We hope that your holidays have been wonderful and we hope all of the best for you in the New Year. In Sesotho: selemo se secha semonate le mahlohonolo. We have had a pretty quiet holiday, just trying to save and prepare for our upcoming Cape Town adventure. We are so grateful for the gifts and phone calls we recieved, as it was one of the first Christmases ever without our family nearby. Shane wanted pizza for our Christmas feast so we made taco pizza and a mediteranean one as well. We had that and amazing chocolate cake! Otherwise we just rested ang hung out. We went to midnight mass at the church, but we have been going to bed much earlier here and we are not used to staying up so late, and it was in Sesotho so we couldn't really understand. There was a lot of beautiful singing though - we wish we could share that with you as well. Basotho in general like to dance and singing - it is unbelieveable, you can take small children and they will be able to easily sing in mulitpart harmony together. The group at the mass is a group of youth that come and practice singing together almost every week - it was amazing. I think that Grandma Dar would have loved to hear that beautiful singing! Above is a photo of the church, it is actually from about 1 month ago so things are even greener now, but I thought this was a good - very typical photo. Note not only the "free range" cows but also the cell tower on the hill in the background.
For New Year's Eve we had a small get together with some of the Peace Corps Education program volunteers, that was pretty fun. We had butternut squash ravioli (homemade by one of the new volunteers), carmelized onion foccocia bread and chocolate cake - this chocolate cake is really amazing! We tried a new wine, Nederburg's Cape Reisling, it was very drinkable and delicious. We also lit sparklers, and two super-sized bottle rockets! That was also fun. Then Shane and I had to kiss of course to start the New Year off right.
We even got to take yesterday off. We hiked up the mountain behind our house to the cattle post of Shane's supervisor, that was interesting to see but unfortunately we forgot the camera - they build a house for the "herd boy" to live in until May, and a corral from stones. All of the men working up there looked very tired. All of the men from the village of Shane's supervisor, stay near each other at the cattle posts too. The posts are pretty much just summer pasture. Shane's supervisor had a heard of over 120 sheep and goats up there too! From the top of this mountain was such a beautiful view. I know some time we will go up again and then upload the photos. We also found some onion starts for sale that we planted yesterday, the ones we started from seed died because it was too dry. We played Scrabble and also read our books. Shane is reading the Small Wonder book by Barbara Kingsolver, and I am reading When the Emporer was Divine. Both are good.
I know that this is a bit off subject, but I'm not sure if I've talked about how many immunizations that we have had since we've been in Lesotho. When we went to training last month we got even more. We are officially immunized for everything, tetanus, rabies, hepatitis of every kind, yellow fever, I honestly don't even know what else. The whole first week we were in the country we got an injection every day in each arm! We got even more when we went back last month. Hopefully that will be it until the give us the mandatory flu shot next winter! Maybe this is a testament to how committed I am to being here, between the shots that I am extremely afraid of, the dogs and even the snakes!
Also, a bit more from the training last month, something I have learned is that I am no longer suprised by anything. We had a goat come in to our classroom during our Sesotho lesson, and I thought it was fun and cute and tried to take a picture to share with you all - but suprised, I wasn't. The hetero young guy in a pink scrunchie topped shirt obviously made for a woman - still not suprised. The Barbie doll in a cake that makes her dress that I just saw in my favorite bakery - not suprised there either.
Another thing that I'd still like to share with you from riding the bus home from the training last month is another attempt to describe the bus. I wanted to take a lot of photos, I can't because I shouldn't take out my camera because that will make me stand out even more and Shane will reprimand me for living through my camera. So I have to tell you about the beautiful friendly little girl about 2 and a half with butterfly hair clips in her hair, her name was even the same as my Sesotho name. Also I have to write about the beautifully freshly painted red doors and the replowed tiered fields and the rangeland finally turning green to everyone's relief. Those sights were tied in to the Sesotho music and other sounds and smells of the bus, like the smell of Makoenya grabbed as a snack, even the smell of beer on the morning bus - no chickens this time though.
I think that I do have a lot more to say about food, but for now I am just trying to talk a bit about the holidays and some of our activities, I'm sure that I won't post until after Cape Town, but be prepared for PHOTOS! We are so excited and we really appreciate all of your support and encouragement as the adventure continues. So, I have been trying to talk about some of the ridiculous things we've been eating while I'm giving general updates, and I'll probably talk a bit more after our lives get back into the normal groove and I don't have very much material!
We both hope you are all very well, and as always we think of you often.
Best and hugs,
Carol and Shane