It has been more than one month since my last post (took me several attempts to log into my account as I didn’t even know my password anymore) but here come two (!) new posts to make up for my laziness these past few weeks.
I have been pretty busy lately. One, I had quite a lot to do at work. As of now, I am working on the EU-funded decentralisation project. I love working on that project as it is directly related to what I studied. Plus, I just love being busy. To give you some background about the project, it aims at strengthening the capacity of civil society in Lesotho. This is so these are in a better position to negotiate with local governments and to advocate their interests. Lesotho is a rather centralised country and most basic social services are only provided for in Maseru. For instance, the rate of HIV positive people in Lesotho is one of the world’s highest but for people living in rural areas, it is almost impossible to receive antiretroviral therapy. It is therefore important that groups of HIV positive people are trained and strengthened so their concerns are taken more into account. Also, the country is still far from having gender equality so the project also specifically focuses on training women’s groups at the grassroots.
As regards my own tasks, I was for instance preparing presentations for staff orientation as two new employees were hired for that project. I also wrote and designed the project brochure, assisted in familiarising and training the new employees as regards project targets, objectives and the means by which these objects should be achieved, was allowed input and wrote a handbook for them to take to the field. Shortly before my holiday, which my second post will treat, I also once again attended a stakeholder meeting at the ministry of social development in Lesotho. There, I represented our organisation among lots of other members of International and local NGOs, ministries and International organisations.
Two, I also kept rather busy in my free time. For instance, on the occasion of the day of German unity, we all got invited to a reception by the German ambassador. It was quite crowded and there were a lot of German expats, members from NGOs, International organisations and the ministries in Lesotho and the German embassy. It was nice and I finally ate some proper German food again. Not that I miss Germany that much but it was still nice to catch a glimpse of home.
A couple of weeks back, I also went to Morija for a weekend to attend a Sesotho language and Basotho culture course. Morija is a town in Western Lesotho, about an hour drive away from Maseru. We were a group of about ten people, all either volunteers, interns or employees from NGOs or International organisations such as the EU or UN – all really, really nice people. We had a couple of hours Sesotho class a day, then for instance went for a hike to see the dinosaur footprints (not as impressive as I expected). We also climbed Thaba Bosiu, a sand stone plateau not far from Maseru, where Moshoeshoe I established a stronghold in the 19th century and was buried after his death*. In Morija, there are two German volunteers working in the Youth Centre so I got to see a bit how their work looks like. Moreover, we were shown traditional dances (see photos). In the evening, we ate traditional food and the other Germans and I laid outside, warm under Basotho blankets, listened to music and looked at what seemed like a billion stars. By now I also know a couple of locals and of course most expats in Maseru. Definitely feel quite at home in Maseru by now. More importantly, I am still very much in love with Africa.
* Moshoeshoe I was a Mosotho chief in the 19th century and is still admired by people in Lesotho today for establishing the nation of the Basotho, defending them against other powers (mostly British and Boers), forming peaceful alliances and, although he ceded much territory (parts of the western lowlands, which now belong to the Free State region in South Africa), he mostly managed for the Basotho to keep their territory. He formed the Sotho kingdom, which later became Basutoland and is now the Kingdom of Lesotho. As such, they call him Morena e Moholo/morena oa Basotho (Great King/King of the Basotho).