Next, we visited a health clinic where the PCV also does some work, and where I paused to pose next to a religious icon that had found a comfortable spot in a sink. This reminded me of two important matters: the Basotho are almost all Christian; and the water to that sink most likely was not working.
It seemed that all of the people in the waiting room that day were women and children. Perhaps because they were running well baby visits that day? Or maybe all the men were out in the fields or working the mines in South Africa?
Then we went to another school where that volunteer does some work. I could not help but be struck by the sparseness of the room in which the teachers were working, not to mention the unfinished ceiling and loose light. And this school is probably in better condition than many in Lesotho. Lesotho does have universal primary education, though, which is pretty amazing.
Outside, one of the PCV's colleagues showed us the school's animal pens. Here, he is explaining how they took a stack of used and broken chairs and re-purposed them as a warren for their rabbits.
This one seemed particularly interested in what our guide was saying.
I have often been struck by how common it is for schools in Lesotho to be located on high ground with great views. I am not certain why (perhaps they choose land that is least likely to be farmed?), but this school was no exception.
We met the principal in his spare office (a desk but no shelves).
And we were generously treated to food and beverages, because that is what you do when you have guests.
The principal and teachers even presented us with a gift of peaches, or liperekisi (dee-PARE-uh-kee-see), which I later turned into a scrumptious cobbler.
We then visited a pre-school (this PCV is very busy). That metal shack is the school.
Inside the school, one of the teachers and some of the students showed us around so that we could admire the children's work.
Inside, they showed a great interest in being photographed, and then we discussed geography using the map painted on one of the walls.
Back outside, they posed again.
And then we were joined by some of their friends. The kids all wanted to be photographed, but mostly so they could see pictures of themselves after they were taken.
Then we carried some chairs up a hill that our vehicle could not climb to deliver them to yet another community center. I think the kids had almost as much fun with this as I did.
Once there, these two young boys (who were not nearly as serious as they look) also wanted to see a picture of themselves.
Inside the center, as we met with one of the women who works there and a few more children, the sunlight streaming in turned golden.
Maliba, located within Tsehlanyane National Park, is Lesotho's only luxury accommodation. It is built in the traditional style, with grass roofs and all, but on a much grander scale, as evidenced by the ceiling in the main room.
And the deck which is just off the main room.
And the individual huts in which guests like us can stay.
And the views, since it is on a mountainside in a valley.
Dining at Maliba is a wonderful experience all on its own.
The chef did an amazing job coming up with wonderful vegan dishes for me, including dessert.
Breakfast at Maliba is also a grand experience. The setting alone ensures that.
There are hiking trails in the valleys around the lodge, and we explored one. Along the way, we crossed this picturesque creek.
We also admired some stunning views.
We rested beneath a peach tree.
We posed alongside another creek.
Then we returned to walking and pausing to admire the sites.
Before we returned to our room, which had its own deck with a view.
I paused to pose one last time, in front of the lodge, before we left.