Monday, June 11, 2012

Sick Week

On Saturday after emailing I went to the auditorium at Central Bank to attend a dance competition that my friend Kholu Liphoto was in. Celebrating the Queen Masenate’s birthday, the dance competition brought together couples from Botswana, Swaziland, Namibia, South Africa, and Lesotho. When she invited me I thought it was some small local competition, but it is quite a large annual event. Also, Kholu won first place at the competition last year, so she was defending her title. I went with my friend Mothepu at 6, expecting to be there for an hour or two. Apparently they were far behind schedule. They were still doing the youth division.

Kholu didn’t end up dancing until around 11, but we stayed since we had already paid the entry fee and we had only gone in the first place to support her. All of the couples danced in so many styles: tango, waltz, salsa, cha cha and some ones that I don’t remember. Kholu did very well, taking second place; first went to a couple from Botswana. She was very disappointed since she won last year, but I thought she did great. Since the couples danced all at the same time and each individually, they weren’t ready to give awards until 2. I ended up arriving at home after 3 am, which is late for anyone, but basically unheard of here.

Monday was a good day at work. We had a staff meeting, our last one before the trainees went for winter holiday. Since the instructors are also going home for holidays, I shared with them my plans for the next few months. They were very supportive, and promised to give me the information I needed to do that work in their absence.

On Monday night I slept terribly. I woke feeling very hot, with pain in my lungs and a horrible headache. I tried to go to work, but came home after a few hours to rest. I slept all day and then went to the doctor that evening. He said I had influenza and gave me some medication. I then slept again, sleeping a total of 24 hours out of 32 hours.

On Wednesday morning I felt a lot better. I went on a road trip to Butha-Buthe with the entire staff of Itjareng. We visited a primary school for the physically handicapped called Thuso e Tla Tsoa Kae. They call the school Thuso for short, so I joked that the place is named after me. They are funded by the American Pea e Corps and Sentebale, a foundation ran jointly between the King of Lesotho and the Crown of England. We had a meeting with the parents of many of the children at the school, explaining to them what Itjareng is and distributing application forms. Itjareng takes trainees from 18 years and older, so only a few of the students at Thuso were old enough to apply for next year, but it was still good for all of these parents to learn about the vocational training we do.

After the parents meeting they gave us a tour of the place. In the office I met a young peace corps volunteer from New York. Her name is Lisa and her Sesotho name is Nthabiseng. Surprisingly our visit marked her last day as a volunteer in Lesotho, so she it was kind of cool to meet her just before she left. They also had a volunteer from Australia. As we toured the place it was clear that they have much more funding than Itjareng. They also have a wider range of handicapped people than we do at Itjareng. To be admitted at Itjareng the trainees must pass an interview to prove that they are capable of being trained within whichever field they apply for. Those without use of either hand or those who are too severely mentally handicapped can’t attend Itjareng.

On our way home, what should have been a three hour drive took about five hours. We had to stop constantly for toilet breaks, shopping, and visiting friends. We stopped at least 10 times. Also the teachers were in somewhat of a celebratory mood since we were closing the next day for holidays. Some were drinking and we had loud music playing in the taxi. Of course everyone had to dance and sing along. Although I’d felt alright in the morning, I started feeling very sick again during that drive.

After resting for a few hours at home, we went to Maseru Sun hotel to the buffet to celebrate for Ntate Moorosi’s birthday. It was a great evening—we had a lot of fun eating, talking, and singing happy birthday. It was funny because we saw a waiter bringing a cake so we started singing happy birthday, but then the guy walked right passed us and gave the cake to another table. It was kind of embarrassing, but funny. Then another cake was brought to us just after.

On Thursday I had a really interesting day at work. I was feeling worse than I did on Wednesday, but I had already planned to teach a personal finance class to the staff. It was a really good class; I enjoyed teaching and I think the staff really appreciated my help. Some of them were very new to using a computer, but at least they have access to the computer teacher if they need help.

After lunch we had a meeting to review the employee contracts. It was difficult for many reasons—first of all, I don’t know the employment laws in Lesotho; second, I have no experience with contracts; third, there are five different versions between the different employees and two are working without any sort of contractual agreement. I am going to see what I can do to work on that situation.

Friday I was feeling even worse, almost as bad as I first had on Tuesday, so I didn’t go to work. I watched cartoons with the kids and slept. I also watched the inauguration ceremony for the new Prime Minister. This is the first peaceful change of government since Lesotho’s independence in 1966. Now today I have done nothing but send this email. At least today I am feeling a little better. Being sick changes everything; it has helped me appreciate how well I usually feel. I hope that everything will be back to normal by Monday.

Though I have been sick the whole week, it has still been eventful and fun. I am still happy. Many adventures await me next week.

Update: So I meant to post this on Saturday, and then Sunday, but on both days the power went out in the whole town. I first thought it had to do with the snow. Apparently not, as the snow was gone by Sunday. I asked Mme and Ntate about it (the power shut off three times Sunday evening) and they said it was maybe an effort by the city to limit people's power usage. It is cold so everyone is using more power than usual. Perhaps it is an effective way to send people to bed and conserve. Also I’m feeling much better today. Good news :)

And now some pictures:

Kholu and her dance partner at the competition

Me with Gayla and Katleho on Sunday

The incarnation of the Holy Ghost according to the IPHC church... I find these stickers everywhere

Katleho’s bad hair day!

Snow on Saturday. Meanwhile I hear its in the hundreds in AZ!

Sala le Molimo,



  1. Snow in Africa! Who would have thought?

  2. what do you know about the incarnation of the holy ghost?

  3. @Tebogo- I believe in an embodied God and in His Son Jesus Christ, also a being with a resurrected body. As for the Holy Ghost, I believe that He is a person of Spirit. This is how He can guide and direct us and dwell in us.