Monday, December 10, 2012

A weekend visit -

Dear Good People,
I'll keep this post pretty short but I wanted to post some photos from our trip this weekend to another volunteer's site. Above you can see the beautiful sky and the amazing cliffs that contributed to the village's name - fort (in Sesotho, of course), where the founding families of the village hid from attackers. We had a lot of fun just hanging out, touring her village, watching dung beetles... 
 Seriously, they are cool and we don't have them at our site - we think it is too cold. It was amazing because we saw different species too, with different sized dung balls, forming them and rolling them and working together like you can see in the above photo - Ok I'll stop talking about that now so you guys will keep reading!

Another volunteer from a nearby site also joined us to cook delicious food, talk and enjoy the beauty and friendliness of this lovely village where the scenery reminded us a bit of places we've been in Idaho!

Her host father was also plowing his fields with oxen while we were there and I always enjoy watching that... It is such a fascinating difference from tractors - and they even fertilize while they plow with no extra attatchments!

This "Abuti" was learning his role as "Ntate" and helping the men with plowing.

Wendy, had also been busy plowing in her amazing garden where she is even trying the "Three Sisters" interplanting technique. She has a really sweet cat too!
We got to visit a bakery with a wood-fired oven and Shane was helping the soccer team that Wendy is working with to improve some of their warm-up techniques. We, unfortunately didn't have time to go find some wild clay with her Sesotho tutor and make goblets from it - next time though....
As you can see, we had a great weekend with beautiful scenery and super-friendly people. It was a great little break for us, even though whenever we visit other volunteers we get to sleep on their floor on our sleeping pads -  she tried to make it as delux as possible. We definitely haven't done enough visiting of other volunteers because we are pretty far out and it is kind of expensive to go anywhere, and since we are in a town, when other people come to town we have the opportunity to meet up with them. It is a different way to be social really than what we are used to - to be with your host or visitors constantly, rather than in America when we had more opportunities to meet for coffee or have dinner or something.
Regardless, there's a bit about our latest highlight. Hope you all had a great weekend too.
Hugs and best wishes from both of us in Lesotho,
Carol and Shane

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Busy Times -

"The plain fact is that the planet does not need more 'successful' people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every shape and form." by David Orr.

Hello Dear Friends and Family,

Since the last post was filled with "educational" stuff, I'll confine this one to what we've been up to lately. Happy December and Happy Belated World AIDS Day which was on the 1st. The weather has been changing a lot - it is summer but sometimes it is hot and sunny, sometimes it is sunny and cold and wet. The whole weekend was overcast with rain and a crazy storm on Friday, which was unfortunate as you will see below. Our electricity (from lightning?) went out on Friday and still hasn't returned at our house, so we've been reading more (and loving the Kindle cover that has its own light), using more candles, and were a little bit embarassed because we had a visitor from Friday until Sunday, so he was also sitting in the dark with us. It was really fun though because we got to still cook, and eat delicious food together and then he and Shane played guitar by candlelight for several hours!

Our garden is coming along, still hampered by some of the challenges of starting a new garden organically - poor soil fertility and quite a few pests that seem to have built up before we got there. Including slugs - which have unfortunately killed all of our peas and cutworms which have really limited the number of squash and beans that have emerged. We do have great looking tomato plants that have already begun flowering! We also, actually have carrots growing this year, we are really happy about that after having no luck with them last year. Another thing that has been fairly successful is our butterhead lettuce and we are both very excited to eat a lot of that when it is ready. Last weekend I made chocoloate, chocolate chip cookies and cinnamon raisin bread. They made our house smell great and warmed it up a bit on the rainy day. We read a lot too. I just finished "As We Forgive: Stories of Reconcilliation from Rwanda" that was pretty interesting. Shane started reading "Never Cry Wolf" by Farley Mowhat after I finished it, and he is enjoying that one as well. It was really interesting to read that considering the time period it was written in and the mythology surrounding wolves at that time. We were exposed to a lot of the dialouge surrounding the wolves in the Greater Yellowstone area before we came to PC, which, combined with the writing style made it all the more engaging.

Last week was busy for us. Shane has officially started his massage training program here of 3 young women -who seem to be great, and he actually built his own massage table, using his Swiss Army knife, a hand saw, a ruler and a drill.

He also finally got his "Fist" suit so that they can do "live" training in the Fight Like a Girl escape training program - here is the picture of him modeling it, where you can see he'll be a great "bad guy":

Their academy also had a Tae Kwondo club come down from Maseru to visit them and see what they were doing. Shane worked with them to do a demonstration of the Fight Like a Girl program - here are the guys from the academy with girls they worked with this weekend:
Shane is very sad to still be awaiting the floor mats to train on - but he is still persistantly working on that and they will get here before we COS...
As for me, I was so proud of the beekeeping guys who successfully finished and submitted their business plan this Monday and will shortly become an officially registered cooperative. Yoga has been continuing and has been at least as good for me as it has been for the Bo 'M'e. My main project last week was the first "Month-end Market Day" that I've been working with a few counterparts on, to bring vendors and buyers together from our district on the last Friday of every month into something resembling a Farmer's Market. We have been working really hard for the last two months, engaging all of the right people, mobilizing vendors, marketing and coordinating everything to prepare for its debut last Friday. Friday morning we woke up to the worst rainstorm we've had in several weeks, it was really dissapointing. Despite the bad weather and the sense that it was pointless to continue - we pushed forward (with only 3 pep-talks by me to my counterparts), because too many things can fail just due to lack of follow through here, and we actually had 21 vendors come! No customers... but people came with vegetagbles, bread, live animals, and beautiful handicrafts to sell, from several villages all over the district. It was considered a success by our team, all things considered and we all agreed that we were happy we didn't cancel it. We are sure that we will have a great turn out for the next one on December 14th (date was changed for the holidays). You can see the photos from our success below:
Setting up the tent with my counterparts

We invited PSI to come and do HIV testing - despite the rain at least 15 people tested on the day before WAD

You can buy this chicken live or you can ask them to bring it to the market slaugtered for you

Handmade grass items, including the traditional hat and brooms

The vendors who braved the storm

You can maybe get a sense of the storm with this photo, including the wet ground

This man brought baby bunnies to sell so people could raise them for meat - you can see the traditional dresses in the background and the purse made from plastic bags and even houseplants 

My lovely friend from the bakery, was advertising not only her baked goods but her decorating services.

This man built the fountain, by hand from local stone - unfortunately, we aren't sure what his market will be like in this district! Amazing, nonetheless...

So, dear friends - that is most of our latest news. We both hope you are all well and we send you many hugs from Lesotho!
Carol and Shane