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

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

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Blankets, Work, and Funerals

Just after I left the internet shop on Saturday, I realized that I had failed to write about one of the most interesting days of my week. On Thursday I wore my Lesotho blanket to town. If you aren't familiar with the Basotho blanket you can google it or check some google images here. I also have a poor quality picture that someone took for me. Sorry that it is blurry!

All day people were commenting on my blanket. Of course it is not usual to even see a white person, let alone see a white person wearing the traditional blanket. Nevertheless, I have worn my blanket to town before and received very little response. Thursday was different. People were stopping me to talk to me, girls were flirting with me, and people were shouting at me from across the street to get my attention. I felt like a celebrity, and it was a strange feeling.

At one point I went to the Vodacom (cell phone) store. I had been there for a few minutes when suddenly everyone started laughing. I followed the collective gaze of those around me and saw a naked man walking down the street. Here I was on Kingsway Road in the Central Business District of Maseru, the capital city of Lesotho, and a man was just walking down the street completely naked, as if nothing were out of the ordinary. I don't know why the man forgot his clothes at home, but he seemed quite content to walk around in public (and in the cold!) completely naked. Kind of strange.

I imagine that there were quite a few people in town who went home that day with a crazy story to tell their wives and children--"Guess what I saw in town today? A naked man walking down the street and a white man wearing a Lesotho blanket!" I'm not sure which will be more surprising to hear.

I didn't get the opportunity to go horseback riding last Saturday. The ride out to Malealea was long, and the road full of potholes. We really didn't have time. Plus it is expensive, so I didn't complain. The wedding reception was cool. They had a big tent set up and a large church choir sang. They sounded very good! The reception coincided with the groom's parent's 40th anniversary, which is very rare here.

At one point they asked for gifts to be given to the parents. Mme Moorosi had forgotten to bring anything, so she decided to give some money. She had already gone up to give it to them when they announced that all those giving presents should also say a few words to the couple. Mme didn't know what to say, and so she made a joke. She was holding her daughter Masekhoane, and she said to them, "I know that this family has two sons, but they only have one daughter. I have brought this girl as my gift to them so that their family can be well balanced." Everyone laughed and Mme gave Khoane to the gentleman. Everyone enjoyed the joke. Luckily, he gave Khoane back to her mommy!

The new Prime Minister, Tom Thabane is doing some really interesting things. He has changed policies so that the government will purchase vehicles from Toyota instead of Mercedes. He has also made it impossible for government employees to purchase used government vehicles at a price under the market rate. Prior to this, government ministers have been keeping their government Mercedes for a small fraction of the cost.

Thabane has also stated that government employees do not need to be first class passengers on airplanes, and says that all government officials will fly economy.

Last week Thabane went to one of the ministries (I believe it was the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare) at 8 in the morning. When he didn't find the minister, he sat at her desk until she arrived (at 9:30!). When she came in her office, he shook his head, got up, and left without a word.

It will be interesting to see how Lesotho evolves under such a leader. Lesotho is also currently constructing a new dam in the highlands and a turbine system that will generate more than enough energy to power the entire country. Lesotho has sold water to South Africa for some time; soon they may be in a position to sell power as well.

At church we are planning for the Masianokeng Branch Open House. The new building we are meeting in has finally been completed, and we will be hosting an open house to introduce neighbors, pastors, and government leaders to learn more about our church and go on a tour of it. I have never done a church open house, but there is a very organized packet by the church describing how it should be organized. It is quite similar in form to a temple open house, just on a smaller scale. The open house will be a lot of work to plan, as we will create and send invitations, invite the media, and train church members to be tour guides. Each organization in the church will do a little presentation for those on the tour describing what is done in the Priestood (men's organization), Relief Society (women's organization, Primary, and Sunday School (to name a few).

At Itjareng I have been doing a lot of work. I have completed a design for new business cards for all of the employees, which will be printed soon. I created a new blog for itjareng, which can be found at, and we completed the 2013 budget. I also drafted a new contract for IVTC employees, and I am currently working on writing the Staff Rules and Regulations for the organization. It is a much bigger project than I first anticipated.

I hope I can finish all of the projects that I have started before I go. It is very cool to work with Itjareng, and have the trust and confidence of the Administrator and staff. I have proven by my work that I can give good advice and produce good work. As time has gone on, I have been given bigger assignments. I am also the editor of all of the documents created by the Administrator or the Extension Officer. Sometimes instead of editing, I am asked to write proposals and letters, which they review before sending. This week we heard back from the Maseru Sun Hotel. I wrote them a letter asking them if we could host a disability awareness dinner dance free of charge at their ballroom. They agreed, so we have formed a committee to plan and organize the event.

Mme Moorosi has been experiencing some dibilitating dizziness lately. She saw the doctor a few times, but this time they referred her to a specialist. They found that she has an ear infection, and something about the fluids in her ears may be affecting her sense of balance and creating the dizziness. She is on sick leave for a week and has been taking medication. Not surprisingly, she isn't sitting around--the sick leave is like a vacation to her. Maybe the medicine has made her feel well enough that she can go out and about.

Today the Moorosi's are at a funeral for a family member in Maseru. He was in a prominent position in government, so it is a large event with hundreds of people coming that need to be fed. The funerals here are big social events. In Basotho culture you are expected to go to the funeral of anyone from your village and anyone that you are related to.

With Lesotho's prevalence of HIV/AIDS and with one of the lowest life expectancies in the world. Here is Wikipedia's list of life expectancy by country. Lesotho is 190th out of 194 countries. The world's life expectancy is 67.2, while Lesotho's is 42.6 (according to the UN's list. The CIA World Factbook lists Lesotho 188th out of 191 with a life expectancy of 40.38). Lesotho also has the distinction of being one of four countries in the world where men live longer than women on average. The other exceptions are Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and Afghanistan.

All of this results in a lot of funerals. And it is a big deal. You have to attend the funerals or you can displease the chief and be shunned by your neighbors. There is also a belief that if you don't go to others' funerals no one will come to yours. I don't understand the logic of it, as I don't plan to be in attendance at my funeral!

I had the opportunity to go to a pitso (public assembly) in Ha Matala (the village where I live) on Sunday. The whole meeting was in Sesotho, so I had a very limited understanding of the discussion. Afterwards I talked to Ntate Moorosi about it and he was able to fill me in. A lot of the discussion revolved around a bereavement fund for the family of persons who pass away in the village. Everyone puts in M10.00 ($1.18, but it is worth more than that amount would be to us) and the money goes to the family. I think it is a good system. The whole meeting was pretty cool. Anyone could speak and all opinions were considered. I like the idea of living in a community where people know their neighbors and discuss local issues. The expectation of the culture is that everyone should come and be involved. An interesting culture.

I have a busy day ahead of me. I am going to prepare to sing (in Sesotho!) in church tomorrow. I am also going to help paint someone's house and help someone else with some computer work.

Life is good!

Sala le Molimo,

Thuso Moorosi