Tuesday, September 20, 2011

By Reader Demand: Our Lives as PCVs Part 2

Hello Everyone! My IT problems are resolved and I'm back online. A quick shout out to the McFarlands (not us - the original ones) for the great care package, thank you so much - we loved and appreciated it and really enjoyed thinking of you, also thanks to Dad Froseth for taking care of our business stuff while we are here - I know it kinda sucks especially with all of those Victoria's Secret Catalogs! We also appreciated the anniversary cards we recieved - Thanks again everyone!
We both hope you are all well and enjoying the onset of fall in the Northern Hemisphere, we believe the weather may be identical in both places at this time (at least for our friends in family of the great state of MT). Cold mornings, temperate afternoons, dry, dusty and smoky. The main difference being that we are going into our first spring in a year. We have been enjoying planting our garden with all the normal stuff - peas, beets, carrots, tomatoes, spinach, onions, beans, squash, potatoes, and of course - chard. We are looking forward to eating our own fresh veggies again. My favorite thing so far about the spring here is the pink peach trees blooming across the hillsides in all of the villages - it really is beautiful!
The end of last week we just spent celebrating the 50th Birthday of Peace Corps. We had a big celebration with all of the volunteers in country coming, along with the US Ambassador (Michelle Bond) and King Letsi III. There was a lot of food - including the 5 cows the Prime Minister donated to honor the PCV he was taught by a long time ago, traditional dancers, singing, and us the CHED 11's got to swear in and become real volunteers again! We will try to post some video or photos but you may find a youtube link along with other Lesotho volunteers' blogs here http://www.peacecorpsjournals.com/?Country&country_id=44&full_page=1. It was a good time. Then Shane came back home and I went with some other volunteers to "Pony Camp"at the house of one of the Ed volunteers who is about to go home. It was exciting, I have now ridden horses in 4 countries, but I still have a hard time really "being one" with them. We also almost had a close encounter with one of culturally iconic initiation schools for young men, they actually started chasing us - danger!, but we were on horses and fortunately we had no problems getting away from that area quickly and were able to replan our ride for the day. Got home last Sunday night and was graced with a visit from the flu, I have now been sick in almost every way possible since getting here - bummer! Which is amazing considering we've had about 10 immunizations since being in country. Oh- well, Shane takes great care of me even if there is no laying on the couch and watching movies here -  and I am now invincible again!
So, I'll talk a little more of the inconviniences that were the main subject of the last post. We have since hired out the washing of our laudry, because my "real job" doesn't really afford us the time to spend about 4 hours washing our clothes by hand in large basins and the rest of the day watching all of our expensive REI-esque things dry on the line so they don't get stolen. But we have done it for several months - long enough to appreciate the washing machine and dryer we left back home. Also,  the Basotho are very clean, meticulous people. For example, our host father in training village once was watching us wash and the next week our host mother told me that he had instructed her to teach me how to make sure that Shane's socks were white-white when they came out of the washing bucket. I was greatful that I did not pack white socks myself. Also, I swear we will post pictures soon - and washing photos are among them.
Of course electricity is a pretty fantastic convinience. One of my favorite reasons for it is central heating. As we bid farewell to winter in Lesotho, I can only savor every moment of warmth that stands between me and next winter in our cement block octagonal house, with vaulted tin roof and single pane windows. Next winter I will be hugging our gas heater with its 3 2"x4" panels (we actually can't afford to consistently use all three on the Volunteer Stipend), because it really only heats about a one foot radius around the front and I've already melted one skirt by getting too close out of desperation. Again, we are welcoming spring with open arms! Also, we never really realized how much of a contributer electricity is to what we Americans generally think of as productivity. Without it, it is difficult to see to cook dinner, study afterwards, or even have a reasonalbe length evening. Without it, our bedtime was about 8pm - it even put a damper on our Scrabble games! Even now, as we have it, we have one outlet for a pretty sketchy lamp, charging cell phones, and our electric tea kettle. We have one overhead flourescent tube lightbulb and one (hanging from wires) compact flourescent in the bathroom - it makes a huge different. It is not however, reliable. Also, as you may have guessed, I have a computer at my office. Unfortunately, I could not use it much of the week before last because there was no electricity in the building, a few days the electric all over town has been out - for like, a whole weekend. - One of the reasons we have not been eating meat here is because of sketchy refrigeration! I will close with the aptly stated rule on modern conviniences in Peace Corps - if you have any luxury you can only have two out of three at any one time (the three being phone/internet, water or electric). For example if you have working power and water, the cell phone tower will be down. Or if you have access to the internet, you will go home and the water will be off. You get the idea. I will post again before a month has gone by again, work has been keeping me in the field and the electric being out put a damper on the blogging. We have been loving it here, and have been thinking of you all from here and wishing you the best of the best.
Carol and Shane


  1. Woah- wait a second- people from a "culturally iconic initiation schools for young men" chased you?? Why? That is kind of scary!
    And yes, I am now appreciating the lighting in my apartment, and the electricity that allows me to type on my laptop and send you this message over the internet. And my dishwasher, and clothes washer, and oven. However I am still not appreciating warmth!
    Anyway, this was a great blog post with lots of neat detail and info! It definitely opened my eyes to what you're experiencing.
    Have a great day! I just looked up what time it is in Lesotho and you might not even be awake- its about 5 am your time and almost 10 pm my time. Off to bed!

  2. It's Homecoming week for the Bobcats and the world is blue and gold and deliciously warm. Just a glimpse of home...Thinking of you. Michele

  3. Thanks Liz and Michelle, it is great to hear that you are still enjoying. I had a little bout of homesickness last weekend so thanks Michelle - have fun at the game!
    Yeah, about the initiation school, we'll probably do a post talking about it a bit at some point, but it is extremely secretive - even to other Basotho, so we were definitely not welcome there. Everything turned out OK though! Thinking of you guys and thanks for the compliment on the post.