Last Friday I went to the district’s cultural day with my students. All of the secondary schools in the district attended the event and participated in traditional Basotho dances. Some schools did traditional Xhosa dances (another African language and culture) too. Two of our students qualified for the national cultural competition that will take place next week. One of these students recited a poem/rap and another student made a guitar out of a metal container and string. Another Peace Corps vol was there and so I was able to meet her students and the teachers she works with.
Spring is here…finally!
The weather is starting to warm up and I no longer need to use heat or heavy blankets. The grass is turning green and the sun is staying out longer. Now that I’ve been in Lesotho for over a year, I’ve realized that I better appreciate this spring in its entirety, because it will be my last spring in Lesotho. I’ve planted carrots and swiss chard in my keyhole garden as well as lavender and basil in the dirt in front of my house. Now it’s up to my little host brother to keep the sheep away from eating my vegetables. I’m excited to see if I’ll be able to keep up with my gardens. I’ll need to carry an extra bucket of water each day in order to maintain my gardens. I don’t really mind carrying water, but it’s still not my favorite thing to do. I time how long it takes me to get my water. I try to go to the pump and back in 8 minutes. My neighbors make fun of me because they say I’ll never be able to balance the bucket on my head with no hands since I walk too fast. But that’s okay, when I time my neighbors; they take at least 20 minutes to get a bucket of water. It shows the difference between an American and a Mosotho. I try to get my water as efficiently as possible without stopping to chit chat with people and they walk as slow as possible and stop to chat with every person they see. My patience for visiting people is still very good compared to my life in the US, however, it is still hard for me to spend a whole day just saying “hi” to people.
All has been well. Summer in Lesotho is dry and hot and some nights we have huge lightning storms. My roof is made of tin so even if it’s 80 degrees outside, it feels about 100 degrees in my house. I try to do all of my cleaning early in the day so I can spend my time outside in the shade. The schools are closed for the holiday break and won’t re-open until Jan 28th. This leaves me a lot of time to work on random projects. I’ve been doing a lot of hand sewing and making earrings. Sometimes I teach kids who are interested how to sew, but fabric can’t be found in the village. Typically, people buy their fabric in town and have dressmakers take their measurements and sew their dresses. We have one dressmaker in the village and she sews with a hand-crank machine. I choose to sew by hand instead of asking to borrow the machine. That way, I can take my sewing projects wherever I go.
Other than my personal projects, I’ve been helping out at the orphanage that is in the village below mine. I’ve gardened, sewed, and spoke about nutrition with the kids at the orphanage. The English woman that runs the orphanage is my friend and we get together about 3 times a week for lunch. She is always sharing her good food with me…like feta cheese, oregano from Portugal, chocolate waffles from Amsterdam and vegetables from the capitol. The only thing I can share with her is my lettuce that I’ve grown in my keyhole garden. We do a lot of talking about life in Africa and life in general.