Hello and hoping you all had the best Thanksgiving! Above you can see the attempt for Thursday night, there was no turkey, but we found hamburger - so we had hamburger patties, carrots, cranberry sauce from dried cranberries, Shane's favorite - mashed potatoes and we finished it with the amazing Chocolate Loaf cake from 101 cookbooks. We worked all day and then came home and put this little dinner together, we also had a special and delicious Cabernet-Shiraz from S.A. We also got to enjoy a couple calls from our parents, so that was also very special - thanks guys!
And, it snowed, so we felt right at home. So, I mentioned before how hot and dry it has been, well we finally got some rain on Wednesday, and then on Thursday it was drizzling and cold all day but then it actually started snowing. It is supposed to be coming on to the middle of summer here so I think this was like the freak late June snows in Bozeman. We didn't really have anything to cover the tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash and the few other (cold sensitive) plants remaining in our garden that have survived all of the other bad conditions and pests that Lesotho has thrown at them so far. So, does anyone else find it ironic that the climate change summit has just started in Durban? Also, now between the drought and the snow I am praying that things turn around so that we are not extra busy with WFP emergency feeding next year. It is definitely one job that you can be thankful when you don't have business.
So, we did also enjoy visiting some other volunteers over the weekend. We had a reasonable sized Thanksgiving day feast, with chicken, squash, Stovetop stuffing sent from our homeland and many other delicious dishes. We had a great time visiting with and enjoying the culinary talents of our fellow volunteers. During our visit we also got to participate in an HIV/AIDS awareness activity hosted for the community by the PCVs that also hosted our T-day party. We got to watch MTV's "Shuga" created for the staying alive campaign. We really liked that show and it is a great way to open discussion on important topics especially for young people. They also had an anonymous question box, so the youth could ask questions on paper and then at the end we answered them all. They asked some very good questions about making choices, responsibilities, drugs, alcohol, sex, pregnancy, slang terms from the movie and many others. So, we the PCVs got the pleasure of answering these delicate questions in front of a relatively large audience of impressionable young minds - no pressure!
So, one of the reasons for the event is that World AIDS Day is this Thursday, so as PCVs in Lesotho we are encouraged to organize or help organize awareness events in our community. Shane and I have been working with some of the stakeholders in our district to organize the celebration for the whole district; however, I'm not going to talk further about this experience on the open acess forum of our blog. We are excited, but we are sure it is not going to be put together before this Thursday, stay tuned - we'll post some pictures when it happens. I am also going to read a book aloud at the local library -to help promote use of the library and reading in general, and we also will have some art projects to follow. I think in honor of World AIDS Day I am going to select a book that is themed toward HIV/AIDS related issues (as you can imagine, there are many).
So, I have just finished visiting some of the schools I have been working with and doing composting demonstrations - that has been really fun for me, hopefully also for the primary school kids. I have been continuing with some of the projects that I am working with WFP beneficiaries on, I just helped one group to make a plan to make and sell traditional beer while all of the men are at home for Christmas, so they can raise money to buy young layer chickens for their chicken project. Hopefully they will have good luck with that. Shane's supervisor is getting a visitor from S.A. that is one of his collegues and he is bringing new snakes - so that is pretty exciting!
I think that is most of our recent newsy tidbits, we are going back for a week of training, so we will be out of touch for abit, and I've been busy with work trying to get as much done before we leave as possible, because when we get back there won't be much time left before the country shuts down all productivity for a month in honor of the holiday season. We have been talking more and more about vacations which is really exciting, I know you will all enjoy photos from those exciting places! Our kitten has been getting bigger and is still really cute and fun with huge eyes, not a whole lot of tricks though it plays with its piece of twine, duct tape ball and climbs its ghetto carpet-wrapped-around-the-desk-leg-with-duct-tape scratching post. Otherwise, it sits on ours laps and looks cute, or scratches Shane, which he doesn't like. I do have a few more "you know you are a Peace Corps Volunteer when" for you, we agreed to them collectively at the party.
You know you are a Peace Corps Volunteer when:
Peeing in a bucket in front of 7 people doesn't phase you
You get extremely excited about "REAL" - Purell
You believe that regular text messaging (only after 7pm of course) constitutes and intimate relationship
You fantasize (sometimes collectively) about appliances, large and small
I think that does it for now, I'll write the continuation of the food post soon-ish, and you know I will!
As always, sending lots of love!
Shane and Carol
P.S. - Looks like the flower photos are staying, I'm so glad:-)