To cease my endless solitude, I have recently received the grace and good company of a certain Julie Moore. We will forgive her Canadian background (except on Canada Day, because who doesn’t want an excuse to party on a weeknight?) and revel in the wonderful new addition to the TTL campus.
Julie has fallen into Mokhotlong ready for a challenging year of growth and learning. I can at least guarantee her that much. Though this is not her first trip to the African continent (hello, Tanzania and Morocco), it will certainly be her longest and most remote.
A registered nurse, specialising in adolescent psychiatry, Julie has spent most of her time abroad in Mexico. Coincidentally, it was in Puerto Vallarta where she received her first up-close-and-personal interaction with southern Africa (via a side job at an African art gallery, run by an eccentric Jo’burger named Brian.)
Fortunately, Julie’s interest in maternal and child health will pick up where Jenn left off – providing medical-related advice to the TTL staff when they ask specific questions that I, unfortunately, am ill-equipped to answer even on my best days.
Jules is a lover of red wine and good literature and positive environments, which naturally are vastly improved by companions, candles, and comedy.
I am so grateful to have another warm body to occupy space in the office and common room, but even more to have an eager mind for discussion and assistance. May your opinion of this Canadian ruffian be ever-and-increasingly-positive, as is mine.
Posted in La Vie Quotidienne
Tagged addition, Africa, book, comedy, conversation, drink, friend, fun, lesotho, literature, Mexico, Mokhotlong, Morocco, North America, nurse, read, red, South Africa, story, Tanzania, TTL, wine
Why do some things always seem so unnecessarily difficult? Among them: group projects, first dates, and acrylic self-portraits. Yet what I shall forever rank as the most obnoxious and emotionally taxing are visa/permit applications.
Julie (Jenn’s replacement TTLF Fellow) and Gargi (a contracted nutritional consultant) arrived in late May, just in time for TTL’s 10-year anniversary celebrations. Lesotho only offers a maximum 30-day visa upon entry, so temporary residence permits are required for these ladies’ extended stays.
Two weeks ago, Julie and I trekked across town to the Immigration office to obtain just such a residence permit, what should have been a straightforward affair. I had all the documents and official letters in order. I had my phone with sufficient airtime. I had contact information for all the head honchos that could instruct the woefully incompetent ntate on how to endorse the permit once in Julie’s passport.
We parlayed with Ntate Immigration for 30 minutes, long enough to be told that yes, everything looks fine. Yes, this type of residence permit is possible. No, this immigration office no longer has the appropriate stamp to give a temporary residence permit. Travel to Butha-Buthe and talk with the Immigration office there. Maybe they could help.
I’m sorry? Fine.
Well the Immigration Office in Butha-Buthe had a different (read: with additions) set of requirements for this residence permit (of course it did). Police-certified copies of their passports and passport-sized photographs were suddenly needed.
Although I got ‘M’e Immigration to waive the photograph, it seems that certified passport copies are more strictly enforced. That only added an hour and a half and 3 additional travel stops in order to procure. Never mind that the police had gone for lunch by the time we made it to their headquarters for certification.
At long last we made it to the taxi rank for the return trip to Mokhotlong, tired and irritated – the weight of accomplishment had not yet sunk in – and hungry. The glorious Basotho steam bread that filled my summer is now hibernating for winter, judging by its scarcity. It took Julie and Gargi a good 20 minutes to find the only loaf remaining among all the taxi rank vendors, delivered by a helpful ntate in the plastic sale basin. It was a pretty bad loaf, too.
The wait time for the taxi to fill was over 2 hours.
The number of passengers, 16.
The amount of luggage (mercifully) filled only 1 seat.
And long after dark, our kind driver delivered us to the front gate of TTL.
All for two little blue stamps.
Posted in La Vie Quotidienne, Travel
Tagged Africa, bread, Butha-Buthe, immigration, lesotho, Mokhotlong, passport, permit, stamp, taxi, time, Travel, trip, TTL, visa
It’s been a good long while since I’ve broken my routine in favour of mucking around and bushwhacking a new trail.
Some might call this ‘exploring.’ I call it ‘walking in Mokhotlong.’
Before Jenn fled westward, she had described a winter route with a built-in river crossing. Not one to miss an opportunity to hop around on large rocks that spend most of the year underwater, I finally decided to track down this trail of ‘M’e Jenn’s. I think I found part of it; I think I missed most of it.
Thence began the mucking and bushwhacking.
In short, I played around on a mostly-dry riverbed for an hour – rock-hopping to my heart’s content – before slipping into the water, at which point I napped on a massive rock slab mid-river, basking in the paradoxically warm winter sun as I waited for my socks and shoes to dry.
Somedays these Sundays are necessary.
Posted in La Vie Quotidienne
Tagged Africa, dry, explore, hike, hop, lesotho, Mokhotlong, nap, new, play, river, sleep, sun, Sunday, trail, walk, wander, wet
On my morning run by the river I suddenly found my pants around my ankles.
I’m not sure which is funnier: that this happened, or that my first thought was ‘Damn, now I’ll need to duct tape these to my body each day.’
- 7-8 April | Marijn & Ann arrive in Mokhotlong
- 9 – 11 April | Sani Pass & Drakensbergen
- 11/12 April | Cathy joins us with friends from Jo’burg
- 12 April | Drive to Durban
- 13 – 15 April | Surfing near Durban, potentially go up to St Lucia/Kosi Bay/Richards Bay/Sodwana/Isimangaliso Wetland Park
- 16-18 April | Swaziland
- 18-19 April | Santa Maria Island, Mozambique
- 20 April | Day trip with Maputo friends
- 21 April | Back to South Africa
- 22 – 23 April | Kruger Park
- 24 April | Drive back to Pretoria
- 25 April | Apartheid Museum, dinner, last bits and bobs
- 26 April | Cathy, Ann, & Becky leave South Africa
Posted in La Vie Quotidienne, Travel
Tagged adventure, Africa, Beach, drive, friends, history, Johannesburg, Kruger, lesotho, Maputo, Mokhotlong, Mozambique, park, Pretoria, road trip, roadtrip, safari, South Africa, surf, Swaziland, tour, Travel, Vacation, wander