Tag Archives: celebrate

Thanksgiving Recipe 2014

London Thanksgiving Dinner
1 Portuguese
1 Australian
1 Briton
1 Irishman
1 Dutchwoman
1 American
8 supermarket trips
3 hours of cooking
5 Thanksgiving dishes (divided)
2 holiday candles
3 bottles of wine

Mix for 3 hours, stirring in 20 minutes’ worth of stories explaining the origin of Thanksgiving holiday and traditions (Optional: add 1/2 cup skepticism and a healthy dash of snark).

To make gluten-free or historically accurate, may substitute alternative Thanksgiving accounts.

Serve hot.


King Letsie has a birthday

When the King has a birthday, the whole kingdom gets a day off to celebrate. One lucky district (the honour rotates annually) hosts the royal family for two days of official birthday festivities. Mokhotlong turned out for this year’s royal birthday bash.

Day 1: A Day at the Races


Day 2: A Formal Affair


The King’s in Town

King Letsie III is in Mokhotlong to celebrate his birthday tomorrow (a national holiday in Lesotho). And while this photo is not a true likeness of His Majesty, it certainly adds to the celebratory atmosphere, eh?

Jules goes to Sani Pass

IMG_9032What better day to celebrate this Canadian’s birthday than on American Independence Day? Did I dress in red, white, and blue for the obnoxious affair? You betcha.

Gargi and I had been secretly plotting Jules’ birthday surprise for a few weeks – birthdays can get lonely in remote places without the comforts of familiar friends and family to make the day special. We did our best, and I’d like to think we pulled it off splendidly.

Pizza dinner, mini apple pies (because #America) with sad little birthday candles, gifts of scarves and a picture frame, and a giddy announcement that we’d be leaving the following morning for Sani Pass – my favourite 🙂

Jules cried. I caught it on video and will be sending it to her family.

IMG_8897The next morning the crew plus ‘M’e Nthabeleng left for the beautiful pass, where we were met by gale-force winds, brown landscape, and, despite it all, the usual breathtaking scenery. I die every time.

IMG_8942Julie made good use of her new scarves, while I ended up looking like a colourful Arab trader of sorts. All for the cause, I say.

IMG_8987IMG_9008We finished the afternoon in style with lunch and drinks by the fire at the Highest Pub in Africa, because honestly, how can one resist? My recommendation: soup of the day and glühwein or hot chocolate to warm the bones and fingers.


Gargi left our cryptic mark [LUCI – Lesotho/USA/Canada/India] above the door. I think at this point, my signature of sorts can be found in half a dozen places. (I can’t wait to return someday and hunt them all down again.)

Finally, we returned to sleepy Mokhotlong for a quiet night of reading and red wine.

Mission Birthday: Complete

Operation: Jenn Appreciation Weekend

‘M’e Jenn is leaving Lesotho for the blistering cold of the American Northeast!


As the weeks have passed and the days have ticked by at an alarming rate, our kitchen conversations have turned repeatedly to packing, budgeting remaining cash to avoid international withdrawal fees, leftover pantry food, and travel to the Jo’burg airport. While Jenn mulled over the finer details of collecting her life into assorted baggage after three years in southern Africa, I was plotting how to kick her off the continent in celebratory style.

STEP 1: Travel to Johannesburg*

The BOTFL students, who have spent the last two weeks in Lesotho trying to develop appropriate sustainability measures for TTL, had booked their departing flight on Saturday 15 March. From Johannesburg.

*For those curious, a drive from Mokhotlong to Johannesburg takes roughly 7 hours (8+ if you avoid the R36 toll), travels through three major mountain passes, and is nigh impossible to schedule through a coach service. Hence TTL was suckered into delivering our volunteers to their Western comforts.

Step 2: Commemorative Tattoo

2014 marks the 5-year anniversary of the loss of Jenn’s father from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Understandably, the absence of such a prominent figure in a person’s life can yield any number of results. For Jenn, it marked the start of a kind of freedom; it kickstarted her adventures in Swaziland, India, and Lesotho over the past three years. A wandering time, but a wandering with purpose.

To commemorate her father, Jenn wanted a tattoo (her first) of a forget-me-not flower, the symbol of Alzheimer’s research, and she hoped to have it done while in southern Africa. With the appointment set for Saturday morning, I fulfilled my arduous duties as moral support/documentarian with gusto.


Step 3: Good food

South Africa = Food variety = Nom on all the sushi

Step 4: Swanky (free) Pretoria overnight

Sometimes your friend’s father is an ambassador. Sometimes you schedule a last-minute stay in his diplomatic residence. Sometimes you lie face-down on a glorious shag carpet and fawn over his art collection and personal library.

Step 5: more good food

Sometimes the ambassador treats you to the most delectable Greek food you’ve tasted in years, and you eat enough moussaka to last several days.

Step 6: Clarens Lunch Break

True, Clarens is a bit of a remote-locale tourist hub filled with false curio shops and overpriced restaurants, but it broke up the drive home and allowed us to eat hummus and artichoke hearts on whole grain seed bread in a park.

Step 7: Surprise Goodbye Dinner!

After a long activity-filled weekend and a long drive back to Mokhotlong, Jenn usually has food and sleep on her mind. But with only three days until she departs, I wanted to make sure two of her close Peace Corps friends managed to get in a proper goodbye. We pulled through the back gate to a surprise candle-lit dinner in the common rondavel – the last of its kind, and arguably the best.


Jenn Baker, we appreciate you.

7th the first

Now is not the time to detail my profound love for the number 7 or describe the source of my appreciation for all its mystical power. Predictably and graciously each month, however, the 7th rolls around like clockwork, for indeed it is. Understanding this to be the first 7th of the new year, it deserves some recognition and added celebration.

I have been resident in Lesotho and working with TTL for exactly one month. Today I received my Lesotho residence permit. Like most visa scenarios, this was a time-consuming affair – though not as cumbersome as my Ghana visa extensions… Today I celebrate residency!

One year ago I arrived in Equatorial Guinea from Germany to begin as a research assistant for the annual January Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program (BBPP) expedition. I met some great people, and today I celebrate the anniversary of our time together.

Perhaps it is cliché to be grateful for the chance at a new beginning and a year ahead with blank pages aplenty. Fortunately this year has so much potential to be phenomenal, thereby overriding any categorization as ‘cliché.’ Today I celebrate plans fulfilled, opportunities knocking, and dreams to be realized.

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First cookies of 2014

IMG_3807Okay so treating the Safe Home Bo’me to cookies on the first day of the new year was not my projet d’enthusiasme, but Jenn graciously allowed me to wield a pastry bag and paint on ALL the icing. The colorful results may not have been up to generally-acceptable artistic standards, but my were they delicious.

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