Thursday, January 3, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy 2013!

This was on top of our wardrobe...

Hello Dear Readers:

We hope you are still with us even though I've been neglecting to post during the holidays for a few reasons. A lot has happened in the last three weeks!

Including a huge storm that included plenty of hail and even a small tornado (the Basotho are calling it a big snake and blaming Shane's counterpart...) that wrecked havoc on some parts of town - houses, businesses, even a high school collapsed and killed 2 children! It was truly a disaster, many people lost roofs, several lost houses - one great thing about the culture is that the neighbors of the affected took them in: would that happen in the U.S.?

The storm outside our door - in the lucky part of town - you can see the piles of hail
We also had an end of year feast at Nutrition Corner to celebrate Christmas, where the women taught me how to pepha/wear a baby the African way (I was scared to death!) then, we ate delicious food.

 We also had our market day early this month, it rained again and was a little slow - we are still working for it to catch on, but we had some great vendors again!

Shane's massage class has been successfully progressing, below are photos of his anatomy instruction model that he made himself and named "David" and his completed massage table.

 I had to go to Maseru a couple of weeks ago, it was pretty normal, except they have expanded the main mall in Maseru and it is huge - for Lesotho. They also put up another mall that I had the opportunity to also visit, this one has a "Game" store, which is a Wal-Mart, it is owned by Walmart and lookes exactly like one, I stepped inside that store and was astonished, I was no longer in Africa - really, at all! I was in Wal-Mart. The funny thing is I told one of the employees that I felt like I was in America again and he got all happy that he worked in a place that was like America. On one hand, it is nice because there are a lot of things that are really difficult to get here in Lesotho and now, some of them are at least available in Maseru. Also, a lot of the smaller businesses in Lesotho are owned by Indians or Chinease and not Basotho, and regardless of the shop there isn't a very good pricing system - it is often, literally arbitrary, so a shop like Game can set some price presidents for other shop owners so they are less able to exploit their customers.

Unfortunately, as soon as I got back, I had a health problem - another douzy that laid me up for two weeks, literally in bed... went to the local hospital on Christmas Day... fortunately it seems to be resolved now, but Shane got to cook Christmas Eve dinner (canned beans with Ramen noodles) and we haven't gotten to do much lately. We also had to cancel our backpacking trip that was planned for over New Years - so that was also a bummer. One nice thing was that I got to do a lot of reading: Say You're One of Them-stories from the perspective of African children; The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency - really great read, fun and with a resonating African theme; The 5 dysfunctions of a team - a leadership fable, was a really accessible and informative read on group dynamics and leadership; Bringing it to the Table - mostly by Wendell Berry, is a collection of amazing and insightful essasys on food, agriculture, the environment and the food system in general; and I just started Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver and it seems really promising so far, love her... Shane has mostly had his nose in a basics of Chemistry textbook in hopes of CLEP testing out of it when we get back - props to him!

We did have the opportunity to see several other Volunteers during the last couple weeks, which is fun for us (and hopefully them too). We had a make-up Thanksgiving/Christmas feast with our couple-friends who came to town before I was completely bed-ridden with roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and roasted butternut salad with dried cranberries and almonds, and rhubarb custard pie again along with a few rounds of Pinnochle where the girls beat the boys  -again!

It is summer here - in a big way. Last week we had temperatures in the high 80's. I love this time of year though, we have the wild Calla lillies blooming on our compound again and it is like a wildflower wedding bouqet! For Christmas, for the Sisters I picked some of them, some Sweetpeas and some pine greens and made a little bouquet for them to enjoy on their holiday table:


Christmas is a very distinct time here in Lesotho, here in the camptown you can feel the buzz and energy of the HUGE influx of people passing through on public transport to get to their homes from the places they've been working, and it is a nightmare to ride public during this time because everything is so full - do you guys remember the photos from going to Sehlababthebe? - its worse! People buy A LOT of food for Christmas too, rice instead of papa is what really makes Christmas, and many people slaughter a sheep so they can eat mutton. They also buy clothes for their kids but not much else in the way of gifts, and everyone goes to church. A big difference too is the influx of men, if they are working in South Africa, even in the mines, this might be the only time in the year that they come home. The bars become full and the streets become full of men - it is crazy. Also, the police and hospital are on high alert for the holidays. Many of the other public officials get a very long leave for the holidays, one of my counterparts was off from the 15th of December until the 7th of January - standard leave for his office - they just close... can you imagine that happening in the U.S.?!

We want to give a big Thank You to our families that sent some little Christmas packages our way, that (as always) was really special for us and appreciated- and by Serurubele because he got to play in the boxes. We really realize how family and traditions are what makes the holidays special - we are looking forward to spending Christmas at home in 2013!

So, bring on 2013! We are looking forward to it - 7 months left in Lesotho hopefully with a few more great vacations and a lot of change after that!

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and successful New Year!

Carol and Shane


1 comment:

  1. I love it-
    Those eggs at the market look wonderful!
    So does the flowers! :)