Monday, March 14, 2016

Happy Pi Day! 3.14

Hey guys, it’s been a while.

This is just going to be a photo heavy update of the past 2-3 weeks.  Teaching is going well.  I’ve changed my methods quite a bit and things seem to be working out well.  This is definitely a learning process.  

The next couple of weeks will be different as I’m going to training on Wednesday for a week.  Then Melinda is coming out to Mokhotlong and we are doing a small backpacking trip.  

Here we go…


Lightning is both frequent and respected in this country.  A boy was killed by lightning in the next village up the hill (roughly 1 mile away), two weeks ago.  I was trying to photograph the same storm and ended up getting caught in the middle of it.  

As a side note if you ever feel like relying on science for all your answers, just wikipedia lighting.  You will see 5 theories of equal lengths attempting to explain what causes lightning (my vote goes to Thor).  

What it took to get the photo.

Peaches are ripe in the area.  The drought really took a toll on the fruit.  Most of the peaches are the size of golf balls.  Here two of my neighbors collect the sun dried peaches before the storm comes.

I had my first Journalism club meeting.  Roughly 200 kids wanted to join the club initially.  My friend Ntate Mothibeli came up with the brilliant idea of asking for an application.  The kids had to write at least two paragraphs about why they wanted to join my club.  This narrowed it down to 58 students and I had some help to reduce that number to 11 students.  So far we’ve just started computer literacy and keyboarding skills.  The club is going well and I am looking forward to beginning our major project, a yearbook.

I ran into these kids at a water hole on the way back from the main road.  The kid on the far right immediately started crying when I walked past, so naturally I had to step down from the path and make things worse.  He eventually warmed up to me.  

This is one of the stupid dogs that wake me up every morning.  Still better than Timex.

Here is a crop of the above picture.  You can see the reflection of me taking the picture as well as clouds in the eye.  My Fuji is amazing.

We don’t get fog here, we get clouds.  This happens once every week or so.  

My Ntate’s horse Mara telling me to go away.

There are two decent sized streams in town.  This one is the go to spot for clothes washing.

Friday was Moshoeshoe (Mosh-way-shway) day.  Its a big holiday in Lesotho.  King Moshoeshoe is like George Washington, Bruce Willis, and Rosa Parks all mixed into one bad mother.  He founded the Kingdom of Lesotho by fighting off people who couldn’t walk up a gentle hill.  The bottom line is I’m a teacher and I enjoy my pointless holidays immensely (boxing day Lesotho?).  I spent the morning in town doing some shopping before my friends came out.  

Tony and Rachel sent me a pic of themselves from their district Butha-Buthe.

I got a new lens for my Canon.  I figure, this country has the darkest nights I will ever experience, so why not get a lens I want?  Canon made a sequel to the lens I’ve wanted for a while and I picked up the older version.  Its a 35mm f 1.4 so it is a very fast piece of glass.  Of course it’s been cloudy ever since I picked it up but here are a few glimpses of what it can do.  

This is my first attempt at photographing the milky way.  The dark shape in the foreground is a rondavel on my property.  The purple splotches are nebulas, the dark areas are cosmic dust.

Photographing at f 1.4 during the day is a lot of fun.  Everything is out of focus except for a very narrow plane.  Here is a pair of shoes my friend sent me.

A fruit blossom at f 1.6.

Here are the weaving birds again.  They make the most intricate nests I have ever seen.

Here is the start of a new nest.  

A crop of the previous image showing the close up details.

We had a Mokhotlong crew get together.  Here is Jim and Michelle.  Jim is a fun guy and always makes for a good time.

Jim and I.  We were all invited to a Basotho house party from a really cool guy.  He worked with Eric through the NGO Grow.  

I went to the high school district track meet to support the students and take pictures for the yearbook.  

Take a guess as to why I included this photo.

There are some of the best beer mottos ever in this country.  “Brewed for the Dreamers”

My personal favorite, “Champion Men Deserve Champion Beer”.  

I can't wait to see Melinda for the next two weeks.  

Hope you enjoyed it.


- Joel


  1. I hope your holiday with your Melinda goes well. I loved your night time picture.

    1. Thanks Monty! I hope all is well. Give my regards to the family.