Thursday, April 14, 2016

Weekend Trip

Last weekend I was invited to the Ried’s house in Morija for a guys night.  The problem is, Morija is a 5 - 12 hour trip.  Traveling in this country, for lack of a better word, blows.  It just absolutely blows.  If you take taxis, they take forever to fill up, there is no consistent schedule, there are unwritten rules that I don’t understand, they are expensive, they usually drive very slowly, and they are uncomfortable.  Often times the taxi stops before it reaches it’s destination and everyone gets off except me.  Then I have to wait for a new taxi to fill up.  If you hitch-hike, it also takes forever and sometimes the drivers charge money.

It took Melinda 14 hours to travel from her site to mine and that was making good time.  Keep in mind, this country is just a bit larger than the state of Vermont.  I mean it took us 14 hours to fly from NYC to Johannesburg.  But traveling is something I’m going to have to get used to because I live in Mokhotlong and Mokhotlong is at the edge of the country.

Photo courtesy of
Wagner offered his place on Friday night so I decided to leave right after school on Friday afternoon.  

My trip began at 1pm on Friday afternoon.  While waiting for a hitch, some reception (kindergarten) kids gathered around me.  I picked up three rocks and began juggling for them.  They yelled for others and soon I had a small show going on.  I had to step things up to keep their attention and before they knew it, I was juggling while standing on one leg and singing to them.  I pulled my camera out and they shrieked with excitement.  To my knowledge, getting 16 kindergarteners to stand together for a group photo is a world record.  

Just as fast as they materialized around me, they ran off.

I got a ride through one of Eric’s friends although he ended up charging me.  I made it to Peka, where Wagner lives, at 6pm.  Peka is around the half way point to Morija.  I walked half an hour to his house and he made a chicken taco dinner for Tyreek, Yolanda, and myself.

The next day we got a ride with his teachers to Maseru.  We made it to Maseru around 10:30.

Tyreek had to buy a wedding band for his fiancé and we were all hungry.  We decided to take a taxi to the Pioneer Mall.  I never used to go to malls in the states but I always end up going to a mall every time I visit Maseru.  We had heard rumors, from Rachel, of a store that sells craft beer.  After some running around and asking a lot of people for directions…

Victory!!!  Well sort of.  It turns out South African beer is not really all that good.  Of the few I sampled, the best was a 4 / 10 and the worst was almost unpalatable.  The IPA pictured tasted like the result of a phone conversation between a home brewer and  someone who had sampled an IPA several years prior.

While enjoying our beers, a traveling jean salesman showed up.  I ended up buying a pair of Lev-us ® (could be real or could be fake, either way wouldn’t surprise me) for $8.50.  

We then left to meet Ryan, Josh, Carl, and Ben in Morija.  Ryan made some really awesome pizzas and we had a good time hanging out.  The next day I left early for Maseru.  Melinda “happened” to be passing through Maseru at the same time, on her way back from training.  What a perfect coincidence.  

Around a dozen volunteers met at a nice restaurant at the Maseru Mall (another mall) for lunch.  

Melinda and I left the group early for the taxi rank as we both had quite a distance to travel albeit in separate directions.  Our bags were both loaded and we barely had any breathing room on the short trip.  

One last photo of us.

We parted ways at the taxi rank.  We’ll see each other in a few weeks unless Melinda surprises me at Heather’s birthday party on the 23rd.  ; )  I dare you to try babe.

After a short taxi ride, I got a hitch out of TY to Maputsoe.  I was entertained by some kids playing with a wheelchair.  I was picked up by a really funny guy after just a short wait.  He needed help finding his way in Mokhotlong and I needed a ride there.  

Heading up the pass outside of Butha-Buthe around sunset.  I made it back around 9pm on Sunday evening.

So there it is, I made it all the way to Morija and back in a single weekend.


- Joel

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