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May. 26, 1979
The Agric Show was a success and I worked hard for a couple of days. Now we are preparing for the National Show in Maseru on June 1-2. I spent yesterday sorting through a bushel of wheat (one grain at a time), looking for the bad ones. I remember lying in those wagon loads of beautiful wheat down on the farm and all this Lesotho wheat looked bad to me. Since I couldn't throw it all away, I picked out the worst and let that do the job. The Basotho harvest by beating the grain out of the heads with sticks so all the wheat looks pretty beat up. We worked on the exhibits on the front porch of this ramshackled building that they call the agric office and spread the exhibits on burlap sacks on the ground in front. Along came two horses who tried to eat the exhibits so we all raced out to chase the horses away. A nice diversion since I had begun to see double looking at these grains of wheat. As I left the ministry after work, I saw the district chief and herd boy shooting with slingshots at a glass bottle sitting on top of a four-foot pile of cow dung, (The dung is dried and stacked to use in the ministry's stoves). It was a day I want to remember. The charm of Lesotho, I'll be going down to the National Show in one of the Agric vehicles. There is a "place just for you ~ I was told yesterday by my boss.
Your clippings about the Peace Corps and the cow dung drew a lot of interest here. I'm going to take the cow dung clip to the ministry. They are always looking for games to play at shows, The one on the Peace Corps was so interesting. It had a lot of information in it that we didn't know. Thanks for the seeds, too, I finally found a handle for the pickax so I can get that garden dug. (R1.75).
Two of my visitors and I went up to Sani Pass on Monday and came back on Tuesday, We hitched rides. Had a fairly comfortable ride in the back of a yellow pickup on the way to the chalet but caught a lorry to come back to Mokhotlong. A lorry is what would be an open-bed semi truck in the States. This one was full of sacks of mealie-meal and the three of us shared the space with four Basotho me. It took us five hours (usually three) to get from the pass to Mokhotlong and it snowed on us along the way. Really cold although we had on our long underwear and down jackets. When we arrived home I jumped off the truck and fell flat because my feet wouldn't work. They were so cold that I was staggering around as if I were drunk. We were none the worse from the experience other than looking like a bunch of flour bunnies, We spent Monday night at the chalet and gathered dried wild flowers on Tuesday before coming back to camp. Really beautiful up there. The cold front was coming in and the clouds were coming and going across the escarpment. We walked along in an alpine meadow and flushed out birds that would suddenly flare-up at our feet. We never did get a good look at them. They looked bigger than quail and never flew very far.
Speaking of birds, I found a stork feather last summer (Dec.) when the storks were here and sent it to Mike. In his letter, he said the storks had just returned to West Germany and he would look for a stork with a feather missing.
Although I was glad to see everyone, I really got sick of company during the past week. Four people came up for the snow last Friday, two left after the show but two others stayed all week. Then two more people (all PCVs) came Thursday and left yesterday. We were climbing over each other before the week was over because this place is small. The place was so dirty that I came home from work last night and cleaned it up. I couldn't stand to spend-the evening in it.
One of the women brought me some spider plants and Charlie starts that I'm going to try to grow. I think it gets too cold at night here but we will see, I set them in a sunny window in the kitchen during the day and take the them out of the window at night. The spider plants are already rooted but the Charlies look sick. I also brought from Sani some kind of tiny alpine plant that looks like roses growing out of the ground. I'm going to see if I can get those to grow but I imagine it is the dormant season.
It is 7:30 a.m. so I had better sign this off and get ready for work and to take this to the post office, If I get it there before 8:30, it will go out on the plane today. Even tho it is Saturday, I offered to work to help get the exhibits ready for the show. The villagers don't know how to get their vegetables ready. At the local agric show, the people were bringing their vegetables in and hadn't even washed the dirt off of them.
As you can see, the mail is moving again and there seems to be no more trouble at the post office. Apparently the main post office in Maseru was badly damaged. Hope things quiet down now