Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I saw this yesterday on my way back from the field, the song on the radio was "As Long As You Love Me" by the Backstreet boys (which me and the driver admittedly were rocking out to and singing along) - It is what you think and I think beats the lambs from last week. Is this photo worthy of "going viral?"



Hello Dear Readers,

 Neither of us can believe October has passed already and the auspicious holiday of treats and costumes is upon us. Unfortunately, we have been doing a terrible job at recognizing holidays    while we are here, because no one celebrates here and we can't even carve pumpkins because it is Spring!


When I say that we can't believe that October is on its way out, I'm very serious. Our second year of Peace Corps has been flying by, just like they said it would. Both of us have also been feeling pretty good about things. I think we won't realize how much we've really changed and grown from this (mostly in a good way) until we get back, but I really think I'm seeing some of it already!) We are learning how to get things done, and to expect obstacles. For example, today: Shane is submitting a back-up copy by email of a grant application that was sent to Maseru by hand, he started to send this email 2 hours in advance because he wanted to make sure to give himself enough time for all of the things to go wrong, electric being out, internet being down, a long line at the net cafe... and whatever else.... All in all life is good, and I'll elaborate as the blog unfolds, but I want to say, I don't think there are too many things in life where it is actually worth it and enjoyable to actively work, often 10 hours a day 6 days a week (though according to PC we work 24/7), meeting so many challenges, let alone discomforts- for $250 a month!

We are reasonably good at, at least recognizing some celebrations - such as our 7th anniversary of dating... Since there aren't a whole lot of options of ways to celebrate, we cooked delicious food, including bruschetta made from scratch (the baguettes took two days of prep!) and we had parmesean and tomato and mushroom (they don't look so good on the photo do they?) We also had a salad, with many of the ingredients being from our garden and "homemade" lentil sprouts, and to top it off we had wine and Scrabble. We also talked about the fun memories we have together. It was a great way to acknowledge our time together. I'm sure we aren't crazy enough to actually celebrate this, but our cat is now 1 year old, which is pretty good for Lesotho. It is a happy and spoiled house cat, despite all of the trauma it has had "being taken care of" such as when we have washed it... We really enjoy playing with it, when it sits on our laps - constantly, and it just loves attention and affection. It must go to another volunteer when we leave!


The weather has been dreary lately, rainy, misty, overcast and chilly at least some part of every day. It makes walking everywhere much less plesant, and unfortunately has resulted in cancelation of some of our activities to boot. (I believe that we are still luckier than the poor people in New York who just got hit with the hurricane though!) At the same time, it is preferable to the drought we had last year, it is really great to see people out working in their gardens and fields. Last Saturday I actually had a chance to get out into our garden - all of the rain has really brought on the weeds! I had a great time out there, pulling the weeds, transplanting, adding some more successions of other veggies and just checking things out. We now have three stages of compost! Our newest pile, the one that just got turned over to really get started and the oldest one that is just on the brink of being ready to use - believe or not, that is quite exciting!  We also had a fun visitor last weekend, one of the CHED 12 group. She is a woman from San Fransico who was a practicing acupuncturist before she left. She knows a ton about healing herbs and has been really getting into garden here too. Shane really enjoyed talking to her about "the healing arts" including Chinease medicine, and of course - food and gardening. We always enjoy fun visitors! I also took her to visit the bee guys that I'm working with, who were going to take honey last Friday, but found there wasn't as much there as they hoped, but here are some photos anyways -

That's me hold the smoker, right before I got stung...
I am also officially a "beekeeper" now: I got stung while we were doing this, just above my ankle - the darn thing flew up my pants leg! I love these guys though, they really are doing great - we've been slowly but surely working to get them registered with the government as an organization, and make a business plan and next, putting together some proposals to get a bit more start-up capital for them to really take off!
Something else that I've been really excited about is introducing yoga to a group of the professional women here. They love it! I heard from one of their bosses at a clinic that he opened up one of the exam rooms to find one of his staff members practicing her "moves"! (I think that is good...) I had nine women come last Wednesday - that is pretty darn good for this nascent club and the fact that pretty much no one had ever even heard of yoga before I started talking about it!
I really wish I could say more about what Shane is up to. He is just continuing to push the projects forward at Snake Park, Child and Gender Protection and the Martial Arts Academy. He's doing really great work supporting them, and helping them deal with all of the challenges that arise. He's written so many project proposals since he's been here! Now, some of it is really starting to pay off, Snake Park is going to be getting some support from two different sources! One of them to build a "green" building on the park for day activities, but it will include things that are novel here - like maximizing solar capture and energy efficiency and considering insulative properties. That should be really cool once it gets going. He's also doing a lot of waiting, waiting for the protective suit for the women's self-defense program and waiting (still) for the floor mats for the Academy. He's also been trying to body build again. This comes with the requirement of eating at minimum 85 grams of protein a day, which can be a bit demanding on a diet of dried green peas, peanut butter, oatmeal and eggs - really, that is a lot of peanut butter!
As you can see we are both keeping quite busy (I didn't even write all of it!) but it has been really good, and lately I've actually had a few people acknowledge the positive impact I've made on their lives and that we should change our citizenship and move to Lesotho but that at least they will remember me for a long time after I've left here. You can imagine, it is heartwarming and heartbreaking because I already see how hard of a time I'm going to have leaving these relationships behind, but knowing that we have to! In that vein, we are really working to figure out the logistics of grad school. Shane has officially decided that being a Doctor (of Osteopathy most likely) is what he really wants to be when he grows up. This means that I will (hopefully) get accepted into a program begining straight from PC next August and he will take the hard science classes that he needs as pre req, take the MCAT, and then (hopefully) get accepted into a program during the 2nd year of my Master's (prefferably, close by...) In any case, the logistics of this are a bit more complex than it would seem, but - at least we have time to think about it all and try our best to work out "the best" solution.
One last note - last week we got a lovely letter from my grandma that she had posted 2 weeks prior, the same day we finally got my cousin's high school graduation invites posted May 10th!
That's the latest from our lives here in Lesotho. As always, we hope to hear from you and we think about all our dear friends and family so often.
Hugs from Lesotho,
Carol and Shane

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