Sunday, February 21, 2010

Home Away From

We arrived in Maseru during rainy season, and such a one as even the locals call extraordinary. Our new house, which we adore, was unable to hold back the full force of the deluge. The rain began to pour in, through the kitchen wall, down from the archway between the living room and the stairs, out from behind light switches, into the utility room downstairs so fully that it ran out into the main entrance hallway, and in through all the windows on the master bedroom side of the first floor. I spent all day mopping and sponging and calling… who? I know not the systems here, so I called my wife. She spoke with someone in her office, and by the next day I was receiving stream of visitors: first, from Peace Corps; then, from the Embassy; and finally, the landlord. Repairs began within a couple of days.

Someone commented at one point, with regard to the new indoor water features, “Welcome to Africa”. I responded, and I think rightfully so, that Africa was not the issue. From what I can tell, the previous tenant had to be aware of the leaks. Indeed, both a gentleman from the Embassy and the landlord confirmed that work had been done. They thought the problem solved. Then came the unprecedented rains, and the falling water – Frank Lloyd Wright’s concept of ‘bringing the outdoors in’ taken to a new extreme! This problem, the leaks, could have happened anywhere. Indeed, my old condo community in Virginia has experienced much worse water infiltration problems than what we have experienced in our new Maseru home.

The video I have posted here does not really do the storm justice, but it should provide some partial sense of what it was like.

And please do not mistake me. Kathy and I are happy with our home. It is beautiful, with stone floors, wood beam ceilings, and stunning views. Just take a look...

In front of our house, Kathy and our new friend Charles, who was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule for us on our first few days in Maseru:

Some of our yard, and the view from our porch:

Our living room, and the evening light therein:

And two different views from our back steps:

Home Away From

Our walls and windows are at the top of a hill
where valleys and broad mountains stretch out at eye level,
brick walls and barbed wire below.

This is Africa and it is our home,
filled with promise and legends of fear on the streets -
Lesotho, where gracious greetings of welcome are commonplace,
like the summer rains of early February and the rusty mud
that slides down the vales of this Mountain Kingdom
and into our kitchen cupboards. We are happy
in our first days here, and expectant.

I suspect we will learn many new dances here,
become better able to anticipate one another
as we walk upon this extraordinary land. Needing to start anew
with all our assumptions, our life now mirrors our marriage,
for in both we are children and we are gods,
we can become anything, and we may.

Now our days are told by their innovations, the wind blowing
through and against our windows with storms
and instruction.


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