How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.
-Winnie the Pooh
Sion Watkins from Lesotho May 2019
As usual whenever I travel things do not go smoothly. My holiday in Namibia was incredible but a luggage scanner fault at Windhoek meant that my flight to Johannesburg was late and the resultant connection to Maseru missed. I spent a night in the airport hotel fretting about a course I’d arranged for my first day back, trying desperately to contact Anne who was to meet me without wi-fi from either end. It’s at these moments that you realise how much technology has a grip on your life and also how even in Africa with so many differences, technology is where the catch up is greatest.
I made it by 7.00am with an early morning flight and by 8;30 Anne and I were back in a routine running the fourth of our courses in Maseru district. The 40 or so teachers were responsive and keen to embrace the ideas we were peddling. The key difference to what they’ve experienced before is a sense of fun, showing not telling and a verbal engagement.
We arrived back in Morija guest house here I promptly slept. It’s a joy to stay there, Brigitte is so unassuming, you have the run of the place, you meet a myriad of different people. Best of all it’s not an ex-pat scene. This time staying with us was an Episcopalian priest and his daughter travelling Southern Africa on a Sabbatical from the US. The German kids doing their year out were also there and as usual great fun. Food was excellent, I love the fact it’s just a set meal and we all sit around a large table chatting. I had an amazing chakalaka - home made something I’ll have to try making in Wales.
The big decision we made was based on Wednesday 1st May being a holiday. We decided to extend our stay not rush off after the course and use the holiday as a road trip to Thaba Tseka. The course the next day in Morija was interesting. Again around 40 or so, but because of a lack of communication we arrived for 9 whereas the teachers had arrived for 8. Now this is priceless as Basotho time and its flexibility is the most frustrating thing I experience here. They just accept it as people in the UK accept, they’re not good at maths. However, the fact we were not on time was an outrage. Honestly the grim faces didn’t bode well. In reality along with Semongkong it was the best course we had, loads of happy, engaged, positive teachers and such a sense of joy.
The journey back to Thaba Tseka was the first time for me to drive it and the experience is incomparable. Sitting as a passenger you don’t get a sense of the scale of the mountains, the tortuous roads and the perpetual code of conduct needed to avoid animals and casual walkers. The drive from Maseru starts on plains but then you hit the Maluti trail with three astonishing passes through them. I say passes but it’s really a" long and winding road” to quote the Beatles. The first is the highest climb from around 1550m to 2250m - this is Bushman’s pass and in a small toyota involves a lot of second gear. The second the aptly names ‘God help me pass’ is a series of winding roads similar to the Alps with spectacular views and sheer drops. The last the ‘Blue Mountain pass’ just takes your breath away. The whole journey is around 180km but takes around 3 and a half hours - if you travel with Anne add another hour for a coffee break and numerous photo stops!
Posted by· July 16, 2015 2:14 PM
Posted by· June 04, 2015 9:29 AM
Posted by· June 04, 2015 9:25 AM