Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dung, Dung, Dung!

I'll start with a few apologies--I'm sorry I am late with this post! Also, I'm sorry to say that I was unable to match the excitement of last week. That might be a good thing--I don't need that kind of excitement every day. Anyways, this has been a nice week.

After I wrote last Saturday I went to a YSA activity at the church in Maseru. When I arrived they hadn't yet started, so I helped some others clean the church. There is a small courtyard area in the middle of the church where pigeons love to perch (and poop). Luckily the bird dung was dry so we swept it into piles. After an hour of sweeping, we had filled two large trash bags with pigeon poop. Kind of gross! But it is always a good feeling to clean.

By then the activity had started. First we played volleyball for a few hours. I really enjoy volleyball--I've been playing in Stake intramurals for the last two years, which has been a lot of fun. Here it was even better, because the next tallest person was probably a foot shorter than me. I got to do a lot of spiking, and there wasn't really anyone blocking me :) Honestly, I had a huge height advantage; there were a lot of people that played well. It was competitive and I had a lot of fun.

After volleyball we watched some action movie about the Greek gods. The movie was okay, but what was fun was to have the experience with the Basotho my age. I don't think that most of them watch many movies, or at least not at the theatre. Watching on a big projector screen is kind of cool for anyone, but for my Basotho friends, it was fun to witness their reactions to surprises on screen, the gross CGI creatures the heroes fought, and the cool fighting scenes. There were a lot of surprised exclamations and people holding their breath as they awaited the outcome of a scene. When the main character defeated this mythical creature with multiple heads, there was literal cheering!

This week I have a few more stories to share from the life of Mme Moorosi.

Mme Moorosi grew up in a rural area of the district of Mohale’s hoek in Lesotho. When they had meat, each person would be given a piece to cook to the level of their satisfaction. When she was very young, she couldn’t cook the meat by herself; often an older child would volunteer to help her. She had to be very careful when accepting such requests. If she wasn’t, she would find that her meat had disappeared and been replaced with a dry piece of cow dung. Because she was little, she wouldn’t recognize what had happened; she just thought the meat had been burned or didn’t taste good.

Another childhood story also coincidentally included cow dung. Once some neighborhood girls invited Mme to go play with them. They were going to dig for eggs. They decided together that whatever eggs each girl found would be for her alone to eat. Eventually they came to a field with many heaps of cow dung. They directed her to dig at one, and they each dug under the dung heaps looking for eggs. Surprisingly to her, all of the other girls found eggs, but she found none. They directed her to another pile, but still she found nothing. The other girls were all cooking and eating their eggs, having a great time. Finally one of the girls offered to share with her. She felt so grateful, since she hadn’t found any eggs herself. When she returned home, she told her grandma the whole story. Her grandma now knew what had happened to all of her chicken eggs! The girls had stolen the eggs and buried them, placing heaps of dung to mark each place. They also made some heaps without burying any eggs beneath. Because they knew where the eggs were, they directed Mme to dig in all of the wrong places, while they each found eggs.

I think her life has been so interesting. It is also great to hear her tell the stories and hear her inflection and see her body language and facial features.

I only realized after typing all of this that I have mentioned dung three times in one post! A new record! Manure is very useful (and commonly used!) here--it is fertilizer, fuel for the cooking fire, and a common coating for walls and floors. After drying, it makes a watertight surface that is easily swept and has a pleasant appearance.

I have really enjoyed working with the new director of Itjareng, Ntate Molise Foso. Only 29 years old, Ntate Foso has already had a quite interesting career. I have had several meetings with him, and I am very impressed. Ntate Foso walks with crutches due to a sickness in his childhood that left his legs different lengths. His disability has given him a drive to succeed in life. In his childhood and teenage years, Ntate Foso was told that he couldn’t succeed. He has worked very hard to prove those people wrong.

Spending time with Ntate Foso has helped me to see the importance of the work we are doing for the disabled. Because he has a positive outlook in life, he has been successful despite (or maybe even because of) his disability. There are many disabled people living in the rural areas of Lesotho that have not been as lucky. Disabled persons are sometimes treated as less than human. Villagers tell the parents of the disabled that they must have been cursed by God. In this situation, disabled people in Lesotho are often excluded from opportunities to go to school and are hidden from society. Already physically disadvantaged, their opportunities for success are further limited by a lack of education and regular social interaction.

In a meeting with Ntate Foso he told me, “I am not a disabled person; I am a person with a disability.” His disability, which I viewed as a stumbling block, has been a source of strength and motivation in his life, driving him to success. I have learned from him this experience that I shouldn't judge others by what I see. Regardless of size, shape, religion, race, gender, or sexual orientation, all people deserve fairness and equal treatment from every other person.

Life is good. All is well in Lesotho.

Sala le Molimo,

Thuso Moorosi

1 comment:

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