Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Springtime in October

It’s springtime in Lesotho.

I’ve been a bit busy lately so I haven’t written a blog in a while.  Here’s an update of what’s been going on these past few weeks…

I’ve been in a bit of a photography slump lately.  

We had a district party at the NGO Touching Tiny Lives (terrible name I know).  Things got a bit weird between Jim and Rob but we had a good time.  I haven’t had a burger in months so that was refreshing. 

I got a new lens!  I picked up a 35 year old Vivitar 135mm f2.8 telephoto lens on fleaBay for a whopping $22.  It’s twice the focal length of my next longest lens and twice as fast.  Basically I got a mint condition 205mm equivalent f2.8 lens and I’m happy about it.  I’ll do a write up on it when I get some more photos.  

I traveled to Morija to meet Melinda at the Ried’s.  You see some interesting things on the roads in Africa.  What do you do when your taxi is full?  Ride in the trunk of course.

Melinda knitted me a cool hat.  She’s so talented.

I like the color and pattern.  

We goofed around at the Ried’s house for a few days, I brought my new telephoto lens with me.  I’m pretty happy with the sharpness and colors of this lens.  

We had a date at the restaurant Primi.  We both ate like a couple of pigs but the food was so good.  

Oh and they have draft beer.

We were assigned to teach the new group of volunteers the following day.  We hitch-hiked out of Maseru and got a ride by a garment and textile workers rights advocate.  He was a pretty entertaining fellow and talked our ears off about everything from woman’s rights to infidelity.  He gave us a ride all the way to the training village (Bela Bela) and refused any money for his help.  

Our lesson was cancelled because of time constraints so we held an informal question and answers discussion about hitch-hiking, backpacking, and being out at night.  I think it was somewhat beneficial to the new volunteers to hear about those subjects without having to learn by doing.  

They had a nutrition class, which means they basically just cooked a bunch of food.  

On the last morning, Jon, Jeff, Ben, and our host brother Lenka went on a hike to a “cave” through a mountain.  

We left at 5:10 am so we would get back in time to part ways.  Bela Bela is a really nice area.

Same peak from a different view.

There were some cool climbing sections.   

And we arrived at the “cave”.  It was not the hole in the mountain we were told about.  I think Lenka didn’t know exactly where it was.  Jeff left, Ben right

I couldn’t help myself.  I'm the neanderthal for your information. 

After the hike Melinda and I hitch-hiked back to my place.  We got picked up by a really cool New Zealander / Australian named Curin.  


We had a good time talking to Curin and he gave us a lift all the way to my place.  

There was a terrific electrical storm during a sunset.  It wasn’t raining where we were so we just watched it side by side until dark.  

We both left my place on Saturday and headed to Morija for a Halloween party.  Afterwards we parted ways, which brings the blog to this week.  

My counterpart, Lipheto Mothibeli and myself, began a girls toilet project.  There are currently 5 toilets to serve 330 girls, 90 of which live in a boarding house on campus.  With some help from a Peace Corps grant, we are building 10 new toilets to help the girls out.  I’m pretty excited about the projects progress and working with Mothibeli has been incredibly easy.  He’s very motivated and proactive.  The toilets should be completed this week.  I just hope the grant and private donations come through.  

Thanks for reading.


- Joel


  1. Good morning, how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because through them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately, it is impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are very small countries with very few population, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this, I would ask you one small favor:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Lesotho? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Lesotho in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
    28902 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog www.cartasenmibuzon.blogspot.com where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally, I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez

  2. Hello Emilio,

    I would be happy to send you a letter and contribute to your project. Thanks for reading!


    - Joel