This past weekend, we went to Lesotho, which is a tiny kingdom entirely surrounded by South Africa (unlike Swaziland, which is just almost surrounded by South Africa).
The initial impetus of the trip was to help our friend Elli deliver some school uniforms to the Maseru office of Kick 4 Life, an NGO that does HIV/AIDS prevention and other types of community outreach, including social enterprise, with vulnerable youths and women in the community. So, we set out from Joburg bright and early with bold intentions to get to Maseru by two PM, which seemed reasonable, since it’s only a five hour drive. You’d think, after seven months in Africa, that we would have figured out by this point that road trips NEVER go as planned, ever, but I guess we’re just indefatigable optimists-slash-actual crazy people who do the same thing over and over and expect different results each time. Anyway, long story short, we arrived in Maseru at eight PM, i.e., it took us SIX hours longer than we anticipated to get across the border. Siiiiigh.
After dropping off the uniforms with Kick 4 Life, we drove on 40 minutes to Morija, where we stayed at the Morija Guesthouse, which has gorgeous views of the surrounding hills.
The first night, we sat in front of the fire, drank red wine, ate chicken, and then went to bed. The next morning, refreshed, we hired a local guy, Kefue, to take us horseback riding around Morija. Kefue was an interesting character. He was missing some teeth, but he spoke perfect English and told us about his second career as a freelance journalist. He also got into a lively debate with one of our traveling companions, Jed, about Robert Mugabe. Kefue offered a spirited defense of Mugabe’s leadership, which kinda baffled everyone (and pissed off Jed). Anyway. We went on a pony trek and then did some hiking, and then settled in again for a night of wine, chicken, and sitting around.
Here are some photos that Al and I took during the hike and pony trek:
Lesotho is a very beautiful place. I see why the Basotho people are proud of their country, its geography, and its history. Unfortunately, Lesotho has some serious problems with HIV/AIDS, with a staggering 23% of the population HIV positive, as of 2011, which is the third highest HIV prevalence rate in the world. The countries with the two highest prevalence rates, Botswana and Swaziland, are also in Southern Africa, and South Africa has the fourth highest prevalence rate. I spent time this weekend thinking about these statistics and wondering why this part of the world is so susceptible to the spread of HIV/AIDS, and what the best way to tackle it might be. Almost makes me wish I had a degree in public health, instead of that dumb law degree.
But let’s not end on a depressing note! Here are a few more photos of the beautiful Lesotho.