July 13, 2008

The Kingdom in the Sky

I’ve just returned from 11 days in Lesotho, the mountainous country north of Mthatha, entirely surrounded by South Africa but, in many ways, a completely different world. (“But Jesse,” I hear you say. “How did you keep posting to your blog all that time?” Turns out Blogger lets you schedule posts for the future and I wrote a bunch right before I left so you wouldn’t miss out.)

It is an amazing place and can lay claim to having the highest lowest point (think about it) of any country in the world. That’s why people call it the Kingdom in the Sky but I took to thinking of it as the Land Where You Run Out Of Adjectives To Describe Its Beauty because after so many spectacular and overwhelming vistas, I just didn’t know what to think or write or say anymore.

I have about eight gazillion pictures of mountains and valleys and rivers and waterfalls to sort through and when I do I’ll post some of them, along with a more detailed account of my trip, including some of my encounters negotiating the country via public transport and whatever free rides I was able to get. Let me just say that my new favourite way to cross mountain passes is squashed in a mini-bus taxi with 16 other of my closest (and newest) Basotho friends.

I was able to take the trip because the clinic has been closed these last two weeks for the schools’ winter vacation, traditionally a time Itipini closes and people go back to their rural homes. Now, however, I’m gearing up for the return to work and one last month before my break begins in mid-August. It’s going to be a busy few weeks, I think, and I’ll, of course, let you know about it as it enfolds.


löki gale said...

What is the average "winter" temperature there?

Anonymous said...

A missionary couple, who served in Lesotho, are friends of ours - The Rev. Judy and John Gay. Judy was ordained in Lesotho - years and years after seminary. She taught seminary classes by extension in Lesotho. They now live in Cambridge, MA, and are studying the Chinese language and teaching. I'd say they are in their early 70's. Simply amazing people