Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bitso Lebe

Recently I traveled to Emile’s site at Ha Makhoroana (an education Peace Corps Volunteer) to teach some life skills to some of her kids and teachers. It was a lot of fun, Emile was very hospitable and the area she lives in is remote and beautiful. For dinner one night, Emile decided to splurge and make us chicken. We cooked it on a braii (bar-b-que) There were very few briquettes and try as we might, we could not get a good fire started. Emile’s ausi (sister) came to the rescue. She went into the field next to us where the cattle graze during the day and got us some good, old fashioned cow patties. Yes that’s right. She scooped up the cow poop, put it in the braii and lit it and….. mmm, mmm good!!

Behind her house is a really beautiful mountain. She’s at the base of it. Its called “Mosono” hill. (Emily did say it could be Monoso, so for those Sesotho speakers out there, sorry. Its not a Sesotho word I use much) which means “clitoris hill.” Now this is a word that the local villagers do not like to use, so instead, they call it “bitso lebe,” which means: “ugly name.” So it’s “ugly name hill.” And, at the base of the hill, there’s a primary school with the name of “Bitso Lebe Primary School.” How would you like to go there? Thanks Emile for your hospitality and for letting me do a little work at your school. It was a lot of fun!

Things are going pretty well. My NGO, Lesotho Durham Link is doing some good work with my youth out in my catchment area around Ha Mohatlane. The youth rock!! I’m still teaching English a couple of mornings a week at the local secondary school. I subversively slip in life skills and other exercises which will encourage them to express opinions and initiate things. We have a speak aloud coming up in our district of Berea in a couple of weeks. It is geared towards youth and is all about gender issues here. Next week I’m traveling to the district of Mafeteng to help out with an HIV/Aids outreach day there. And, the youth with hopefully only minimal guidance (interference) by me are planning a big HIV/Aids, stigma, testing day, sports, arts competition on Nov 7th. The name of it is “Together We Can.” (they picked out the name, not me… really!) Its targeted towards 8 villages in the area. The youth are learning how to plan/organize/run a big event…

Life is good here. Only one minor blip recently. I got mugged here in Maseru when I was in town a couple of weeks ago. I was walking back to the training center where PCV’s stay and a man stopped me and told me to give him money or he would stab me. (he had a really large knife) I gave him the change in my pocket. He then said “give me notes or I will kill you.” I froze cause he looked pretty scary at this point. A side note: Here in Lesotho we are told (women) to keep valuables in “the mountains” (your bra) because men wont reach down there to rob you. Not true. He put his hand down my shirt, looking for money. I reacted, pushed him away and started screaming my head off. He came back at me, but stopped, turned around and ran. A couple of Bo-‘M’e were running up behind me. Yeah Bo-‘M’e!!! They walked me the rest of the way to the training center. I called Peace Corps and they were very supportive and wonderful. They took me to the police station the next day to file a report. The police didn’t want to do a report because the man didn’t get much robbery. They didn’t care about the knife or anything else. Very disappointing. They didn’t even want a description of the guy.
Other than that, things really are good here. Winter is letting good and spring is coming. Chilly mornings and warmer days. The peach trees are all blossoming. Things are going to turn green any second, I can feel it Work and home is good. I’m not missing America too much, but I’m missing all of you!! Someone please sit down at Starbucks, have a grande, extra hot, non-fat, sugar free vanilla latte for me, while reading the Sunday paper cover to cover and than sitting down to lunch with a person or two, just to talk and catch up. Ahhh…..

Have a great rest of the summer. I’m thinking about you all.

Salang Hantle!