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


  1. As always, honey, I love your writing! Sounds like you had yet another interesting week! Glad that you enjoyed your birthday. Mme Moorosi has an amazing way to get what she wants from people--I admire that! Love you, Mom

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