Living, Learning & Loving La Vida Nueva

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Life Today

Lumelong from the beautiful valley known as Maphutseng, Lesotho!  Lumelong means good day to all of you.  Yeah, we’re already almost fluent in Sesotho.  Not!  We have a long ways to go.  In Mexico we lived in such close proximity to our Mexican friends that we had constant interaction with Spanish.  Right now we aren’t in such a language learning conducive situation and it makes practice hard.  However, I think once we get somewhat settled into Maseru, we’ll be able to make some friendships with local people and get working on becoming fluent Sesotho speakers.  For the time being, we are studying books and practicing what we do know and enjoying this time as a family.

Our home stay was quite the experience and didn’t achieve all that I had hoped it would.  We had a hard time interacting with the people as we spent a lot of time trying to keep Kyle out of mischief.  I certainly feel that having a two year old makes focusing on learning much more difficult than it was when we were childless.  Nevertheless, we did what we could to learn and we certainly had a chance to observe how the Basotho people live their daily lives.  I am thankful, however, to be in our own space now after being surrounded by others constantly for two months.

Now we are here in Maphutseng next door to our Unit Leaders for two weeks (one more week now) learning from them about living in Lesotho and how to navigate everything from grocery stores to border posts to roadside license checks to interaction between our children and the local children.  They have been working here in Lesotho for over 20 years.  We are in a guest house which was built as a future retirement home for a friend of theirs and it is very nice.  We are still working on a vehicle although I think we might have bought one yesterday.  If feels kinda funny to not know if you have purchased a vehicle.  Our Unit Leader knows just about everyone and has had lots of friends on the look out for the type of rough and tumble vehicle we were interested in purchasing.  Apparently one came available in Pretoria day before yesterday and I suppose we bought it yesterday.  AIM has our vehicle money so they would’ve been taking care of the actual purchase.  Hopefully we’ll know today whether we got it or not.

I visited the Obgyn again yesterday in Bloemfontien.  Everything still looks good and Lady Saint is growing well.  The Dr did another quick scan to look at measurements and she is now measuring right on her due date.  Of course, we all know that babies don’t necessarily come on their due dates (ahem, Kyle).  Nevertheless, things are looking good and I am scheduled to go back in 5 ½ weeks.  I won’t be doing the standard frequent visits as long as I’m not experiencing any problems as it is quite the haul to Bloemfontien for a blood pressure check and a pat on the back.  Our plan is to go in 5 ½ weeks, then again in 5 weeks when we will stay in Bloem until Ellee decides to make her grand appearance.

During my visit to Bloemfontien, our Unit Leader’s wife took me around to shop for some things I haven’t been able to find here in Lesotho.  Last weekend I made a list of all the groceries I was looking for and sent it with some other team members who were going into South Africa.  They brought back just about everything on my list and that has made cooking this week extremely exciting!  On Wednesday we were taken to a nice butcher just over the border in SA because the meat I had purchased here in Lesotho was pretty much disgusting.  It turns out I think I accidently bought the “off casts” of the beef rather than lean ground beef.  So we spent about half an hour or more picking bone chips and other things I didn’t recognize out of it.  I can’t believe we didn’t get sick eating it.  When our Unit Leader’s wife got home and I asked her about the meat, she was appalled that I had been sold such pathetic stuff.  She made me give her the rest to feed to her dogs as she deemed it unsafe for us to eat.  Fine with me, I really don’t prefer crunching my beef.  So when she took us to the butcher, I got some beautiful lean ground beef which was bone free.  And some boneless skinless free range chicken breasts.  Since we left America, all we’ve had access to was bone in skin on chicken pieces and I was really ready to see some leaner meat!

So, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on what we can and can’t find here if we look hard enough.  There are still a few things I’m hunting for but I expect I won’t find them or at least not for a price I am willing to pay.... Like real maple syrup.  Regardless, it feels good to have a stocked kitchen and to be able to cook familiar food for my family.

I learned yesterday that our Unit Leaders have a trusted friend on the lookout in Mokhotlong for our house to rent.  I’ve been so curious about our housing up until now but I didn’t have a clue in the world how it would work itself out.  So, I now know that “we” are looking for a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom house with running water!  I am stoked!  I was really hoping for 3 bedrooms so we’d have an extra room for visitors.  For normal life, I’ll plan to have Kyle and Ellee separate and that means I’ll get to do some sort of a nursery for my Ellee once we get settled in August.  I don’t expect the place will be very large, but we don’t mind and I am hoping for a decent little yard, or garden as they call it here, for Kyle to play in.  Once our scout has located 2 or 3 possibilities, our Unit Leaders will take us to Mokhotlong to make the final pick.  I’m excited to have a little choice in the matter and I really can’t describe my excitement in thinking about our first “house”.  I can't wait to not share walls!

Because our team member passed away and his family is relocating after a time of respite back in the US, they have a lot of fairly new furniture and appliances for sale in their home about 45 minutes from Mokhotlong.  When we go to settle on housing, we will visit their home and look through the things they have for sale.  Of course it is an extremely sad situation but I am thankful that we might be able to help them as they have a lot of things to get rid of and we have nothing.  We will still have to purchase a refrigerator which I expect to be our largest expense.  It will need to be an energy saving appliance for the times when the power goes out and our food needs to stay cold.  Plus, we will do a lot of our major grocery shopping during occasional trips to South Africa so we’ll need a place to store things throughout the rest of the month.  I may look into getting a small freezer in addition to whatever the fridge has as it could reduce the number of trips we make to SA.  I’ve also been told it is possible to get a basic washing machine for a pretty reasonable price and I am interested in doing that.  If Ellee has the same spit up issues Kyle had, I can’t imagine washing that many soiled baby clothes by hand….. every day.  They would still air dry on a line but the washing would be taken care of by the machine.  That will mean fewer blisters on my fingers!!  I will be interested to see if the electricity in Mokhotlong will be strong enough to sustain such a machine…. We shall see.

Well that’s pretty much it for right now.  Another week here and then a few days for an AIM Lesotho team gathering and then we will be somewhat settled into Maseru for about 9 weeks until Ellee comes.  During our time in Maseru, Jonathan will be learning about the Theological Education by Extension program and we will be working with a language helper regularly.  In typical Jonathan fashion, he is already picking up the language way faster than me and even our Unit Leader is afraid he might surpass him if given enough time.  It is a blessing because his work with TEE will require that he knows the language well and as long as he can learn it through all his interaction with different people, I know he can help me at home.  With two little kids, I just won’t have the same opportunity to get into the village as often as he will.  He can be my tutor.  He's the cutest one around anyhow.

Will update again when I have something worth telling!

1 comment:

  1. Abby, I'm so glad to hear that you are getting to cook--and getting some "normal" food finally. I know that can be one of the hardest things to adjust to. I'm also thrilled to hear about your house and that you get to have some say in it!!! I'm praying for you guys--keep the updates coming!