Monday, January 16, 2006

November 24th 2002

I have been traveling and after such a trip I want to sit at home for a while by myself. I guess in the back of my mind I knew that travel was different in Lesotho, as I have been experiencing a different way of travel since coming but much of my illusions that travel here being okey with me has been shattered on this last trip. The trip was fine actually once I got there and was able to do what I came for. I stayed with the Welch couple that live on a campus of a school where he teaches a computer class and she works with the crafts department. They were wonderful giving me a comfortable place to sleep, pleasant food, and entertaining company. I learned more about computers and got some valuable information from him. They live in the small town of Thaba Tseka which is deep into the mountains of Lesotho a place we call the highlands where as I stay in the lowlands where apparently travel is much nicer.
And this is where the story begins. I am in part to blame for the confusion about my trip, as I should of checked out more about the information before making such plans. In my defense looking at the map it looked like a trip to Thaba Tseka from Maseru would be only about seventy-five miles. For me in the US getting in my car and driving that far was more or less no big deal. Here it is a different story. I had heard that I had to be in Maseru which is the capital of Lesotho at about eight o’clock in the morning to catch the bus for my destination. I thought that this was probably because the city was so small not very many people would want to go there. It was not until getting ready to leave that morning that other Peace Corps Volunteers hinted at just how bad that trip was. At a little past eight o’clock in the morning I was there at the bus ready to go. Approximately eight hours later at four o’clock in the afternoon I was getting off the bus vowing that no more would I undertake such a trip. It was long, hot, bumpy, curvy, and dusty. The window we were sitting in next to would not open. Barely anyone else had the window open because of the superstition that the window open makes people sick. Among the crowded bus with people sitting in the seats and people standing squished together standing in the isles were in the seat in front of me a woman holding a cat and a man a little behind me with a couple of chickens.
We were going up into the mountains and at first it did not seem that bad. But the it started to get hotter and the road went from being paved to a bumpy dirt road the curved and twisted it seemed like so much I was even amazed. Slowly we rose and the more I got tired. It could have been that my legs were scrunched or not enough fresh air or that the air was thinner or much more but I was not feeling well. I toughed through each turn though and in the end I and another Peace Corps Volunteer made it to our destination.
If that was not bad the ride back was worse. I had again looked at the map and found a different back way to my house. I had heard it was possible that it could be done and my host said that he had traveled it before and while had said it was a little better for him to get to the area of the country I was going he thought that it was not nearly as nice as he had thought it would be. So even though I had hopes of a nice easy trip I had my doubts do to his warnings this time though I was only going about sixty-five miles with most of it being paved road. I’ll just say it was just as bad. At one point the driver even backtracked going the wrong way so he could pick up more people. So ten hours later I was back into my house thinking Thaba Tseka was a nice little town but I plan on for the rest of my time in Lesotho plan on not going back... I am attaching a picture of me hitch hiking to the bus stop in the back of a truck. Jeff


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