Birthday Madness

by ryan on September 1, 2011

Well I’ve been pretty darned lazy about posting, and it’s not for having nothing to say.  Life’s been jam-packed with all kinds of interesting stuff since my last post.  No excuses, I’m just the worst.

2 weeks ago was my COS(Close/Continuation of Service) conference with my fellow ED ’10s.  There was awesome lodging, great food, beautiful mountains, and…I even zoned out learned a little bit.  The conference was about what to expect wrapping up my service and returning home, getting into the next phase of life, and sharing the experience with others when we get back(Peace Corps 3rd goal).  My official last day as a PCV is December 21.  I’ll be enjoying what Lesotho has to offer for  Christmas and bringing in the New Year.  It will be my first Summer Christmas and I’m actually quite excited to spend it with my friends here as a farewell.

This weekend I had to go to Maseru to visit the dentist.   Turns out I had my first permanent cavity.  One of my best friends has been sending me bags upon bags of Jelly Bellys, and my mom has even sent a few herself.  I’ve been enjoying them, quite naturally, ‘too much'(as the Basotho love to say).  I thought for sure the cavity was a consequence of my gluttony, but it turns out another of my teeth was jamming into the other.  I got it ground down and have a temporary filling that needs to be replaced next week.  Also:  I have 33 teeth now as opposed to my former 32.  I guess peace corps turned out to be enough to qualify me as a wiseman…1/4 of a wiseman, anyway.  It’s a start.

Khotso is starting his Backpackers Project.  It’s really exciting.  He’s been very patient, slowly gathering resources and it’s finally paying off with the laying of the foundation and building of the walls.  It’s really exciting to see it coming along.  The location is perfect, and NO one has tapped the backpackers market in Lesotho.  The cheapest accommodations I know of are at least R300/night, where as typical Backpackers in South Africa go for maybe 100-150/night.  It’s a market that’s begging to be tapped into in Lesotho.  I want to set him up with a great website where people can make reservations online.  If anyone knows how to help with this, we’d really appreciate it!  Khotso is also running for membership on Community Council.  If elected, he’ll be able to shift the culture of corruption here in one of the biggest villages in our very large valley.  As a PCV, i’m not allowed to help him with elections…but cross your fingers for him, it’s a steeply inclined uphill battle.

Tom’s Memorial is going to be in Maseru this Saturday.  We’ll be laying some flowers at the site where he fell and playing some of his old songs.  It’s been a rough couple of days building up to the event.  It will be a nice ceremony, i’m sure, but I wish we could do more than just ‘remember’ him.  Totally illogical I know as that’s all we CAN do.  They are building a memorial at the capital near the library to honor Tom’s commitment to bridging American and Basotho culture.  I’m sure it will be nice.  I hope his family and friend back home are doing the best they can.  We are taking good care of one another here.

The following week I’ll be taking a hike with some great people from Teyateyaneng(translation: the place of the mud hole) to Katse(translation:Cat).  It will be maybe the most difficult hike yet(even though it’s only 2 days)  as I have a strong suspicion that we will be traveling continuously up and down mountains from that route.  I’ll be sure to get good pictures.

The following week is the peace corps 50th Anniversary celebration in Lesotho.  If you’re not aware, Peace Corps is 50 years old this year and we’re celebrating with a big festival in one of the most beautiful villages in Lesotho(Morija).  There will be traditional song and dance from Americans and Basotho.  I’m really excited to do a performance of “American Pie” with some friends.

The Library is coming along beautifully.  Unfortunately my Principal is dumb and keeps telling me he ‘didn’t have the money’ to pick up the cleaning supplies I requested to keep the Library clean.  It’s dusty season so every day there is a nice layer of dust that is blown in from outside, under the door, and into the Library.  I’m in the process of bringing the school textbooks into the room, as well, and it’s looking VERY impressive.  I wish we could paint, as well, but the teachers will have to organize that in the future…if we ever get a freaking Principal that’s willing to fork over the money for it.(sorry…touchy subject)

Also, the principals son keeps using his usb disks on the school computers and giving them viruses.  It’s always a continuing battle for me to keep the computers clean, but finally I’ve ended up on the losing side.  2 of the computers have been killed.  2 are virtually unusable.  They are the best 4 computers we have.  The teachers have asked him to STOP, but he doesn’t care as HE doesn’t have to MAINTAIN them.  I’m worried the computers are not a sustainable idea…as when I leave no one will be able to keep them clean.  I’ve taught the teachers how to prevent flash viruses from passing, but once the infections start, it’s a complicated process to remove some of them, going online and getting special tools to remove the infections.  They won’t stand a chance so long as other people keep disrespecting our requests to NOT GIVE US VIRUSES!(sorry… yet another touchy subject)

So, with everything that’s been going on, I haven’t and will not have had a relaxing weekend at site for some time.  It’s unfortunate as one of my chummy students wants to go fishing and I keep having to push the date back further and further…for something so simple as fishing!  I shouldn’t need to pencil in fishing on my calendar…it should just happen.   I feel cheated, not being at site when my time left is already so short.  That’s not to say i’m not looking forward to more hustle and bustle…The events and activities have and will continue to be great, no doubt.  I just wish there was a little more time…

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