Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Power Outage

Hello all--

Though I apologized for my late post last week, I failed to explain why I didn't get around to it on Saturday.  Let me start by telling you about that interesting day.

I started with great plans.  I had two things to do in town, email and buy a heater.   Then I needed to get back to Masianokeng for the institute class at the church at 11.  At 12 I was going teaching with the missionaries.  Mme Moorosi was going to Ladybrand in South Africa to do some shopping, but she said she could drop me and pick me up in 2 hours.  I went first to a shop to buy the heater.  They were sold out.  No big deal, it was just a little hiccup in my plans.  I could buy one later.  Next I went to the email shop.  After writing for some time, the power suddenly shut off.  Other businesses in the area seemed to have backup generators, but not my favorite little Chinese internet shop. 

There were only two of us in the shop at that time (though there are 34 computers).  I guess it was too early, cold, and wet, to have many people out and about.  The other man was a Nigerian named Hycent.  We talked about our respective countries and shared with each other our purposes of being in Lesotho.  He is a businessman, doing retail of cosmetic products.  We had an interesting conversation about the world's collective view of the Nigerian people.  As a nation they have earned themselves quite the reputation.  They are known in Southern Africa mostly for drugs and crime.  He told me that he is a Christian man and he doesn't do or sell drugs, yet he is constantly faced with opposition because of his citizenship.  In looking for a place to locate his business, he was unable to mention where he was from without prices rising drastically.  Basotho people (and South African people) are not generally friendly towards Nigerians.  I am glad to be from a nation that has a very good reputation here.  America is known for helping the Basotho people with food aid and development projects. The peace corps also has given the American people a good reputation in this country.

After about thirty minutes of talking with Hycent, a white man came into the internet shop to print something.  When he saw the power was out, he stayed and talked with us for another thirty minutes or so, hoping (as we were) that the power would return.  When I asked him where he was from, he told me he is from Ukraine, but is an Israeli citizen.  It was very interesting to learn about the everyday life in Israel, and also to hear an Israeli's opinion of current events in the Middle East.  He was a very funny guy, though his accent was so strong that I could hardly understand him at times.  As we talked, I realized that we were quite a gathering in this small internet shop--an American, a Nigerian, a Ukranian/Israeli, the Chinese that own the shop, and their Mosotho employee.  I love the diversity of being in Africa.  Johannesburg is much more of a melting pot; my experience at the email shop was more unusual than it was typical of Lesotho. 

Finally the Chinese chose to close their store for the day, refunding the time we had paid for and not used.  I had another thirty minutes before Mme Moorosi was supposed to come, but I knew that she hadn't brought her phone with her, so I had to stay by the internet shop.  After over an hour, she still hadn't arrived.  Finally I called Ntate Moorosi and asked him if his wife had returned home without me.  Apparently she had hit a pothole and got a flat tire.  Finally I took a taxi to the church, but as luck would have it, I was in a taxi that kept stopping for long periods of time.  They were going to a far-off place and wanted to recruit more riders to make it profitable for them.  I was only a 20 minute ride away from the church, but it took me 45 minutes to arrive.  At this point I realized that I had failed in all of my plans for that day.  I hadn't emailed, bought a heater, gotten a ride with Mme, or attended institute, and the missionaries had to wait for me since I arrived at quarter past 12. 

Luckily the rest of the day went largely according to plan.  I had a nice time with the elders, teaching many lessons.  It is really fun to be with the missionaries in one of my old areas.  I know people they don't know, so I have been able to introduce them to some of my old acquaintances.  Also I have met new people and learned new areas.  It is kind of nostalgic to do missionary work here again.

The rest of my week went well.  I have been  making some progress on different projects at Itjareng.  I have been helping them extensively with their 2013 budget, and I spent a few hours on Thursday researching new possible donors for the centre.  They are in need of a lot of repairs and improvements.  I hope that they will get an internet connection at the centre soon.  I got quotations from two different companies for setup of a wireless connection.  It is somewhat expensive, but I think it is necessary for their work.  They have lost past donors through lack of communication as they check their email VERY infrequently.  I have set up two email accounts for the centre, one for the administrator, and one as a shared email for the office.  I want to setup a google calendar including all of the yearly events and share it between the email accounts so that everyone can access it.  I also have encouraged the director to start a blog for Itjareng.  It would be a great way to advocate for disability rights and it could serve as a website for Itjareng since they have no internet presence at all.  My biggest project for next week (besides continuing the work on the budget) is to create a new employee contract to be signed by all of the employees.  I will also likely write out the policies and regulations of the centre, as they don't have any written policy.

This week I got to see the Avengers movie at the new mall in Maseru.  I left after work on Tuesday so that I could catch the movie before it was too late.  This was the last week it was showing in the theatre, yet there was only 6 of us in the room.  I thought it was a great movie.  Just an action packed adventure movie with some cool equipment and technology.  I watched the five o'clock showing, but by 7:20 when I got out of the movie, no taxis were available and the mall was empty.  I don't know how the night life is during the summer, but at least in winter everyone goes home and goes to bed as soon as it gets dark. 

Wednesday night I met one of the Moorosi's neighbors, a guy my age named Khoeli.  We had a great talk for over an hour about politics, religion, and life.  It was so cool to talk to him.  He is educated and interested in everything (like I am).  In my time here, he is the closest I have found to a friend.  Someone I would just hang out with.  I feel like the Moorosi's are my family, and I love my coworkers and the church members, but I haven't had anyone my age that was just my friend.  I have also been meeting a lot of cool people as I go to town to the internet shop and buy groceries.  People are so friendly and talk to strangers, so I have been making some good acquaintances as I go around.

Today I am going to a wedding with Mme Moorosi.  We may also go horseback riding afterwards...when I told her I'd never rode a horse, she said it was a must! 

I started making plans to visit some different areas in South Africa in August--I'm hoping to visit Mafikeng, Polokwane, and Joburg.  I'll try to finalize my plans this week and contact people throughout next week.  I plan to leave Lesotho August 6th, so it is coming right up!  I still have so much to do before I go.

I uploaded some pictures on Thursday.  First are pictures of my "little sisters" here, and then there are some pictures of the expansion of the Moorosi's house.  Check them out here:

I'll have more to write about next week.  I hope you are well! 

Sala le Molimo,

Thuso Moorosi

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