the weekend and play soccer, netball, and volleyball.
They also manage to get really drunk and cause lots of problems for
their teachers (who also manage to get really drunk). The first day
finished and my school won the boys and girls soccer matches we played
and lost at netball, which is no surprise considering we don?t have
netball hoops in my area, so they just practice by throwing balls back
and forth. For those not in the know, netball is like basketball with
no dribbling, a short field, and no backboards. Other than that
there?s almost no difference. Here?s a picture (my school?s team is in
the green):
On the home front, the sheep have birthed 3 baby lambs, and I was able
to witness one of the births (and managed to get a little involved).
The next picture could be a little gross (only a little) but this lamb
is not even a minute old, so I figure I?d post it anyway.
The most exciting part of these births is that it marks the beginning
of SPRING! This means the temperature has been consistently higher
than 50 degrees in my rondavel, which is very exciting, during June
and July it never topped 53. The sun is wonderful and has increased my
mood a lot, and now all the peach trees are blooming so there?s bright
pink everywhere. Lesotho really can be beautiful.
I?ve been teaching my brothers how to play Frisbee with the hopes of
them learning Ultimate Frisbee and a potential match being played
here, which I think would be a lot of fun. They really enjoy the game
and a bunch of my students and Bo-Abuti from the neighborhood are
getting really into it.
With the return of spring comes the return of the insects. Fortunately
I took the advice of some fellow PCVs and cut my mosquito netting
(malaria is not a problem in Lesotho, and mosquitoes don?t really hang
out at my elevation, 6,000 feet or so) and used it to make screens. I
also managed to accidentally trap a brown button spider (I think)
which is up there with the black widow, in it. It is one of the
smaller spiders I?ve seen running around my rondavel, but 2 inches for
a spider is nothing to shake a stick at. Again, the picture is not so
great because of the netting being in the way, but it demonstrates the
I?ve been running a lot lately, planning tentatively for the Cape Town
marathon in Easter with the potential to do one or two in the time
before then.
That?s enough for now, here?s a bunch of pictures from the past few months: