Just Clowning Around

Trip Start Jan 20, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Lesotho  , Leribe District,
Tuesday, February 23, 2010

When I first arrived in Lesotho last November, I committed myself to volunteering only until the time of Mat & Nici’s wedding in South Africa. But how could I not come back? It seems that each day presents new frustrations and challenges, but the smiling faces of the kids at Rachel’s Children Home are enough to cancel out any adversity that might come along..........so far anyway!

A summary of recent happenings at Rachel’s:

* February is the last month that teacher’s salaries at Rachel’s will be provided by a Presbyterian church in Canada. Hilda’s response to this serious dilemma - “God will provide”! Being somewhat less confident that manna will suddenly fall out of heaven on payday, I suggested that we head to Maseru on a begging mission - at least as a temporary measure. In the meantime, if anyone knows of a church interested on taking on a new project for a year or two, please give me a shout. The salaries amount to approximately Cdn $1000 per month. On a more positive note, my good friend Adi in Switzerland asked his friends to send money in lieu of gifts for his thirty-fifth birthday. Thanks to Adi, the school now looks superb with its fresh coat of paint - both inside and out.

* Our first funding proposal has been approved, so Rachel’s will soon become home to one hundred new layers. For the mathematicians out there, how many eggs will 100 chickens produce on a daily basis, and how many do we need to sell in order to pay the teachers salaries? Wishful thinking, you say? At least it’s a good beginning. And thanks to Chris in Ottawa (whose friends received a photo of Rachel’s orphans in lieu of Christmas gifts), there is money to purchase even more layers.

* Would you believe that Sharon is back in the herb business? Conrad Richter of Richter’s Herbs kindly sent me a large package of herb seeds, so a student “herb team” is alive and well at Rachel’s. Although meant to provide education and entertainment for the kids, it seems that the teachers are equally enthralled with this new thing called “herbs”. If I’m not careful, thymeoff might have to be changed to thyme on again!

* International adoption through the Ministry of Social Welfare was suspended in 2007 with strong accusations of child trafficking. Changes were implemented through a Commission of Enquiry, and the first resumption of adoption meetings was held on February 19th. Mixed emotions for me at the meeting were not unexpected, but I was quite dumbfounded by the lavish luncheon spread for the participating agencies. The government provides no financial support for Rachel’s or any of Lesotho’s orphanages, yet how many children could have feasted on just that one meal.

* When life seems to be getting you down, what could be more uplifting than a performance by “Clowns without Borders”. Volunteers from France and South Africa, this particular group of clowns spent last weekend entertaining children and adults alike at various locations in the area. Due to financial constraints, the children at Rachel’s seldom go anywhere outside of their own gate, so I was determined that they should be part of the fun. Sounds simple enough, eh? Two days of frustrating arrangements, $110 for transport, and another five-hundred gray hairs later, I was finally successful. Was it worth it? You bet - Rachel’s kids were all there, clowning around with the best of them!

Lesotho’s thousands of peach trees have produced a bumper crop of fruit this season, the women at Pitseng’s “London Take Aways” make top-notch “fat cakes”, and the spectacular mountains continue to create a veritable twenty-four hour television viewing. What more could I ask for?

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Liz Jennaway on

Way to go Sharon!

The peaches look amazing! and you are doing so much once again!
Great therapy!
Thinking of you

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