Monday, August 22, 2016

Life will never be the same for the Lecheko family

Here are pictures of the Lecheko's new home.
Blessings to everyone who has supported this project.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Thank You!

Thank you for your support and prayers when we were in Lesotho and as the Lecheko family home is finished.  They were so thankful for their new home and it really was a time of celebration for the entire community. Please continue  to keep the Lecheko family and people of Lesotho in your prayers.

Kea leboha (Thank you)!

Here are some local articles about the new Lecheko home.


Here is a picture of the build site that awaited us on our first day.

At the mouth of the canyon is the Ha-Mokuba village where the Lecheko family lives now.

On the first day, we trekked over to the village and met the Lecheko family.  The grandmother, Matimello, lives with her orphaned sixteen year old granddaughter, Mapaseka, orphaned fourteen year old grandson, Ts'epang, and her son, Motlalepula (all pictured below).

Their  rectangular house that they were using as a bedroom collapsed earlier this year,  leaving them with this circular house as their bedroom and kitchen.

The week went by quickly as we tried to make progress and finish their home and latrine while not hindering the hired masons too much. We did have some time to play with the village children. Jim teaches them the fine art of hackey-sack below.

Laura's favorite activity was the block passing line since everyone would get involved.

We did spend a day in the hole (digging the latrine), or should I say that Jim and Abennie Masopa spent a day in the hole.

Here's progress at the end of the week. The interior wall was nearly complete and the house was ready for the trusses.

There was a ceremony and celebration with food on the final day of our build. The Lecheko family was very happy, grateful, and I assume anxious to move in.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Pictures - Getting to the home site

As promised, here are some pictures from the Lesotho Global Village trip. Here's our greeting at Joburg airport - Andrea, our team leader, and Manoza, our driver and owner of the transport company.  Yes, Jim is in the background.

Here's the border crossing into Lesotho. Lesotho is referred to as the Mountain Kingdom. You'll notice the vendor stands immediately on the left. Yes, they drive on the left (British influence).

Here's a typical (busy) street in Maseru, Lesotho.

We're heading to the bus for our first work day.

The ride to the work site each day was very scenic. As I think I mentioned earlier, the geography was a mix of northern NM and Canyonlands. Here's typical housing. You'll notice the large cactus.

This picture gives you a good idea of the landscape.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Back in Joburg

We traveled back to Joburg yesterday. Made a few stops in Lesotho for souvenirs. We can't believe how cheap everything is here. The blankets made by the Bathoso are amazing! It's a good thing we brought an extra bag. We said goodbye to our Bathoso Habitat friends at the border (with South Africa). Abang had been with us the entire time while we were in Lethoso. Hiking back to the bus on Thursday from the Kome caves, Abang said that he hopes we return soon to Lethoso. He did mention previously that their 50th anniversary of countryhood souvenirs will be out in October. We were hoping to get some while here.

It was a quiet bus ride back to Joburg. Some headed straight home last night, others went on various excursions. We are staying in Joburg for a few days to see the sights and will head home on Tuesday, getting back home on Wednesday.

We went out today to buy some South African souvenirs for family and as always, it was an adventure. The plan for tomorrow is the Lion Park.

Friday, May 6, 2016


We didn't know what to expect today. We knew there would be a dedication ceremony and handing over of the keys so to speak (since there's no door yet). The entire Habitat Lesotho crew came out...and helped in the morning block line, our morning ritual. Two trucks showed up at around 10am, about an hour after we got to the work site. A TV camera and crew of perhaps one and many dignitaries arrived with numerous chairs. We were allowed to work...or watch the masons and then work a bit until 12:30ish when the batch of mortar ran out. We then attended the dedication ceremony along with the Hamakuba community. The grandmother spoke through tears and it was very touching. It's obvious from talking to everyone that the true beneficiaries of the home are the two orphaned children.

After the ceremony and the ribbon cutting, the presentation of our Kea Leboha (thank you) gifts, and posed pictures; everyone ate - first the dignitaries, guests (us), and family, then the workers, then the community in a very organized fashion - men, women, and finally children. Some of our team started washing dishes and silverware with sanitary wipes since the supply was getting low...and indeed we reused them for the children. After eating, it was a general festive time with loads of pictures, Kea Lebohas, hugs, baby holding, and good byes. ABenny Masopa was one of the workers from a nearby village who was helping out on his friend's home. As the hired Masons, he was a hard worker, genuine, and very generous. We met a lot of good people on this trip!

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Today is a holiday and as pseudo union workers, we could not work today. So we visited Setsoto Design, a local place (across the valley) with hand woven tapestries / souvenirs. The wall hangings were quite amazing...and we had to buy one. We then went to Kome Cave which is a group of cave dwellings made out of mud. They are still inhabited by the descendants of the original people who built the caves. Since our bus could not make it all the way on the 4-wheel drive road, we had to walk back up the road a ways to the bus. Some kids tagged along with us all the way to the bus. I have a good picture of them...and one of them inquiring about Jim's watch.
It's easier to communicate with the children since they learn English in school, then as adults, most don't speak English as much.

Thought I would be able to post pictures tonight, but I need more than my iPad, so they will have to wait until we get home.

One thing that amazes everyone is how happy the Bathoso are and the independence of the children.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Tolet (aka The Hole)

Our two main jobs today were digging the pit for the latrine ( yes, it's "tolet" here) and putting dirt in the house to level the floor. Jim owned the hole and Laura spent most of her time working the hole and some time doing wheelbarrow races transporting dirt inside the house. Both projects are done. Yea! Tomorrow is a holiday, and thus, we can't work. It really seems that we are considered union workers as we were forced to take our hour lunch break today and not go back to work early. It worked out well as the kids were walking home from school at the end of our lunch break. They, as well as the adults, love having their pictures taken...and of course we love taking their pictures.

Frank's fiancé (remember how the guy on our team was proposed to yesterday) departed today for Maseru (45 km from where we are staying and it's about a good hour drive to the work site) WALKING! She said it would take 3 days to get there. These people are amazing!

As I warned last night, pictures will have to wait until when we return home.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Progress and children

Good progress today. Walls are now to the top of the windows and door. Tomorrow we should finish block, hopefully dig for the latrine, and level the inside. Thursday is a holiday - Ascension Day - which means no work. So we will tour some local shops. The Bathoso are known for their blankets. They wear them and use them to wrap their babies on their back.

The kids are amazing! They helped today by bringing some buckets of water back from about a mile away, on their heads. Their mothers are esp. talented at carrying water on their heads. All had a good time again this afternoon and supposedly one of the Bathoso women proposed to one of the guys on our team....not Jim.  We are planning a bachelor party for Frank, the fiancĂ©, tomorrow night. Thursday night is karaoke night.

I am trying to post some pictures, though it requires email to get them to my iPad, and then posting them. I am waiting on the email. So pics may not get posted until we get home.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Situation and family

Last night at orientation, we were told that almost 50% of the children in Lesotho are orphans or are considered vulnerable. Wow!
The family we are building for is an 81 year old grandmother, her 59 year old son who is disabled, her 16 year old orphaned grand-daughter, and her 14 year old orphaned grandson. The grand-daughter and grandson are siblings. We met the family today and saw their damaged home. The entire village welcomed us and the toys we brought were a hit with the kids and an even bigger hit with the women. They had a ball playing with the mini soccer ball. Jim and I tried to teach two young boys how to play hackey-sack, though not sure if we were that successful since our hackey-sack days are long past. We all had quite a good time though...and made good progress on the house.  Will try to post some pictures tomorrow. The area here is gorgeous. It's a mix between northern NM and Canyonlands in Utah...and the Basotho live on the rocks, in the mountains. The view from the home we are building is spectacular.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

In Joburg

We made it to Joburg (as Johannesburg is called). 15 hours is a long flight though it didn't seem that bad...esp. with Jim's global upgrades. Met almost all of our team. Good group of people to spend a week building together.
Here are some statistics about Lesotho. According to the Lesotho Bureau of Statistics, in 2001 life expectancy was estimated at 48 years for men and 56 for women. Recent statistics show a drop since then to just 36 years. One tragic consequence of Lesotho's decreasing life expectancy is an increase in the number of orphans and widows in Lesotho. As of December 2010, the Lesotho Bureau of Statistics stated that currently there are 221,400 orphans (12% of general population) and that "everyday at least one child becomes an orphan in Lesotho."
Tomorrow we travel to Lesotho - a 4-6 hour drive depending on what we read and who we talk to.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Ready to go

As last time, I thought it would be good to show the strange collection of items we are taking:  tools, work  gloves, dust mask,  children's books, hockey sacks, a frisbee, camelback, snacks, and yes, my running shoes.  Supposedly our hotel in Johannesburg has a fitness center. The description of our hotel in Teyateyaneng, where we will be building in Lesotho, is "It is a fine place if you're just looking for sleep, but you will have to bring the atmosphere with you."
Hopefully, not a problem with our group.