On the 26th of January 2013 our official involvement in the Hand Me Down project began. Clothing had been donated from far and wide and we had a mammoth task ahead of us sorting and repacking more than 100 bags of clothing into black bags to be distributed in Lesotho in April.
An entire day was spent doing the packing by 8 of us, needless to say after we had finished we were all a little pooped. Further donations on clothing have since been flowing in at a steady pace and we will have to have another packing day soon I am sure!
The 19th April was the date for the first redistribution to Lesotho for the year. Leaving Johannesburg at 12h30 on Friday afternoon, we travelled in a 4 strong convoy, 3 landy’s and Toyota Fortuner (In Ryan’s words, “there is always one”). Arriving in Lesotho with very few stops and an extremely easy border crossing some 5 hours later. We enjoyed a very social evening at the Maliba Mountain Lodge’s restaurant. I had special surprise from everyone, they had organised an awesome birthday cake and everyone to sing happy birthday to me…thanks guys that was too cool!! It has to be said that Lesotho is breath-taking, its exactly what you would expect to see, lots of people on donkeys/horses wrapped up warm in blankets and the snow-crested mountains in the distance. Arriving at Maliba Lodge just after dark we had no idea the amazing setting that the lodge was situated in, this view would have to be soaked up the following morning.
The temperature was in single figures and we were all hoping for snow as well. This would be our families first experience ever in snow and we were all for snow as well as extremely excited about the Hand Me Down project! The 19th April was actually my birthday and this year instead of having a massive party we went on a distribution for the Hand me Down project instead. So instead of getting presents for my birthday, this year I was giving for my birthday which made it even more special.
We all woke a little later than we normally would have, some blamed the Maluti, I put it down to the tranquility of the raging river only a few meters away from our window. We scoffed down some breakfast and headed up to the main lodge to make all the arrangements with Peter and Alwyn at Maliba Lodge for the days distribution. After all the bits and pieces had been sorted out we jumped into the 4×4′s and headed to the Ha Mohale community center. Not very far from the lodge we turned off the tar and headed up the mountain. Well, when i say headed up the mountain, we did this at a very steady pace, thick mud, bogged us down and the going was … AWESOME! I would guess that the entire distance from the tar to the community centre was no more than 3-4kms, but don’t let this fool you on how long it takes to drive on very slippery, very muddy dirt tracks and while doing it all in rainy conditions. We took in the region of 4 hours to get to the community centre, followed all the way up the mountain by happy cheerful and very excited children who would be receiving clothing from the project. While the clothing is distributed at no cost to the community, Hand Me Down does things a little differently: Clothing is not given, it’s exchanged for litter, the idea is brilliant, trash for clothing, it’s a small idea that makes a huge difference to not only those receiving clothing but to the people and the community as a whole.