Mokhot-LONG Nights

Today is Friday, and almost the end of our first week in Mokhotlong. It is funny how certain things have already become familiar. Other than the driving, I think I am feeling pretty comfortable. I’m sure we will look back at this time in a few months and laugh about what we didn’t know, but at least at this point I can see us here for the year. Though our life in D.C. seems almost incomprehensibly far from the experiences we have so far had here, it seems that humans are almost scarily adaptable!

Having the Baylor doctors, Dr. Tony and Dr. Jill, and Tony’s wife Heather, around this week has been nice, just to be able to discuss our impressions of the country so far and to hear from some Americans who have much more experience in Lesotho than we do. Last night we ordered pizza from Senqu (the hotel that provides pretty much the only dining-out option in town) and sat around and talked, which felt reassuringly familiar, though of course we were sitting in a rondavel instead of a bar in DC.

One thing that I could see being very hard to return to after a while here is the pace of life in the States. Though everything is certainly slower here, it does make you stop and think about what we gain by being super-efficient in America. Sure, you can microwave dinner in 30 seconds and stick your dishes in the dishwasher and walk away, but what do we generally do with the time that we gain? Little of worth, to be sure. Not that painstakingly lighting the stove, and peeling vegetables, and washing dishes are necessarily more worthwhile, but at least I do feel that we aren’t missing much (except for cable, right Tim? I admit that I’ve been humming the “No Shoes in Lesotho” song quite a bit since we got here).

Anyway, just to give a glimpse of how we’ve been spending our nights here (as opposed to days, which have all been pretty varied and intense), I thought I would describe our Wednesday evening.

We went on a short hike up the mountain behind TTL, and got caught picking our way down the dry shrubs and rocks in the dark after the sun started setting around 6:30. Coming back to the house (hmm…not really sure what to call it…not quite a house, but more of a long structure with different rooms all opening up to the outside. I will call it the house to differentiate between it, the safehouse, and the rondavels, which are all on the TTL compound), I baked an experimental batch of soda bread for our breakfast the next day, while Reid whipped up some homemade mayo for pasta salad (thanks for the inspiration, Dan!).

We ate our dinner sitting outside on the dark stoop in front of the kitchen, looking up at the incredible number of stars. After we finished, Heather came out of her room and we all made tea and the three of us stood outside for twenty minutes waiting for the moon to rise over the hills. We were shocked to find out that the moon rises an hour later every night, and, compared to our observations the night before, had moved significantly in position over the range. One week in Mokhotlong, and here we are, amateur astronomers. After the moon rose – at about 8:45 for the record – Reid and I got ready for bed and tucked in to read by the light of our headlamps for an hour before falling asleep.

So there you are, a full night in Mokhotlong.


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