Thursday, April 8, 2010


A couple of weeks ago, Kathy had a PEPFAR (President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) retreat in Clarens, South Africa. She kindly invited me along. While she and representatives of other US agencies and NGOs in Lesotho who are involved in PEPFAR activities put their heads together, I sat in the lounge of the Maluti Mountain Lodge, venue for the retreat, and worked on my laptop. So it was definitely a working trip for both of us, but the journey there and back again was stunning.

There was still a heavy mist in the valleys when we set out:

The rural splendor of South Africa revealed itself fully as the sun rose:

The view from the Lodge was worth the trip all on its own:

The Lodge is just outside Clarens, a small town known as something of an artists' colony. Certainly, when Kathy and I went into town for lunch, we saw many shops featuring the work of local artists and artisans. Sadly, though, the restaurants had nothing to offer a vegan like me to eat. And the coffee shop where we finally stopped would neither except our Maloti (Lesotho's currency - South Africa's is the Rand), nor a credit card. And all five ATMs in town were out of order. We had heard that there had been an International Human Rights Day rally in Clarens (they celebrate it a different day in South Africa than in the rest of the world, in remembrance of the Sharpeville Massacre). We suspect that these folks cleaned out the ATMs. Oh, well.

We returned to the Lodge and work. Later, as we drove back - or, more accurately, as Kathy drove back and I took pictures - the sky became magnificent:

And then the sun began to set:

If you have never seen a South African sunset, I highly recommend it. And if these pictures are not enough, the full Picasa Web Album from our trip to Clarens is here.

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