Monday, March 12, 2007
A Day Trip to Lesotho, the Highest Country in the World
We returned to the beautiful Drakensburg Mountains, which are about 2 hours from us, this weekend. We were lucky to be able to jump on a tour of a tiny town in Eastern Lesotho (pronounced Luh - SOO - two). The tour took us 4-Wheel-Driving down some wild mountain roads and through huge potholes
Lesotho is the highest country in the world, in that it has the highest low point of any country. We happened to be visiting on Moshoeshoe (MO - shwe-shwe) Day, a celebration of the day that King Moshoeshoe brokered a deal with the British to save the Basotho people from the murderous King Shaka Zulu.
When we arrived at the village that the tour usually visits, every school for miles around had all of their students dressed up to perform traditional songs. The kids were adorable and, just like the kids in South Africa, are not shy at all in front of the camera and are blown away by seeing themselves on the digital camera. The songs that they sang were beautiful and the kids were completely adorable.
Lesotho is a very traditional place, at least the area that we visited is, and people live almost exclusively in rondevals, the round houses that you see in the photos. Our guide explained that the people believe that the ancestors are only able to visit them in these shaped houses and that they won't kill any animal that enters the house because an ancestor can take any form and they would be mortified if they offended their ancestor by killing the animal they came to visit as.
We were able to visit a traditional healer, a sangoma, and listen to a talk on how she examines and treats patients. We also spotted 3 Peace Corps teachers and it made me think of Catherine, Aly, and Stephen. Lesotho has a large Peace Corps volunteer base as well as many more Fulbrighters than South Africa.
We spent the next day mountain biking in the hills near the Drakensbergs, which we are very thankful to be so close to. It's a beautiful area and we plan to return many more times while we are here.