Saturday, August 13, 2016

I'm Back!

There was a fairly severe snow storm on the 25th of July.  Moteng pass received 1 meter (3 1/4 feet) of snow in two days.  Melinda and I had planned on staying three nights in Liphofung with six other volunteers but the pass was closed so we were stuck in Mokhotlong.

The storm somehow knocked over a metal power line tower, which cutoff electricity to the entire district of Mokhotlong for over three weeks.  Sorry about the low quality photo.

After a week, Melinda was still stuck at my place and Mokhotlong volunteer Susan, was stranded in Butha Buthe.  The Peace Corps sent a vehicle to bring Susan up and Melinda down but that didn’t really work out.

The road just sort of ended because Letseng mine was only plowing the western half of the pass.  The Peace Corps just told Melinda to wait out the storm.  So there we were, stranded and without electricity.  

We didn’t have any snow to play in around my house.  

What did we do during this time? 

We played a ton of cards, hiked, cooked really good meals, listened to podcasts (thanks poker crew for the solar panel and battery), traveled to town a few times, and went on plenty of walks.  In summary, we had an awesome time together.

A few days after the storm, we headed to Mapholaneng to check on my mailbox and restock our supplies.  I’m not a huge fan of Mapholaneng.  The town is much smaller than Mokhotlong and there are always people standing around in the streets.  It always feels like people are watching my every move.

Not a good sign when the only visible tool is a mallet.  

Lesotho has some of the best business combinations I have ever seen.  This one is especially good, an auto parts store and butcher combo.  

After picking up our supplies, we walked out of town in order to hitch hike back to my place.  We quickly got a ride from a man who works for Econet (one of the two cellular providers in Lesotho).  He informed us that he had to stop off at a cell tower for some maintenance before continuing to Mokhotlong.  Before the turnoff he asked if we wanted to be dropped off at the road, where we would have waited for another hitch, or come with him.  Melinda was pretty cramped in the middle of the front seat but I really wanted to see the tower.  

Very cool stuff.  With the power out in the district, all of the towers were running on emergency backup generators.  

I felt a tiny bit guilty for dragging Melinda along but I think she enjoyed some of it.  

We got back to one of the best cloud formations I’ve ever seen.  The landscape was riddled with really dark shadows and the sun painted the rest of the scenery with a light yellow tint.  

I have a few more blogs on the way and then I will continue with one a week or so.  


- Joel and Melinda


  1. Love the pics! Glad u guys had a good time despite the change in plans!

  2. As always, loved the pictures! Particularly the auto parts/butcher combo business! We had no doubt about you two enjoying the time together no matter where or what!!