We began our journey appropriately – with a serendipitous encounter at the Butha-Buthe filling station.
I, engrossed in my book (per usual on the long drives between Maseru and Mokhotlong), happened to glance up just at the right moment to see a white woman maneuvering from Masotho to Masotho at the station inquiring which pump dispensed diesel. She was clearly Dutch – blond hair, blue eyes, and possessed of that European style of dress which jogged my memory back to a December stop by London. It is fairly unusual to see white people outside of Maseru, though Butha-Buthe sees them in higher numbers than most places. It is even less common for me to recognize said white people as friends and colleagues from another part of the world.
Tossing my book I stumbled out of the car, getting tangled in my seatbelt along the way, and dodged about the mess of petrol station traffic. A strangled ‘Marijn! Marijn!’ escaped from somewhere within me as I rushed to greet my friend, who now turned confusedly before a giant blue Land Rover (Winston, I was to learn he is called).
We shared a long hug of greeting in the shadow of greasy oil pumps and to the tune of Basotho men yelling at one another directing the dozens of oversized vehicles. Welcome to Lesotho, Marijn and Ann 🙂