Archive for Lesotho Stories

One Love?

Juliana Fulton - American Lesotho Peace corpsWhen teaching about preventing HIV, probably the main issue we volunteers come up against is multiple concurrent partners. Many people I’ve talked to here say it’s just part of the culture, which sounds like an excuse to me. But the longer I’m here the more I believe it. The Basotho were traditionally a polygamist society, and some men in my village still have multiple wives, though it’s not very common any more. The society is built around the community, most men and women spend the majority of their days socializing. Most work, such as women washing laundry in the river or men building a house together, are still very social activities. Rather than focusing on the individuals or immediate family members, life centers around neighbours and extended family as well. It’s more about the unit, which includes extended family and close neighbours, more than any of the constantly changing individuals in it. And in Sesotho men are called ntate, which translates to ‘father’ and ‘mme is used for women, meaning ‘mother’. To great someone in Sesotho, you always address people, even strangers, as family. I think that says a lot about the culture. Read more

Hand me Down with SA Adventure & Maliba Lodge

SA Adventure LogoOur first redistribution of Hand me Downs takes place from the 15th-18th of April 2012. We have decided to support to the Maliba Community Trust, in Lesotho.

The Maliba Community Trust is involved in empowering the local community around Maliba Mountain Lodge through various projects, such school development and repairs (schools are encouraged to grow their own food) establishing of a community forest, for harvesting as well as a Craft project, amongst others.

Thank you to Sue Williams for her collection over the past few weeks...Hand me Down is an SA Adventure initiative aimed at the redistribution of old clothes.

Every year SA adventure embarks on an expedition which has the ambition of sustainable development within various communities of Southern Africa. Our sustainable development includes the planting of vegetable gardens, developing school facilities and providing educational goods. As part of our expeditions, we have gathered and redistributed second hand clothes and toys to those in the local community. In doing this we have recognised that there is such a requirement for clothing, it only makes sense for us to call on those of you who can donate your “hand me downs” to those less fortunate. Old clothes are something everybody has and many people don’t know what to do with them, often they get thrown away or we leave them to pile up in the garage or cupboards.

Hand me Down is an appeal to local public to donate what they consider to be old clothes, so we can redistribute them to those less fortunate, through the correct channels! We intend on redistributing Hand me Downs every three months.Sa Adventures distributes old clothes to those less fortunate

Even when people may think that no one could make use of it, someone can. This includes baby clothes, children’s clothes, adult clothes and shoes etc.

Public are welcome to contact us to arrange for the drop off/collection of your Hand me Downs and we will ensure that they are redistributed to those in need!

If you would like to be involved in the donation or redistribution of Hand Me Downs, please inbox us at info@saadventure.co.za. For more information about how SA Adventure is involved in communities, take a look at our expeditions and outreach projects.

Juliana’s Best Moments of the Past Year in Lesotho

Juliana Fulton - American Lesotho Peace corpsI have not written in a while because I’ve been on a wonderful vacation with my parents around Southern Africa.  So this is a post I’ve been meaning to do for a while, my favourite  moments from the past year, some of the reasons why I have fallen in love with my village and the people.

One of the orphans that lives alone with her 2 younger brothers and very small sister, once came up to my house with some peaches from her fruit tree to give me, very happy to share with me one of the very few things she has.

An especially quiet, lovely afternoon washing clothes in the river with my neighbour women as my dog splashes around in the water. Read more

50 Chickens! Likhoho li teng!

Juliana Fulton - American Lesotho Peace corpsAfter months of delay we finally got our layer chickens. The gardens of the community centre have also really started to grow. The chickens are going to provide eggs for the orphans and needy of the village, along with vegetables from the gardens.

We wanted to have free-range chickens and demonstrate how you can raise chickens without building an expensive concrete building. We built chicken tractors instead, enclosed chicken runs that are portable. After the chickens have eaten all the grubs and weed seeds on one spot we move the tractor/run to another spot and the previous one is fertilized and ready to be planted.

Although the tractors/runs are pretty simple, it’s taken many, many hours to build six, we still have one to go. We got layer chickens from South Africa. The chickens are a couple of months old and have lived in cages their whole lives. They had never seen sun or had the freedom of running around, and apparently don’t know what to do with it. One mme (woman/mother) from the support group that we work with joked that the chickens were like us Americans here, since after four days they are all still clustered in the shaded ends of the runs, apparently afraid of the sun, rain, and not being in a tight pack.

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Ha Mali Community Center Opening

Last week we had the new community center opening, and it was a big success!  After a very busy couple weeks of preparation and postponements, we finally were able to open the center and introduce its current and potential activities to the community.  We had about 200 people of all different ages come to the opening.  We didn’t run out of popcorn or fruit, and the drink mix was a surprisingly big hit and seemed to make up for the fact that there wasn’t any meat, which apparently is standard big event fare.

Kick4Life coaches leading children in a exercise

Kick4Life coaches leading children in a exercise

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A Day trip up Sani Pass by Charles Bruce

I have decided to do a separate entry about this day because it was a completely different experience from our hike in the Drakensberg. We were picked up in the morning (which dawned bright and sunny but eventually became cold and rainy at the top of Sani Pass) by our guide Stuart and set out in a group of 7 people in a well-used Land Rover. The day before we had eavesdropped on the owner of Sani Lodge telling a caller that they could attempt to drive up the Pass in their rental car, but they may end up leaving pieces of their engine behind. There was a reason that the only vehicles that we saw on this road were Land Rovers and Land Cruisers and other such four-wheel drives. A few kilometers past Sani Lodge the road turned into a narrow, rutted, rocky dirt track. Some areas were washed out and as we ascended the pass, it turned into steep switchbacks. Some were so steep that we had to do three-point turns to turn the corner! Apparently in the winter this road becomes an even bigger challenge with black ice and with South African drivers that have made the trip up the Pass to see snow, but have no idea how to drive in it.

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Basotho horse racing in Lesotho

The first thing I notice is the hats. This is not Ascot, so there are no ladies in ostrich feathers, but a ragged crowd of men wearing everything from gumboots and jeans to big patterned blankets. We’re gathered along a track curving through stubbly fields, with a hazy backdrop of blue mountains. It’s a big race day at the Morija cultural festival, so you might expect the headgear of choice to be the Basotho hat, the woven cone traditionally favoured by herders (and adapted as lampshades in tourist lodges). But I can see only one man in a 150-strong crowd wearing a Basotho hat, and I think he’s doing it ironically. It certainly doesn’t match his T-shirt and jeans.

Basotho jockey complete with traditional blanket , cowboy boots & helmet - Photo by Di Jones

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Kea Kula – Donkey Transport!

Juliana Fulton - American Lesotho Peace corpsI recently got some pretty severe blisters on both feet. And while not a serious injury, the blisters were bad enough that I couldn’t really walk, and was reduced to hobbling around painfully. Through my “injuries” I got to see a side of my village that was really beautiful. Word that I was “sick” (the Sesotho word kula applies for skin injuries as well as normal sicknesses) got around the village remarkably fast, everyone I passed asked how I was doing and if my feet were better or cured. It was heartwarming to have so many people concerned about my well-being. The village support group is a group of women in the village that assists orphans, elderly and sick people in the village, and who I have worked a lot with. Two member of the support group came by my house to check on me and see if there was anything they could do to help. My host mother brought me water so I wouldn’t have to carry buckets from the river. She also helped bandage my feet, while it may seem a bit strange and wasn’t really unnecessary, it was truly nice to feel so cared for. It made me feel like a real part of the community, being included in their system of caring for each other. Read more

My Daily Walk through the villages of Lesotho

Juliana Fulton - American Lesotho Peace corpsI have an hour till class. I put down my book, I grab my worn, patched bag, I head out.

Down the slope, passing dry grass and old corn stalks, my shoes turning a brown to match the dirt. I pass a baby goat, chewing sideways, showing its small pink tongue. The wind blows at my skirt and I pass small children calling me. Where am I going, where is the candy, my name over, and over.

At the bottom, I stomp off some dust as I start down the paved road. My shoes crunching the uneven tarred gravel, dodging broken glass and manure scattered on the road. Read more

Our Ha Mali Community Center

Juliana Fulton   We are only a month away from opening the Ha Mali Community Center!  The idea for its creation came from hearing all the different problems facing the families in my village when I went door-to-door for my household survey.  My work at the schools didn’t seem to touch many of the problems the people in my village complained of: not having easy access to a clinic, not having jobs or training for them, the number of orphans living with elderly grandparent and sanitation issues.  What seemed to be needed was a center for outreach and skills training within the village.  World Vision recently built a pre-school, the only communally owned building in my village, and one that fit the outreach/ community center scheme perfectly.  Maliba Lodge’s Community Development Trust was equally enthusiastic about the idea and agreed to help with the funding and applied for another Peace Corps volunteer to help make it a reality.

Lesotho Peace corp volunteers at the Ha Mali Community center Lesotho

Lesotho Peace corp volunteers (Posto, Juliana and Maggie)

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