Saturday, March 7, 2015

Exploring Lesotho some more.

The next day we headed out from Maseru in search of an old friend, Qamako. He’d been Kevin’s counterpart at Emmanual; he taught English. Kevin had sicced the Google on Qamako with only limited success (Lesotho will do that to you) so when the 7th Day folks gave him Q’s mobile number and confirmed he’d been working at the same place he’d been the last time Kevin saw him back in the 90s, Kevin was pretty psyched.

Qamako directs a former Outward Bound center, which is where Kevin’s Peace Corps cohort got a couple weeks bonus training kayaking and rappelling and whatnot, back when it was still officially associated with Outward Bound.

On the way out to the site, I tried capturing the dongas, gullies created by water erosion. I started off with my iPhone:


My wobbly, from-the-window-of-a-moving-car effect. Eventually I succumbed to the landscape and broke out the Nikon.  Here’s a better take on a donga:


Here’s one of the trademark pointy mountains. This one is Qoqolosing. I should mention that the “q” in Sesotho is a tongue click – the closest approximation that comes to mind is like a “cl”.



We also passed several sites where Kevin’s fellow Peace Corpses had worked, so many photographs had to be taken of these places as well. Eventually we got to Thabo Phatsoa...


...which was off the side of a side road...


The King, y’all.


We enquired after Qamako of some of the residential staff. He wasn’t in. We wandered around for a bit. Kevin grooved on memories.


Was this the set of cliffs where they did some rock climbing?


Just then Qamako’s assistant chased us down, cell phone in hand. She had Qamako on the line.


We agreed to meet him at a gas station back in in Hlotse in an hour. Since we had some time to kill, we explored the little valley where the facility’s located. It’s a little valley with an impounded stream. Looking across the way at the resulting small lake – that’s the earth dam on the right side:


And looking upstream – a heavenly little valley with cliffs and another pointy mountain:


Eventually we headed back to Hlotse.


I made KB stop so I could capture the valley we crossed to get there.


We got to Hlotse with a little extra time, so we stopped in at a weaver’s cooperative.




They had two teenagers carding, two women spinning, and several looms set up, though not all were being tended. It was pretty cool. Some shoppage occurred. A few minutes later we found Qamako at the gas station and they got all caught up on the side of the road.


We would be heading for a national park for a couple of days but were in need of a place to crash Friday, and Qamako offered us the use of his center’s lodging for that night. So we agreed we’d see him in a couple of days. He got on his way – he had a meeting over the border in S. Africa – and we did some grocery shopping, because we knew we’d be on our own, culinarily speaking, for a few days.

This is not what we bought.


After shopping, we continued on to Emmanuel High School, just for a peek.

Along the way I gaped at the cliffs and yelled at Kevin for not having told me of them ahead of time.




We parked, I gaped, we walked down the road toward the school.


The school’s view out across the valley.

We knew we’d be coming back in a few days for a reunion of some of Kevin’s students, so after a little while we took off. Kevin marveled at the green: he’d done his stint during some drought years, it turned out.


We were headed to Ts'ehlanyane National Park. It took more gorgeous cliff-studded valleys to explore to get there.


Eventually we goy to the head of the valley: the Maliba Lodge nestled in the folds of the hills.


It turns out Kevin had cleverly rented us one of a handful of little houses along the river. With its own kitchen. Hence all that grocery shopping back in Hlotse.

View from the reception house.


View from the balcony of our ‘cottage’ (two stories, three bedrooms).



To the east, I could see a line of some kind of grazing animals making their way across the face of the hill – center of picture, just above the spires of the trees. Little white dots.


An occasion for the mighty Lumix.


Common eland (thank you, interwebs).

I cooked up some dinner. As we ate I noticed something out the window. Some eland were in the river bed, grazing and drinking.





In the meantime, the sun was setting, setting the upper slopes on fire.


After dinner we took a walk upstream to a rock pool.


The moon rose.


We went back out well after dark, and gazed up at the Milky Way and the Southern Cross. We pulled the drapes tight and slept like two little logs.

The next day: no cars involved. Only hills, and wildflowers, and tadpoles, magical rocks, and peace, peace, peace.

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