It has been awhile since my last post! It is common here, if a Mosotho hasn't seen you for a while to ask why you have been hiding yourself... hence the title of this post.
The previous post was put up right before we left for our mid-service training near Maseru - yes, we have officially passed the mid-point of our service, we have 10 months left! We enjoyed the training, it was fun to catch up with the other PCVs in our group and see all of the accomplishments of our terrific volunteers. We also got to stay in a pretty swanky (for Lesotho) hotel where we got three full meals a day and bathed with hot running water! After the training, as Shane and I awaited our transport, we got to spend time in Maseru. Peace Corps sent us to the dentist, and then we went to the mall! We got to go grocery shopping in a real grocery store, eat pizza at a nice restaurant, I got to have a real mocha, we even checked out some new clothes (the people in the shops didn't know that we can't afford them!) And to top it all off we went and saw Dark Knight in the movie theater! We got large soda, popcorn and candy too and the whole thing cost us just over $10- imagine. As one of our fellow PCVs noted, we have been in Lesotho far too long, if Maseru is that exciting for us.
September has been eventful in our Peace Corps world, I'm not sure which stars aligned this way, but it really hasn't been a great month for me, as well as several other volunteers we know. I'll spare you the details, but we were supposed to have a BBQ party to welcome our new CHED 12 volunteers, but most of us weren't in the mood to celebrate and the weather happened to be cold, rainy and terrible for an outdoor BBQ on the planned date. So, we got together briefly with the others, and we also had the pleasure of hosting Lin and Bruce again, we had a great time drinking coffee, playing cards, cooking, talking and we even got to see a fun suprise from Sister Magdaleana:
|Adorable Tabby Kittens!|
As for our projects, Shane has been continuing to do really well. They have currently submitted a preliminary proposal for the construction of a Green Building on the Snake Park, that will be used for meetings, workshops, etc... but also as a dojo for the martial arts academy. They are pretty excited about that. They are still axiously awaiting the mats for the academy that were in the last grant. Shane has also assemble a team to go teach the Fight Like a Girl women's escape training to high schools around the district and that has been going really well so far,
|Shane with his FLAG crew|
and it sounds like the girls are very receptive to it - but they are still waiting for the protective suit to be sent from the states so the girls can get the realistic scenario training that is fundamental to the program philosophy. He has otherwise been doing really well, he is diligently trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up and how we can make it happen. He finished reading Pathologies of Power by Paul Farmer, has been working on Body By Science, and he just started The Kite Runner.
|New Puff Adder brought to Snake Park in a WFP bag|
As for me, last week things fell apart a bit - PC challenges! Fortunately they seem to be on the way up this week. The electricity has been off at the WFP office/education building since the begining of this month. Also, we have been registering people for the Emergengy Feeding that is a response to the Prime Minister's announcement of the food shortage crisis, so - the car has not been available for my school activities. This has led me to reach out to my secondary projects, 'M'e Matumelo (from the bakery) and I had been working on doing a business training about record keeping for some of the women with micro-business here in town. Unfortunately, after a lot of good and hard work planning, she came to me two days before the workshop saying that she was having some pretty severe family problems and she wouldn't be able to go through with the workshop. So, we decided to ask one of the trainers from the government ministry to step in a just do a quick and dirty one day training, so that we wouldn't have to cancel.
|Women's small business training|
At the same time, last week one of the guys who is working with the bees shattered his collarbone! So, he wasn't sure when he'll be up to getting together again! The water tank for the sisters is coming along and is almost finished, though the worker we hired has been a bit reluctant for some reason - so, we dealt with that last week too, but the tank is, in fact, finally almost finished!
|Finishing up the tank|
On a lighter note I did get to attend "Nutrition Corner" for nursing mothers and spronsored by EGPAF last week. We cooked "enriched papa" where we added eggs and milk for extra protein to the traditional staple - papa. We also talked about delivering assertive messages and even did practice role plays, including disscussing with their husbands the use of contraceptives and taking their children for the recommended clinic visits.
|Yummy - enriched papa|
I also had my first yoga class with some of the local, professional women last night and 5 showed up and seemed to like it - this is a great start and I am really hoping for it to continue. So, PC life continues. Our garden is growing pretty well, the rains haven't really come yet, so we are mostly watering by hand but it seems to be OK so far. We've had some rabbit nibbling on our stuff, but nothing devastating, so that is good. Other gardens around are starting to show signs of life too, and the farmers have mostly planted their fields - we saw this planter, which maybe has potential to be no-till...
It is starting to get noticably warmer, which is also good. I've had three favorite things lately: one is our camp/solar shower that we recently hung up above our otherwise worthless bathtub - now we can boil the water, mix it up and have an up-to-7-minute shower! Number two is a triple decker PB&J, 3 slices PB between two, and jam between two... yes, these are the important things in life. Lastly, I have been in love with Parmesean cheese! We brought some back from Maseru and it is such a nice addition to almost anything, just to "kick it up a notch" normal lentil soup really does morph into something amazing with a few grates of Parm, cracked pepper and a drizzle of olive oil! We also made homemade ricotta and spinach with parmesean cheese stuffed ravioli from scratch, that was pretty delicious.I haven't been baking as much because I've been busy but recently made some pretty delicious banana bread and a friend inspired me to make bagels again. I've been reading a lot, I really enjoyed the book "We are all Welcome Here" I also read a book by Wallace Stegner - Crossing to Safety and just finished "Man's Search for Meaning" by holocaust survivor and "logotherapist" Victor Frankl.
I've got to run right now, so I'll leave it at that. Hope you all are doing well and enjoy the update and photos. All our best from Lesotho.
Carol and Shane