Monday, March 28, 2016

Phase 3 Training Part 2

Welcome back.

The best things in life are free, like blatant misspellings.

After training one afternoon, Melinda and I headed down the hill to explore a cave I found during Pre-Service Training.

The cave is in a somewhat dried up river bed.  I jumped across a section of the stream to dry ground.  Melinda went to follow suit but landed a few inches behind my landing spot.  Her foot sunk several inches into the muddy muck.  We both had a good laugh.

The cave had piles of bat guano and large spiders.  We didn’t spend much time in there at all.

Melinda gave me a sweet sun star pose.  

The following afternoon we went on another walk to see a great view.  I couldn’t pass on another sun star photo.

*********************Random Closing Photos***********************

Papa is a staple of the Basotho diet.  It is a finely ground corn meal, which is then boiled to death to remove any trace of flavoring.  The teachers at my school will boycott the free lunch papa if it includes any spices in it.  Flavor is viewed as flamboyant and persnickety, there was a brief food scene in Lesotho in the fall of 1963.  The last chef left the country in the winter of 63. 

Here my host mother at the training village ‘M’e Mateban prepares a plain papa pot for the family.  

A view out my front door.  Notice the foliage looks very different from the last time I took this photo.

Us volunteers are into “recycling” our produce waste.  Here banana peels are chucked out the window because they don’t burn well.  Melinda said it looked like a Mario Kart track.

Looking at the highlands from the lowlands together.

This is my host cousin Nkuhali.  He is one of the most genuine happy people I have ever met.  Even though his English is poor and my Sesotho is even poorer, we have some great memories together.  His warm presence will truly be missed.

*******************End of Training******************

After training, Melinda and I headed back out to TY for grocery shopping and then onto my place in Mokhotlong.

Last picture of the HUB, where we did our training.  Good riddance. 

A driving school in TY outside of the Shoprite.

Waiting on the A1 just outside of TY.  When hitch hiking the first rule is to stand at the end of town away from view of any taxis.  The taxi drivers look down on hitch hiking and so some drivers will not stop if there is a taxi in view.  The second rule is to be patient.  

Melinda being patient.

We were picked up by a security guard, whose company is employed to guard the Peace Corps headquarters in Maseru.  He was a very friendly man.  We had many good conversational topics and he took us all the way to Hlotse in Leribe.  

The Hlotse Shoprite is one of the best in the country.  The selection is similar to most medium sized grocery stores in America.  We picked up a few items I am unable to get in Mokhotlong, including coffee, cheese, and tomato paste.

We decided it would be best to take a cheap M10 taxi (about $ 0.63) to Butha-Buthe instead of trying to hitch hike all the way to Mokhotlong.  The sign in the background is interesting.

During training we received news that the Butha-Buthe Shoprite burned down.  My heart goes out to those poor, spoiled Butha-Buthe volunteers.  Now they will have to get their ice cream, cheese, olive oil, and other luxurious items, not available in Mokhotlong, at one of their other 10 large stores.  


Peace Corps and Lesotho have one of the longest lasting relationships of any country in the world.  The effects of the Peace Corps can be seen in many ways.  In one of my earlier blogs I got a hitch hike from two teachers in Mokhotlong, one of whom was taught and inspired to teach by a Peace Corps volunteer in the 1990’s.  Here Melinda poses with some street art, which commemorates the relationship between the Peace Corps and Lesotho.  

I have now seen the new standard of what a pothole is.  It’s not a pothole until it takes multiple bags of concrete (still in bags) to fill.  

We grabbed a quick bite of russians (non-caps) and Mokoeynas and walked to the edge of town for a hitch.  I thought this sign was amusing.  

We were offered a ride by a truck carrying papa and vegetables to Letseng diamond mine.  

We thought we were on cloud nine until the truck stopped to pick up more people and then more people and then more people and then a person.  Soon we were sharing the enclosed bed of a truck with six Basotho shepherds.  It was a long and somewhat smelly ride.  

From Letseng we hitched again, but were latter charged (an irritating dilemma) to Mapholaneng.  We picked up some remaining supplies for camping and then waited way too long for a taxi to fill up and drop us off at my house.  


- Joel

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