I am sitting in the Lerotholi Polytechnic Institute with my old friend, 'M'e Maboleba Kolobe, a lecturer in English here. She is offering me some time on the internet while she mars papers. What an interesting place. I met her office-mate who is a professor in entrepreneurship and listened to how he says it is very complicated to start businesses in Lesotho. He says it is a dream of his to have an incubator. Maybe I can help make some connections for him. I really live a charmed life.See the trip: Southern Africa GIE 2013
Woke early this morning and didn't even really feel the jet lag. French Press Coffee is a nice addition to BoGrinnell. I was fortunate enough to meet with my old headmistress, Sr. Armelina Tsiki and she showed me all of the things the school has to be proud of. Among those, the JC exam results in which one student was top ten! Impressive work, all! Other items of note are common scheming and exam setting in the district (the Agric Association was there to do just that this morning), a new computer lab and computer curriculum, and several renovations of the mission for the Good Shepherd Sisters' 70th anniversary of the mission's establishment at St. Rodrigue. It was such a wonderful visit and I was so pleased I got the opportunity to catch up with her.
I also had the great pleasure of attending some of Ntate Scott and 'M'e Rachael's classes this day. They are doing good work. There was some great discussion about ideas for the improvement of the country in many different sectors and the teaching of study skills using shared flashcards. It was most exciting to see all of the bluebirds again.
I also had a chance to meet some of the new teachers and a few of the old ones including 'M'e Batere (who thought I did not remember her), 'M'e Matekane (looking and acting as youthful and exuberant as ever), and 'M'e Tjotsi (who now has an 11 year old daughter!). It was very nice to catch up shortly.
We spent much time just relaxing and chatting about the program, the students and teachers, and life as a Grinnell Fellow in St. Rodrigue. I even got the chance to take a very short hike up the hill to watch the sun setting over the mountains. I remember how breathtaking everything is there, but it still continues to take my breath away seeing it all.
0. Lesotho is a small country. Less than 2 hours after being in Maseru, a student calls, "'M'e Gina!" and we caught up at the bus stop. Awesome!
1. There are a lot of taxis up to Mpatana nowadays, but no Mphatlalatsane II bus.
2. The road to Semonkong is partially paved, making this a much easier journey.
3. Ntate Lebowa lives above the mission and therefore can pick up and drop off at BoGrinnell.
4. He has some tricked out sound system and party lights to make the trip a bit more entertaining.
5. BoGrinnell is without hot water and electricity and probably will stay that way, as are all of the other teacher houses.
6. The road up to the mission from Mpatana is still miserable. Good thing I don't get carsick.
7. The company at BoGrinnell is wonderful as always, and I had a warm welcome with pizza(!!!!) as now there is a working oven!
Flying into Lesotho is a breathtaking exercise. I only wish they allowed me to use my camera as I did so. You really begin to understand why it is called the Roof of Africa with the highest low point on the continent. The plane nestles between some kloofs in the foothills and you get a sense of peace knowing that life is a little bit slower here.
Got a SIM card, but not my checked bag (not surprisingly) and went off to meet the current Grinnell Fellow at the new fancy mall in Maseru, Pioneer Mall. We had a coffee, did some checking in on the internet at the Vodacom store (only M5 for 30 minutes!) and headed to the bus stop for our taxi ride to St. Rodrigue.
Emirates Palace Hotel at 12:00am GST in Abu Dhabi, Abū Z̧aby, United Arab Emirates.See the trip: MAC GIE to UAE 2013