Greetings family, friends, and subscribers,
February is in the books and I’m currently left with 5 months of service remaining. Because of this I’ve rehashed my effort to see the entire country while launching a few more small projects to further any potential impact I’ve had here. Super Bowl weekend was one to remember as I repelled 630ft (192m) down a massive waterfall. A few weeks later national elections swept through the country and I visited a rally to see the former prime minister campaign in Thaba-Tseka. The poll was successful in that peace was maintained throughout the process, much to the relief of Basotho citizens and PCVs alike.
Super Bowl & Maletsunyane Falls
On February 1st I was able to watch an NFL game for the first time since Super Bowl XLVII in 2013. And what a game! Thankfully it wasn’t a blowout, and since I had no rooting interests it was great to observe a quality matchup between New England and Seattle. Watching it at 2am was a new experience, but coffee and Baileys proved to be an effective tonic to enjoy the entire duration of the game.
The main purpose for this visit to Semonkong in the district of Maseru was not only to watch the big event, but also to visit one of the most scenic waterfalls in the world. Nestled into a valley is Maletsunyane Falls– a fascinating and unique geological feature to the region. The Maletsunyane River falls over a massive 630ft (192m) cliff down basalt rocks formed in the Jurassic period. This entire area is beautiful and very well preserved. It is Lesotho’s most popular tourist site and Semonkong Lodge offers a wide range of activities like horse-back riding, fly fishing, and abseiling. I was invited to do the latter and graciously accepted the offer of a visiting PCV’s parent. I’m normally not one for high-adrenaline stuff like this. However, bearing in mind that it would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I didn’t really have a choice now did I.
On the morning of the 2nd of February, 5 other volunteers and I completed our 3 practice trainings of repelling down a 100ft (30m) cliff. Seemed simple enough. However I will say this. Going over the edge of the main waterfall is something I cannot transcend into words. Have a look:
– – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bi5zBUWcPjc
Needless to say it was the most exhilarating experience I’ve ever had. Dangling in the air that high up and surrounded by beautiful nature is a mental snapshot I’ll never forget.
After the attempted coup in August of last year, many resolutions were mandated by SADC (South African Development Committee) in an effort to restore stability to the fractured government of Lesotho. The main action to take place was to hold an emergency national election two years ahead of schedule. This election was to re-seat the entire parliament as well as form a new ruling body in the state house. The main protagonists of the coup were temporarily expelled from the country for the months leading up to the poll. These months saw massive rallies take place all over the country, with 2 main party coalitions vying for the majority vote. They were ABC and DC, with the former being the incumbent. As such the sitting Prime Minister Tom Thabane -who had to flee to South Africa during the coup- did the most campaigning through the election cycle. I attended one of his rallies that took place a few minutes from my home in Thaba-Tseka. Here’s some photos I took that day:
– – http://imgur.com/a/rct8V
And a short video of the event:
– – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vgt2fxaxzKw
The election passed without incident and with DC winning the majority, they will head the new government. There are still some uncertain months ahead, but the politicized military is aligned with the new body which will be heading the state. This means the chance for another coup is relatively small.
Election results | More Information
Hard to believe this 2 year journey is almost complete. The next few months look be an exciting finish. With a little luck and some hard work, all projects should wrap up accordingly. Perhaps I could literally ride off into the sunset? Nah, that’s too cliché. I’ll settle for everlasting friendships and sustainable projects J
Can’t believe it’s been almost 2 years. Look at your amazing accomplishments..so much to be proud of. The repelling, all I cansay is wow! Curious, after this time is completed…what’s next for you? Let us know. Take care.
Hi Travis! Great update. I love the videos. You seem to have gotten so much out of this adventure. Good for you! giving back is as important as breathing, Stay safe and healthy. See you soon.
Another great update! You have had quite a variety of amazing experiences!!
We are looking forward to receiving the letters for the pen pal exchange:)