Tag Archive for Lesotho

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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Maliba Lodge – Vulture Restaurant Project

www.ewt.org.za
Maliba Mountain Lodge, with the help of vulture specialists Sonja Kruger and Andre Botha from KZN Wildlife and the Endangered Wildlife Trust, have started a vulture feeding site in the Ts’ehlanyane National Park, with the aim to attract the rare Bearded and Cape vultures for protection and research. In the past vultures have been seen as vermin- spreading disease and killing livestock and have thus been killed, virtually driving them to the brink of extinction.KZN Wildlife Vulture Program

Vultures form an important ecological component of our natural environment, cleaning up dead carcasses and decreasing the spread of some diseases and therefore need to be protected. The main cause of the demise of this important raptor group is a declining food source, although other issues such as loss of foraging areas, electrocution by electricity pylons, and inadvertent poisoning also have a strong negative influence on their numbers. Read more

Tasol Race to the Sun cycle race

This past Saturday, 10 September 2011, on a beautiful sunny day, set in the highest country in the world, the Tasol Race to the Sun started at the Likileng State Secondary school in Butha Buthe.

A total of 37 cyclists form Top South African cycling teams as well as International teams, which included Tasol Solar, Bonitas, MTN Quebecka, Cyclelab Super cycling, ASG and Team UCI from Eritrea started the race at an altitude of 1673m in Butha Buthe.

Moteng Pass Tasol Cycle Race to the SunThe race split up soon with 6 riders going out in front.The teams that was represented was ASG, Bonitas, Tasol Solar and UCI Africa team, the group worked together until 2 of the UCI Africa members decided to go out in front on one of the steep climbs 5km before the gruelling Moteng pass. The two riders were caught on the pass and passed by Jacques van Rensburg on his way to the top of the first climb. The bunch was split dramatically over the first climb which meant that riders were to ride their own pace to get to the finish line. They then descended reaching speeds of about 100km/h, up and down towards Oxbow lodge, then just over the Malibamatso river climbing the even more gruelling Mahlasela pass started since it starts at 2500m altitude and finishes at 3267. David Maree caught one of the UCI riders which secured his second place. Read more

Journal Excerpt from Sept. 1

Juliana Fulton - American Lesotho Peace corps[An excerpt from my journal for these past couple weeks]

Well I’ve been super busy, with 2-4 things to do every day for these past couple weeks. Today I had a meeting about the community centre in the morning (and building a seed bed) and two life skills classes at different schools this afternoon.

The community centre is really coming along. We’ve dug beds for 10 plots, 19 out of the 30 orphans showed up last Saturday and worked so hard, digging the stiff, weedy soil. It just looks like mounds of dirt, but I’m proud of the kids. I wonder what motivates them. It’s nice to think they’re invested in this project, growing food. We’re planning on planting the seeds this Saturday. The cabbage seeds are already in the seed bed. Regular watering is going to be a challenge. And we’ll see it the schedule to fix up the building this week actually holds. Next week we’re getting the gardening tools. It will be nice not having to borrow and carry them around (my shoulders are soar from carrying all those spades yesterday). Read more

What 24% HIV+ Really Means

Juliana Fulton - American Lesotho Peace corps

When I first signed up for my Peace Corps assignment, all that I was told was that I’d be in Lesotho, working with communities on HIV/AIDS. I was very excited about living in Lesotho, but less so about working on the AIDS pandemic. It just seemed like such a monumental and depressing task. We were told that the official prevalence rate was 24% of people in Lesotho were infected with HIV. It sounds like a lot, but it is totally different to be in the middle of it, to see all the sickness and death. It’s everywhere and it effects everyone. It has decimated such a friendly, loving people. After being here for a year and seeing its terrible pervasive effects, I wouldn’t want to focus on anything else. Even though the average family has 3-4 children, there is still negative population growth, it’s that bad.

In my village there aren’t really any good figures on how many people are infected. There is a lot of stigma and prejudice about being HIV positive, so most people won’t talk about it (which is a big part of the problem). But in my village of 204 families, there are 85 children who have lost one parent, and 33 children who have lost both parents and are still in primary/elementary school.Besides teaching about HIV in the schools, I am helping to start a community center in my village with funding from the Maliba Comunity Development Trust. Read more

The complete African snow experience at AfriSki

Yes, it snows in Africa, and in 2011 it snowed a lot ! It is also a little known fact that people have been skiing in various Southern African mountain ranges since 1929. One of the most ideally  suited locations are the Maluti mountains in the Kingdom of Lesotho. Not far from Clarens lies the Mahlasela Pass and the location of the Afriski – Ski & Mountain Resort.

A lot has changed since 1929 and the introduction of modern snow making facilities and lifts to Afriski in 2002 have allowed skiing and snowboarding to flourish in this little know corner of the Lesotho Mountain Kingdom.

panorama of the AfriSki resort in Lesotho, Southern Africa

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Lesotho Trout – Unpredictable and challenging fishing

Fly fishing rod and netAlong the entire length of the pool, fish dimpled the surface. In the riffle water, subtle rises, apart from a mere flattening and silvering of the surface, were barely discernable. On the far side of the stream beyond the current, a perfect reflection of the new day shimmered and broke as a large tail creased the surface.

Twenty minutes trickled by revealing little of the cycle happening below. I relented, attaching a small Baetid emerger not far beneath a sparsely tied Klinkhamer. Stifling a sudden gasp, the cold water reinforced that I was closer to the stratosphere than I had ever previously cared to venture.

I took great pleasure in noting that – as lightly as a broken spider web riding a morning breeze – each cast landed where it ought to.  The fish continued to rise with purposeful bearing. As the sun rose higher, shadows of several feeding fish became obvious and although a fewer smaller feisty freestone rainbows accepted my offerings, it was clearly apparent that I had not yet unravelled the mystery below the riffled surface. Several fly changes, lengthening and down-sizing of leader found me none the wiser. I began to chuckle and it was then that I realized that it was moments like these which, to me, define the very essence of why I fly fish. Deciding it was time to sit back and reflect and more importantly, check if my toes were still intact, I began to reel in. Not far upstream, a good fish showed. A quick flick and a mend covered the rise nicely. Read more

Child shepherds flock to night school

In the mountain kingdom of Lesotho, boys as young as five spend months on end tending cattle in the isolation of remote highland country.

For the young, becoming a herd boy is a cultural obligation in Lesotho society, a practice which leaves many children deprived of an education.

Photo by Christo Geoghegan

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Malealea Monster MTB Challenge

Mountain biking (MTB) is in its infancy in Lesotho and only a select few cyclists take advantage of the conditions and terrain across Lesotho to hone their off-road skills.

In order to get Malealea on the proverbial MTB map, we are hosting a MTB event in September 2011. This will be a ride from Matsieng (the home of the King of Lesotho). This incredibly scenic route is approximately 65km of single track, jeep track and gravel road. In addition, a shorter route of 33km is also on offer for those less adventurous, and a short sprint for children will be arranged.

When: Saturday   3rd September, 2011 @ 10h00 Read more

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