Nov 27, 2008

Travel Musings and Observations

Observations shared with soon-to-arrive US volunteers
Category:Lesotho 2008/09 
Posted by: Ann
- The kids were reticent or shy at first, but once they got going, they worked very hard and made fun out of doing so.
- "Polony" is baloney made from poultry.  I didn't try it.
- Not surprisingly, the boarders & orphans ate a very spartan diet. Last night it was pap (a local dish made of mashed maize) and baked beans.
- The sisters also eat on a budget - mostly bread, chicken, spinach from their garden, frozen vegetables, squash.
- The sisters are a lot of fun (although I already knew this).  If you can find time, it's well worth it to spend some with them, especially in a game of Uno!
- The bread made daily in the school kitchen is delicious - grab a bun - it costs half a rand. (5 cents US)
- Shepherding is a way of life for many Basotho. They leave home early in the morning having not eaten and take no food or water with them, and don't return until evening. (Those who take food are called 'women' and some are beaten for not being tough.) They are out rain or shine, every day. It is a harsh life but the sisters report times are changing and shepherds are beginning to experience improved conditions.
- Driving is on the left side of the road. It's fairly orderly, but passing can happen at unexpected times. Drivers expect it and make way for the aggressive passer.
- There is no concept of recycling as we know it, although many items are repurposed. My diet coke can is involved in steamed bread as I type.  Some places in Lesotho are quite tidy while others have a lot of trash on the ground. You'll even see some trash on the school grounds. There is no such thing as garbage service - they burn their trash.
- The only mosquitoes I saw were after the 3 day of rain. That brought out a few flies too.
- Tsabo, Dengli, Moonso, Moses, Theboho, Thebang, Jordan, Jackie, Celia, Bulane - these kids were around a lot and worked hard, as were others whose names I didn't learn.
- The kids love to sing and do so beautifully. One day it even brought a tear to my eye.
- The Lesotho countryside is beautifully rich in color. I've wondered if the light is all natural or is enhanced somehow by particulates in the air.
- Lesotho is a patriarchal society, but Sr. Catherine says that is changing too - women are beginning to demand their rights.
- This project is one of the best and most fun things I have ever done.