Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Best Date Ever

I was thinking about this for a little while.  If I had unlimited time and resources (both in planning and executing) a dream date, I think I could come up with a pretty good one.  In my estimation, the best date would be an all-day date with the girl of my dreams (the most important item in the best date has to be the individual you are with--it can’t be the best date with someone you don’t want to go out with!).  I know that some people are huge opponents of all-day dates, and I understand why, but all the complaints I have heard were basically because the complainer (always a girl in my experience) was either on a date with a guy they didn't like, or they liked the guy just fine, but weren't informed of the duration of the date or the activities they'd be doing (“Okay! It's only 1 am.  You're still in your high heels, right? Okay, let's hike the Y!”).  If it wasn't for those unfortunate circumstances, I don't think anyone would mind an all-day date with someone.  I mean, if you mutually like each other, and the date is well planned and communicated, all-day dates are awesome!

Now the best date would allow for three things: 

(1) A fun, memorable activity, 
(2) Time for communication and soul-sharing, and 
(3) An opportunity to cuddle and relax.  

This would be the best format, and with the best girl, it would be the best date.  I’ll give an example of a date following this format, though I think that depending on the individuals you would have to swap out some specific activities to have the best date.  

Example: Start at 3 am with a drive to the airport.  Get on a small plane, preferably flown by a friend, with all of your snowboarding gear.  Have said friend fly you to the top of a nearby mountain.  Jump off the plane with your date right at sunriseRelease your parachute when you land, and snowboard down the mountain.  Have a Grand Slam and pitcher of hot chocolate waiting for you at the bottom of the mountain, inside of a limousine.  Eat and talk while your chauffeur drives you to your next activity location.  Make it a long drive (3-4 hours).  Depending on your desires, eat while soaking in the limo’s hot tub (Your swim suits were also waiting for you in the limo, obviously. Alternatively, you can eat first and then soak).  Talk about your skydiving and mountain snowboarding experience, talk about your future, decide on your kids names, talk about money matters, talk about love languages, read poetry and limericks, etc.  Arrive at your next location (preferably lava tubes or a long, extensive cave with many offshoots).  Put on your jackets and headlamps, strap on your harnesses, grab your rope, and explore.  3+ hours.  Next, get airlifted (by helicopter, preferably an Apache) and taken to another location (again, it could be anywhere, but perhaps a resort in Colorado or a beach in California).  Take turns flying, and test fire the turrets and missiles.  When you arrive, dismount the chopper by repelling upside-down.  Have a candlelight meal on the beach (or at the resort).  The meal should be catered and served by servers with impeccable taste and a French accent.  Much bowing would not be amiss.  After eating, take a walk and swap childhood stories.  Tell her how beautiful she is.  Tell her why you love her and why you couldn't live with out her.  Tell her this because you mean it and you wouldn't ever say it unless you knew she was the one.  Tell her that none of the activities of the day (fun as they were) matters to you.  Only her happiness matters.  Sit back and watch the sun set.  Go to your previously-designated (and rented-out) movie theatre and watch a movie you both love (or one that only she loves).  Hopefully they have a LoveSac the size of Montana.  Cuddle and whisper to each other.  Laugh during the funny parts. Watch each other more than the movie.  Fall asleep in each other’s arms.  BEST. DATE. EVER. (You can disagree with me, but you'll be wrong).

For those of you that are more visually oriented, I have provided a visual play-by-play.  Enjoy:

Activity 1: Snowboarding, but starting in the air.
Don't forget your parachute!
I gotta try this!
Grand slam waiting for you.  Alright, breakfast!

Oh yeah, and breakfast is in a hot tub, in this bad boy.
This is also an opportunity to do some communication/soul sharing.
Activity 2: Spelunking!

Apache! A necessity in every date.
Basically, if you have to get from place to place, do it in style
(or with enough firepower to destroy anyone that has more style).

Candlelight (torchlight?) dinner on the beach!
Another opportunity for communication/soul sharing.

LoveSac for movie viewing.  It IS the size of Montana!  Actually substantially larger...
This is when you cuddle and relax after a long day's work.

The End.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


I love my brothers.  I think they are hilarious.  We can all be pretty funny, especially when we are together, and even more especially when we have an audience.  I find Travis particularly funny, mostly because he is most prone to my kind of stupid humor. 

I have been blessed with the opportunity to live with my brothers at college.  From January to April, all four of my parents' children were living in Provo, a 9+ hour drive away from our home in Prescott, Arizona.  We had a blast, and although we were all really busy, we had great dynamics in the house and we found ways to have fun.  

Over this summer my three brothers and I experienced a lot of change.  Travis got married, I did an internship in Africa, Merritt did a mission trip to Nauvoo to perform with their stage group, and Landon started his two year full-time mission to Japan.  Now Merritt and I are back home.  Landon will be back in two years, and Travis is still here but is all married and grown up.  Luckily, we still know how to have fun.  Last week Travis and Merritt sent a package to Landon, who is preparing for his mission at the Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC).  This was Landon's commentary on the package:

"I got the most interesting package in the mail this week. It was from Travis and Merritt, and I got my towel. Thank you for that. Also, I received several other interesting things in the package. These things were a bag of confetti, a small rubber goose figurine, a CD giving me so many hours free on AOL (useless in the MTC, useless in life), a large screw, a "Stop Bedwetting" card, and a black crayon. This let to a large discussion in our district on whether it's pronounced "cray-on" or more like "cran," though of course the latter is correct. My thinking overall was that brothers should find something better to do with their "random pile of stuff for potential activities" than send it to me. I got quite the kick out of it though, especially the AOL CD."

Landon is having a great time at the MTC.  Landon is so studious and thoughtful, so his letters are always insightful and interesting.  Last week Landon told us a story that he heard from one of his MTC teachers.  It is an interesting story.  I'll let you read it, and then Travis' response:

"One of [my] teachers, Bishoff Sensei, was working with us but has left the MTC because he's starting law school soon. He served his mission to Japan, and got back probably about five years ago. On his last day teaching at the MTC, he wanted to share with us an experience he had on his mission and bear his testimony of the wonderful things that await us there. So I want to share his story. It's a little bit violent, but at the end you will see why I was inspired by it, I think.
One day Elder Bishoff was riding his bicycle while on his mission, and his companion was riding up ahead of him. They were biking on the side of what he called a highway, and across on the other side of the highway he saw a man and a woman arguing as they walked. The man was a Yakuza, which as far as I understand is a member of the Japanese mafia. He had tattoos all down his arms. As the man and woman continued to fight, she suddenly swung at him and clawed his face. This made him very angry, and it became violent. Now Elder Bishoff had seen this from across the road, and he called to his companion and they stopped. He was really wary of what to do, because he was scared since the man was very big for a Japanese person and was much bigger than he is. But then he remembered that as a missionary he was called to be a representative of Jesus Christ, and so he decided to act in faith and try to act like Jesus would if he had been there. He and his companion ran across the road, and as they approached to where they two were still fighting, a Japanese person stopped him and basically told him that he should not interfere, that he might be killed. But Elder Bishoff continued on, and told this person to call the police. At his point the woman was very bloody, and the man was trying to throw her in front of the oncoming cars. Because of this, she had grabbed a fence and was holding on to it and he was trying to rip her off of it. Elder Bishoff didn't really know what to do, and his Japanese at this point was not very good, so he just went up to the man, who was facing away from him, put his hand on his shoulder and turned him around, and said, "Yamete kudasai," which is simply, "Please stop." The first thing the man saw upon turning around was his missionary nametag, which of course has "Jesus Christ" written in large font as part of the church name written on the tag. Suddenly the woman, who I am sure was terrified and distraught, threw herself upon Elder Bishoff, seeking help. The Yakuza looked from Elder Bishoff's nametag to his face, and said, pointing at him, in an astonished tone, "Kirisuto, Kirisuto," which means, "Christ, Christ." Then he said, "This is none of your business." Elder Bishoff responded that yes, it was his business, as a representative of Christ. The man then said again: "Kirisuto, Kirisuto."  The man, who was still holding on to the woman's wrist, threw her arm at Elder Bishoff, and walked away, and the woman ran away as well, leaving Elder Bishoff covered in her blood. He related this story to us to teach us that we have the authority and responsibility to act as representatives of Christ at all times, and that we don't need to fear the consequences because Christ will help us, even if, as in this case, we don't know what to do about the situation. I was so inspired by that story because the Yakuza member gave up and walked away upon just seeing the name of Christ written on this missionary's nametag. For some reason Jesus Christ meant something to that man, and simply reading his name caused him to stop his violent attack. In this case, Elder Bishoff was like a savior to that woman, saving her from additional injury and possibly death, helping her when she was in dire need and others around would not. He told us, "You are called to do what no one else can do." I don't know if I will have an experience like that, but I like the idea of my purpose being only to help others for the next two years, even if others aren't or won't, and teach them about Jesus Christ."

 I think that is a really awesome story.  Travis' response was even more awesome:

"I have a story to share with you all. A deeply personal story.

When I was in Japan about 6 years ago, I fell into a bad crowd and become part of a gang known as The Yakuza. I got tattoos and dated bad women.
One day I was walking down the street when one of my ex-girlfriends saw me from the bus she was on. She hit the emergency stop button on the bus, opened the door, ran across the traffic and started yelling at me in front of everyone. I told her I didn't want to talk to her ever again, because she had done really hurtful things to me. I turned and started walking away. Suddenly she was on my back, attacking me. She was very violent, punching, scratching and biting me. I grabbed her arm and threw her over my back. I almost threw her into oncoming traffic, accidentally. Then she jumps up on the fence for leverage and starts kicking me and kicking me. I'm trying to block her attacks when suddenly I feel a hand on my shoulder, yanking me around the other way. Now the girl is kicking me in the back repeatedly with her heels. She actually broke the skin several times, requiring stitches to mend my wounds. He's wearing some tag that says Kirisuto, whatever that means. I'm trying to figure out if this white cracker is law enforcement or something, and start repeating "Kirisuto" over and over, asking him what that means. Instead he tells me to stop, please.  Stop what? Defending myself? She's kicking me in the head right now! The girl gets mad that I'm not paying attention to her so she jumps on this white guy's back, sobbing and screaming, trying to get him to go away so she can continue to assault me. This gives me a chance to run. Once I get far down the road, I look back and see that she's headed to opposite way down the sidewalk, the same direction the bus had been traveling. She was probably late for work."

So there you are.  A little bit about my brothers and I.  I love how we are so united as family, and how we are united in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Even when we are joking around and enjoying ourselves, we are able to focus on what is most important in life.  And what is most important to me is the gospel and my family.

Super old pic of my brothers and I.  And my sister. 
Yeah, this is the only pic I could find of the four of us.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A week of goodbyes

Oh hi!

This has been a very busy week.  It was the last week of my internship and my last week in Lesotho, so I had to finish up all of my work.  It was also my last chance to do things I have wanted to do.  I'll go over a few highlights:

On Tuesday I took Katleho and Masekhoane to see Ice Age 4: Continental Drift at the only movie theatre in town.  It was their first time to go to the movies, and they really enjoyed it.  Monday night I told Katly that we were going, and she was so excited.  After some time she came to me and asked, "What are we going to do if Khoane poos?"  I told her it wouldn't be a problem because she could change her sister.  She said, "No, you have to wipe her."  I said, "I think you can do it!"  She obviously wasn't satisfied, and I wasn't either.  I hadn't thought about the possibility.  I thought about it and figured it wasn't very likely, so I told Katly that we would play rock paper scissors to decide who had to wipe her if she pooed.  She thought it was a great idea.

We went to Pick 'n Pay first, a grocery store, and got some treats to eat in the movie.  The movies aren't so popular here; we were actually the only three people in the theatre.  And it was kind of nice--Khoane is so young that I didn't have to pay for her to come in.  So we had free reign of the place.  The movie was very entertaining.  I have enjoyed all the Ice Age movies. 

After the movie we went to Spur (a place kind of like Red Robin).  I picked Spur because it is in the same shopping centre as the theatre and because it is the only restaurant with a play place for kids.  (When I asked Mme Moorosi where a fun place to take them would be, she had no ideas.  There are no parks in Lesotho, just some soccer pitches here and there.)  I ordered food for myself and them, and they went and jumped on the trampoline/jumping castle things.  When the food came we ate together, and then they went back to play. After a little while, Katleho came to me and said, "We have to play rock paper scissors."  I knew what she meant, but I was not happy to hear it so I said, "What?"  To which she responded, "Remember you said if Khoane is going poo we have to play rock paper scissors?"  I laughed and called Ntate, who came and saved the day and took us home!
Katly and Khoane at the play place at Spur

 Thursday I had the privilege of meeting with the mother of the first Masianokeng Branch missionary and the new senior missionary couple the Holts.  The Holts were giving Mme Mofammere the details of her son's return information.  He comes home August 16th, so I won't see him.  It is kind of funny, I always miss the Mofammere family.  Pulello, the returning missionary, was baptized two weeks after I left Lesotho in 2009.  His brother Kanono was baptized two weeks before I arrived in Lesotho in 2008.  And now Pulello is coming home from his mission about two weeks after I leave in 2012.  It sounds like Pulello had a great mission, and his mother is so excited to see him again. 

Thursday and Friday I worked super hard and got a lot of work done at Itjareng.  I had to redo some work that I lost because of a virus problem on Wednesday with my flash drive.  At least I was able to recover everything.  I finished everything I had set out to do, and I left an Action List of items for the Administrator to follow up on my work.  Some of the work I did has to be approved by the Executive Board before it can be implemented.  The business cards I designed just have to be printed.  Also, the wireless internet will be installed next week, so I talked him through turning on automatic updates (which are now turned off to save megabytes) and installing antivirus software.  I think they are doing really well.  The new administrator is an awesome guy. 

On Friday morning I took pictures with the instructors and the trainees.  Some of the trainees gave little speeches thanking me for my help.  It was really a cool experience.  I gave them all a copy of my business card so they could contact me.  They were all so happy to receive the card, though most of them have no email address and will never contact me.  It was touching to see how much they appreciated me.

In the afternoon the staff (the instructors together with the office staff) came together to bid me farewell  They sang a song for me, an existing Sesotho song with one word--Thuso--my Sesotho name.  They sang for 4 or 5 minutes and danced.  Then they gave me with a gift--a plate with the Itjareng logo and all of their surnames.  It was really kind of them to prepare something like that for me.  Mme Pascalina made everyone laugh by telling me she wouldn't cry then, she would start crying the next day. 

It is crazy that my time is drawing to a close.  I will still write twice more before I arrive back home in Utah;  I'll be traveling around my old mission areas and visiting people for the next two weeks.  Then it is back to posts about dating, gender equality, or whatever thoughts I have or events I participate in. 

I'll close with some pictures from my last day at work.  Then I have to get going--today is the Masianokeng Branch Open House for the new church meetinghouse. 

Until next time!

Sala le Molimo,

Thuso Moorosi

My gift from the IVTC Staff
Me (in traditional Basotho wear) with the trainees
 IVTC Instructors
Mme Letsau (my supervisor) and I

The Administrator, Ntate Foso and I

Saturday, July 28, 2012


This was a good and busy week.  At the same time, it wasn't particularly eventful.  I've been spending a lot of time at work trying to finish up my projects and leave everything well organized.  I finished the employee contract, staff performance appraisal sheet, rules and regulations, and made a lot of headway on a powerpoint presentation about Itjareng.  I was also happy that Mme Pascalina posted a new post on the Itjareng blog without needing help!

I also met with Ntate Mokhotu Letele about the mentoring project that he wants to set up between American students and Basotho students.  I created a google form for volunteers and students to sign up.  The volunteer form can be found here (it is still in beta form).

Oranges.  Mme Moorosi told me a series of funny stories from her work.  Oddly, they all involved oranges.  She seems to work with a lot of fun and good people at the Central Bank of Lesotho.

There is a woman at the office that is selling bags of oranges.  She was selling them at R15 a bag, and took orders from the people in the office.  When the truck came with the oranges, the security guards wouldn't let the truck into the parking lot.  The woman told her coworkers that the truck was parked on the street outside the gate where they could go and make their purchases.  Mme Moorosi quipped, "I don't know Mme, I'm not ready to spend R45 on a bag of oranges.  That is very expensive!"  The woman replied, "I don't now what you're talking about, they are still R15."  Mme said, "I'll be paying R15 for the oranges and R30 to the police for parking there on the street."  Everyone laughed.

Later in the week, after purchasing the oranges, Mme Moorosi was eating them at the office, as were several other bank employees.  Someone noticed that Mme was eating three at once, while the others were eating just one each.  When they made that comment, Mme said, "No, these oranges are very small.  These three are equal to one regular orange.  Many laughed and agreed with her, but the lady selling the oranges was hurt.  Mme promptly sent her a message on Skype, saying, "Mme, I still love you, but your oranges are very small!"

Just yesterday, Mme came home from work and was telling us that a gentleman had just reached his ten year mark at the bank.  When employees complete ten years, they are given a nice bonus.  Recently there were two other gentlemen in the office who completed their ten years.  The first took everyone out to eat at the nice restaurant at Maseru Sun.  The second gave everyone a R50 bill.  Everyone in the office was anticipating what this guy would do for them for his ten years anniversary.  There are twelve in the office, and a bag of oranges contains twelve oranges.  The gentleman, known for being cheap, gave each of them an orange.  There were some that were a bit displeased, although they couldn't complain--the guy didn't actually owe them anything.  Mme Moorosi, always a bit of a comedian, took out her calculator and said, "Ntate, I want to see how much I was worth.  She divided R15 by 12 to see that each orange was R1.25.  She shared the number with all of her colleagues, and then said, "You know what, I think Ntate has done something really good here.  He has set such a good standard for all of us.  Something we can all afford.  In fact, my ten years is two years away, but maybe we can celebrate mine today as well." She went around the room and gave everyone a five cent coin (worth less than a US penny).  Everyone was laughing and enjoying themselves.

I think Mme Moorosi is so funny in the things she says and does.  She is careful not to cause offense (or at least that is never her intent).

Mme Moorosi gave me an orange after dinner the other day.  I was already full so I put it in my backpack for later.  Four or five days later she noticed it was still in my bag.  She was so surprised.  She told me that in Lesotho they eat oranges like candy.  In turn I showed her a candy that had been in my bag for over a month.  That is how I eat candy.  In Utah I recently threw out some candy from Halloween two years ago.  The sweets were in a bag mixed with candies from the last two Christmases as well.

Ironically, one of the candies that my mom and dad sent me for my birthday was orange slices.  The missionaries came over to the Moorosi's for dinner, and I offered to share with them some of my American candies.  They were happy to accept my offer.  I opened the bag of orange slices and passed them around.  Elder Rose and Elder Shaw teamed up on Ntate Moorosi, telling him that they were actual slices from oranges, preserved and sugar coated.  They were so serious about it and were describing the process, so of course he believed them.  I reminded everyone of Mme's words to me--that the Basotho eat oranges like candy.  I then confessed that the orange slices were not real oranges but were just candy, and I said that in America we eat candy oranges.  It was pretty funny.

One of my favorite experiences of the week was visiting Mme Mokeki and her girls.  Mme was baptized in 2008 and has since moved to another village.  It was great to see her and her new place, which she built.  She is a very hardworking woman.  She owns a private primary school (which she runs as principal), a small shop, and she is now getting into the business of selling clothing.  Somehow she also has time to be the mother of three.  Unfortunately I missed seeing her husband, who was out of town.  As well as meeting Mme Mokeki, I was blessed this week to meet Kanono Mofammere and Malesooko Chale, two other church members that I hadn't seen since my arrival.  It is always a joy to be reacquainted with people you love.

Mme Mokeki (back) with daughters (left to right) Relebohile, Tiisetso, and Thato
Tiisetso has the funniest voice ever, I took a video of her singing "Mary had a little lamb" that is just hilarious.

This next week is my last week in Lesotho.  I leave here on August 6th and do a bit of a mission tour for two weeks before returning home.  I will visit Joburg, Polokwane, Mafikeng, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.  It will be a lot of fun, and require a lot of money.  But it's not every day you can revisit your mission.  I'm very excited, and I have the blessing of traveling in a place where I know a lot of people that love me and invite me to stay in their homes. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Stories and Birthdays

A funny story to start out with--as you may remember, I am working with the Moorosi's and the rest of the Masianokeng Branch of the Church to prepare for the Masianokeng Open House on August 6th. One of the things we have been doing this last week is delivering invitations. On Monday Mme Moorosi came home with a funny story from one her invitation deliveries.

As a preface to the story, I should share that when being respectful, you should always preface a woman's name with Mme (basically mother) or a man's name with Ntate (father). With that, I'll continue.

During her lunch hour, she went with a friend from the bank to deliver an invitation to the Police Commissioner (We'll call him Fred), the head of the police forces for the country. As she went to the office, she met the secretary. Mme tried to greet her, and the lady, not facing her, responded with a grunt. She tried again, "How are you?" and the lady didn't even grunt!

Mme said, "I have an invitation for Ntate Fred." The lady still didn't look up. Then Mme said, "Okay, no problem, maybe I can just call Fred myself." Her omission of "Ntate" the second time indicated a close relationship with the Commissioner since she could otherwise not call his name so casually. The lady looked up now, to see Mme Moorosi getting her phone out. Mme's friend, catching what Mme was doing, said, "Mme, I can't believe the way she is treating you! If she knew who you were, she couldn't treat you like that!" Mme agreed with her, now ignoring the secretary, who was pleading for forgiveness, asking that she not make the call.

Finally Mme put away her phone and gave the invitation to the secretary, who now very respectfully spoke with her, promising a prompt delivery of the inviation. The secretary never even asked Mme's name, she was so embarrassed. Mme is awesome.

I finally met Steven Thoahlane, this week. He is the President of the Board of Directors for the Lesotho National Association for the Physically Disabled (LNAPD). LNAPD is the organization that runs Itjareng. We had a good meeting together with Ntate Foso. Ntate Thoahlane is a professor at the National University of Lesotho. It was good to meet him, and I was glad to make his acquaintance before I return home.

On Thursday Ntate Foso called together the teachers of Itjareng for a meeting. Because of winter holidays, the students and teachers have been at home for the last 6 weeks or so. It was a nice meeting, and I think that the teachers responded well to Ntate Foso (who began his tenure as Administrator after the school closed for holidays). It was good to see everyone again, and it was nice to report back to the teachers on my progress. In our last meeting before holidays began, I gave them five specific projects I wanted to complete before we came back together. I have completed (or done all I can do) on each of these projects. I am still working on the employee contracts, and I am still waiting on an okay from the board to do the internet installation. Otherwise I am pleased with my progress, and so are the teachers and the administration.

After the meeting with the teachers Ntate Foso, Mme Pascalina, Mme Maboitumelo, Mme Moliehi and I went to Maseru to Lesotho National Federation of Organizations of the Disabled (LNFOD) headquarters. We met with a well-connected gentleman who used to be the head of LNFOD and two volunteers from Australia. Mme Pascalina had an idea to organize a dinner-dance fundraiser to start a scholarship fund for Itjareng graduates to start their own businesses. I have done a lot of work with the teachers to determine what items would be needed to start a business in leatherworking, metal work, sewing, carpentry, or agriculture. I have completed the list of items, and now I will be getting quotations from different companies on the cost of those items.

The meeting was really good. We made assignments for each person and talked over the theme and finances. The basic idea is to do a "Back to the 60s" themed dance at one of the large hotel ballrooms. Maseru Sun agreed to let us use their ballroom for free, on the condition that they do the catering, which is cool, but we are still looking at other options. We want to invite dignitaries from the government and large businesses and mix the idea of fundraising with a bit of awareness and advocacy for the disabled. It is a good plan, though I will not be here to see it through to its fruition. The event is scheduled for early November.

This was a week of birthdays. Sunday July 15th was Mme Moorosi's birthday. We celebrated that night by singing to her and eating a cake. My friend Nolan Sim's birthday was the 16th (Don't worry Nolan, I didn't forget you. Then Tuesday the 17th was a national holiday for the birthday of the King of Lesotho, King Letsie III. I celebrated my day off work by going to the church in Maseru for a singles activity. We watched some movies and talked about dating. I should write a seperate post some time about the differences of dating in Basotho culture. Overshadowing the King's birthday was the next day's birthday of Nelson Mandela, now 94 years old. A hero of democracy across the whole of Africa, Nelson Mandela's birthday was a big deal. Bill Clinton actually visited him for some reason. I'm sure someone has a birthday on the 19th. I think Eric Cambpell might be on that day? It isn't on his Facebook...

And the culminating birthday of the week was yesterday, July 20th--my birthday. It started out as a bit of a funny day. I went to town to meet with Mokhotu Letele, a man I've been helping with a mentorship program he is establishing. He wants American students to mentor Basotho students via skype, basically to encourage them to seek higher education and to give them new ideas and learn of different cultures. I think it is a cool idea, and something that most American students could easily particpate in.

We had a good meeting, and then I ran to the grocery store and bought a cake. I had promised my coworkers to bring a cake on my birthday that we could share together. Mme Pascalina even reminded me on Wednesday to make sure I hadn't forgotten. Imagine my surprise when I showed up with a cake and found not a single person at the office! The curtains were drawn and the office was locked. I borrowed keys from Mme Pascalina's daughter (she lives on the school campus) and did some work in my office, but no one else ever showed up. I saved the cake for Monday.

From there it got a little better. I went teaching with the missionaries for three hours after work, and we had some really nice visits, including a visit to my friend Lefa Nkhomo's home. He lives far enough away from Masianokeng that I haven't been to his place since I've been back in Lesotho.

Lefa Nkhomo and wife Mpolokeng at their house in Ha Motloeloa

The missionaries dropped me off at the Moorosi's at 7, and the whole family went to Spur, a steak and burgers restaurant at the mall. It is a big restaurant chain in South Africa, but this is the first Spur in Lesotho. There was a trampoline that kept the kids busy and happy while the rest of us ate. We had a really good time. My burger was delicious, as was my strawberry milkshake! During the meal our server came to the table and said, "I have a call for a Mr. Jeremy Andrew Moore." Of course I hadn't given my name to them, let alone my full name, and I had no one that should call me--I was already with my Basotho family. Well, it was my mom and dad! It was good to talk to them and my sister. It was funny too--I was standing just by the entrance to the restaurant on their landline, and I'm sure every comer and goer thought I was an employee behind the counter. I don't think I was a good employee; I ignored all of the customers and I was talking to family on the phone!

After we got home, we read scriptures as a family and exchanged some gifts. The Moorosis gave me a nice sweater vest and I gave them a nice copy of the scriptures with their names engraved on it. I also had some dvds and little things for the girls. Khoane was so happy with her DVD. As soon as she saw the picture on the front she broke into her oft repeated exclamation, "Mickey Mouse! Mickey Mouse!" I've never seen anyone love Mickey Mouse like that girl.

It was a very nice birthday, and another good week. Life is good.

Sala le Molimo,

Thuso Moorosi

Me at Itjareng

Thursday, July 19, 2012

google analytics

i love statistics. i also love writing. so i write in my blog and google gives me statistics on my readership. it is great!

i just want to thank you for reading my blog. i love to write and i love it more when i know my writing is read and appreciated. i thought it might be interesting to share with you some statistics from google analytics (GA). GA is a program that tracks visits to your website. it is really fascinating how much information they are able to gather. GA provides information regarding how many visitors there are, where they are coming from, which internet browser they are using, which operating system their computer (or mobile device) is running, etc. it is really fascinating stuff. it gathers the statistics anonymously, so no worries there!

i started my blog with my first post in September 14, 2011. i posted every week through early December, and then posted irregularly (and somewhat infrequently!) until my trip to Africa in May 2012.

i have posted a total of 35 posts, including this one. my most popular topics have been my posts on gender issues and dating issues. the all-time most popular post was "dating difficulties" which currently has 199 views. other popular posts were "gender equality," "what is attractiveness," "can men and women be just friends?" and "feminism."

in total, there have been over 2,700 pageviews from over 1,500 visits to the blog. these visits have originated from 31 different countries (in order of most visits):

United States
South Africa
South Korea
United Kingdom
Costa Rica

there is also an interesting breakdown of internet browser usage:
Google Chrome 46%
Mozilla Firefox 22%
Internet Explorer 13%
Safari 12%
Opera .13%

(the remaining percentage points (~7%) are from various mobile browsers)

i hope that was at least vaguely interesting; i think it is. again thanks for reading. if you have anything you'd like to hear more about, message me on my facebook, or email me at jeremy.andrew.moore@gmail.com

thanks again!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Visit to the Johannesburg Temple

The highlight of this week was my trip to the temple. I went with three brothers from Maseru Branch and a sister from Masianokeng. The Maseru Branch President, Liphapang (pronounced deep uh pong) Monesa drove us, and the other attendees were Khopolo Tsiu, Seeiso Rapitse, and Morongoe Khotobane. We left at 7 a.m. Friday morning, and drove to Joburg. We went straight to the temple and stayed for the rest of the day. We stayed the night with my new friend Thembinkosi Msimango, and after another visit to the temple Saturday morning we took the return trip to Lesotho.

Johannesburg Temple, aerial view

Temples are a very special place to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While regular worship services take place on Sundays in almost 30,000 congregations worldwide, temples are larger and rarer structures. The temple can be described as a place between heaven and earth, where we go to feel closeness to God. They are open throughout the week so that members can come and worship at anytime. It is in the temples that we are married for time and for all eternity. The temple is also a place to learn about the purpose of our life and the path we must take to return to live with God. It is the greatest spiritual education ever! Visitors are welcome in the Sunday services of the Church, but temple attendance is reserved for members of the Church who are keeping the standards and commandments of God. Just after a temple is built (and before it is dedicated) temples are open to the public for tours, after which the temple is dedicated to the Lord and closed to the public.

The Johannesburg temple was the first in Africa. Before it was built, Church members had to go by boat to London to attend the temple. Some facts about the Johannesburg temple can be found here.

I had a great time at the temple. I also ran into a lot of old friends. First I saw the MTC manager, Mark Mocke, and spent some time with him and his family. Brother Mocke used to puzzle us with clever games and riddles while we were training to be missionaries. He was such a fun guy to work with. He is also a ping pong master. I am pretty good at ping pong, and so were several guys with me in the MTC, but Brother Mocke destroyed us all.

I also ran into a few guys from the Johannesburg 2nd ward, where I went to church for six months of my mission. I saw Obert, Honest, and Karabo Mamabolo. It was so good to catch up and talk about mutual friends and see how everyone is doing. I hope to visit Karabo and his wife when I go back to Joburg in August before I go home.

I also ran into Kyle Zeeman at the temple. I knew him for only a week or so in 2008 as he was preparing to leave for his mission. He went teaching with Elder Roper and I for several days, and then left. We both recognized each other but it took us a while to figure out how we knew each other. He seems like a really cool kid, and is now working at the temple.

I was also very happy to meet Sister Louise Futter and Sister Wilhemina Becker at the temple. They have been working at the temple at least since 2009 when I was serving in Joburg. These sisters helped me to schedule weekly temple trips for the Joburg 2nd ward recent converts. They were so helpful and friendly, and I developed a friendship with them during my mission. I was so happy that they still remembered me! Before I left South Africa in 2009, I was talking to Sister Futter about how much I loved the temple. She encouraged me to seek for the opportunity to work in the temple when I had the chance. I thought that one day when I was retired and had a lot of free time I would be able to work at the temple; I never expected I would have that experience while I was still young. Instead I have been blessed with the opportunity to work at the Provo Temple (since August 2011), and it has been such a joy in my life. I told Sister Futter that I was working there now, and she was so happy to hear it.

Johannesburg Temple

The friendships that exist through the church are really cool. When you hear that someone is a member of the church, you have an instant connection to that person, even if you know nothing else about them.

Other than my temple trip, this was a pretty uneventful week. I continue to work on my projects at Itjareng, I teach with the missionaries on Fridays, and I teach Sunday School on Sundays.

One last thing I can share--last week Sunday I did a special musical number in church with Mamalema Mokotla. We sang an arrangement of four of our hymns (Nearer My God to Thee, Praise to the Lord the Almighty, Be Still My Soul, and Christ the Lord is Risen Today), and we sang everything in Sesotho! I did a pretty good job of pronunciation, though I had to read everything off of the paper. I got a lot of compliments on the singing, and the two senior couples (from Canada and USA) were especially impressed. It was fun to prepare for that musical number. My Sesotho speaking ability is now back to where it was in 2008, but I am far from being fluent.

I am happy and well. God is good.

Sala le Molimo,

Thuso Moorosi