Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Oct. 28, 2008
I missed the singing today. Normally, at 8am sharp, the children are marching onto the school grounds singing cheerful and beautiful songs. But today, I noticed it was quiet, somber. There was a reason. I have some reluctance to share this story as I don’t want the readers to believe that this is typical of Lesotho. It is not, and everyone’s reaction here is as disbelieving as yours or mine is. One of our primary school 6th graders died this past weekend. It seems that he was known to steal food from his nearby cousin’s house. The adult woman became enraged with this. So one day she cooked a lovely dinner for the boy and his 2 younger siblings. The boy gobbled down the liver but the younger ones didn’t touch it. Later that day, the boy became sick and quickly died. It turns out that this cousin had loaded the liver with rat poison, fully intending to kill all three children. When she heard that he had died, she turned herself into the police. She is currently staying with friends, awaiting criminal proceedings. The victim’s classmates and teachers spent the following day in tears. And soon, they will be singing mass for his funeral. These children are confronted with death in so many shapes and forms.

Later: The service was excruciating. Teachers were choking out their prayers before bursting into tears. Children were gasping for breath they were sobbing so hard. The mother was buried under her blanket, shoulders heaving up and down. Such a sad day. Yet the singing started up again soon.

I attended a massive pilgrimage event this past week-end. It is a reenactment of an event that occurred in Portugal a hundred years ago where Mary appeared to some children. There were over 1000 people there, mostly nuns and children. It was old home week for most of the nuns, seeing friends from all over Lesotho. It began with a massive march up to the top of a hill where there was a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains. People were praying and singing on the walk up the hillside. Because the preaching at the top was in Sesotho, I put on my headphones and listened to some gorgeous music while admiring the view. I have seen very little of Lesotho at this point, but the few trips to other convents that I have been on, have always impressed me with the gorgeous countryside. October is supposed to be the month when the big rains begin, but we have had almost no rain this month. The countryside is still brown, the animals still hungry, the gardens unplanted, the water supply intermittent. I have completed day three with no running water, living off of my 2 buckets. My dishes are dirty, my bathroom is stinky and my body is dusty. I am meeting the Director of Peace Corps from the US tomorrow, so the final drops of water will go to cleaning-up a little for this lunch.

My little house has a new little member. I have had this kitten for 24 hours after ripping her away from her sibling who wouldn’t be caught. She and I are having bonding time, and then I hope to have her sib too so they will keep each other company. She has been living in a shed with no human contact so we have some connecting to do.

My new satellite radio is keeping me up on all the drama that is occurring on the world financial scene. I am sure that so many lives are changing course as a result of these mortgage/banking /stock market crises. Meanwhile, I am thrilled to be tuned in to the election process and plan to be celebrating next Wednesday morning! For as flawed as our system seems at times, I listen to the horrors and corruption happening in so many countries around the world, and I thank my lucky stars that I was born where I was.