Friday, August 22, 2014

The Makings of Our Water Pump (A Pictorial)

Photo: For the past two years, I've made and sold jewelry with teachers and students at a poor elementary school in a rural African village to raise funds for a much-needed water pump. Today (and on the first day back to school!) we accomplished our goal!!! On behalf of my school and village, I want to thank EVERYONE who made this service project a success! There were many challenges, but the rewards are oh so sweet!! Ke lebohile haholoholoholo! (I am very thankful!) #gracious #joyful #hardworkpaysoff #thankful
This much-needed water pump took nearly two years of blood, sweat and tears to become a reality! Here's a look at what it took to get here:

The machine and I! They say third time's the charm and it was in our situation. My school hired our third contractor to construct our pump. He began work on my birthday in July. It was a nice birthday gift. 

We hired women in the village to help collect water for the contractors. The contractors used these drums of water to soften the ground. Made it easier for them to work.

Here is another look at the machine.

Contractors worked day and night. They'd start drilling the bore hole around 6 a.m. and end around 11 p.m. 

Here is one of the men drilling the bore hole. It was freezing as hell!

They drilled about 60 meters down.

This blue soil means that the contractors found water.

Here's the pump. It's almost finished!

Teachers had to attach the hand to the pump.

Re na le metsie! (We have water!) Teachers are using the pump for the first time.

We have to lock this bad boy up at the end of the day because we have haters. Not that we're Jesus or anything but people get jealous anytime you succeed, especially in these villages, so we had to get a lock to protect our pump.

Students are washing  their hands with the pump.

Again, we thank you all for helping us to help ourselves. Your support of our craft project helped us to put up the $500 USD Peace Corps required from us for the pump. Thank you again!!!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Drums, please! (World Wise Post)

This blog post is part of a series of activities that I'm doing for the Peace Corps' World Wise program. The program links Basotho and American schools through various activities such as blogs like this one and friendly letters.

Here's footage of one of my students drumming on an old water tank. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Quirky Signs I’ve Seen Here

Tea, coffee or both, but food first! Saw this sign on the way to the southern part of the country!

   Interesting. Weird. Quirky. I’ve seen it all on many a sign here in Lesotho. 
   Case in point:

Ass meat pies: 

I eyeballed this sign as I was eating fish and chips (not fries!) a while back. The funny thing is that it’s probably the best thing on the menu at that eatery, lol.

God Taxi sign: 

Saw this on the taxi after a stressful day that included a medical visit in the capital city. I love how Jesus “has” a phone number. No, I didn’t try to call it.

And speaking of taxis:
I'm sure the "Ass" here is short for "Association" but let's leave it as it is. Makes for a better story:)

West Syde: 

Saw this while on my way to the Peace Corps office. Thought it was funny. And I love how side is spelled.

What do you think? Which is your fave? What quirky things have you seen where you are lately?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Footage of my students! (World Wise Post)

This blog post is part of a series of activities that I'm doing for the Peace Corps' World Wise program. The program links Basotho and American schools through various activities such as blogs like this one and friendly letters.

I sing a lot with my students and one song that they love is the Barney classic, "Clean Up." Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Footage of a Funeral Procession

This is footage of a funeral procession that occurred in my village a few months back. The villagers are making their way up the mountain into my village, where the deceased lived. His daughter was one of my students, and he was a musician, hence all of the dancing and singing. He was a miner who worked in South Africa and died of TB. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

How the Children Play (World Wise Post)

This blog post is part of a series of activities that I'm doing for the Peace Corps' World Wise program. The program links Basotho and American schools through various activities such as blogs like this one and friendly letters.

   Hi boys and girls! How are you? 
   Today’s post is about playing! In Sesotho, the language spoken here, the word for play is bapala. Say it with me…bah-pah-lah.
   I’ve written about how the children here play before but I think it’s a topic I want to revisit.
   Read on:

The children in my village fashioned this fallen aloe tree into a see saw:

How creative is this!

They also etch games in dirt:

They use pebbles or old tins as markers when they play these kinds of games.

Children here also like to play with old tires:

Here's my host brother rolling an old tire he found nearby.

They also make stilts out of old cans and garbage bag liners!
Photo: My host brother's managed to make stilts out of old cans and garbage bag string
I thought this was so cool when my host brother, Tsepiso, showed me his new toy!

They also play with wood:

This is a "horse" that my host brother made out of a tree! (It's actually a fence on my host mother's property.)

   Basotho children play all of the time! They have just as much fun as you do in America!
   Here is another blog post I did about how children play Lesotho. Check it out here.
   What do you play with in America? What are some of your favorite games?

Is there anything more specific you'd like to know? Please let me know. I'd be happy to answer your questions.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Hotel Jiggetts (aka my house)

   Like peeing in a bucket?
   How about reading by paraffin lamp?
   I'm sure you just love bucket baths, right?
   Well, if you like any of the above, then Hotel Jiggetts surely is the place for you to rest your loins!
   Hotel Jiggetts is a traditional Basotho house called a rondaval. It's a hut with a thatched, or straw, roof, that is traditionally used for cooking in Basotho culture.
   Hotel Jiggetts has no running water or electricity, but as the proprietor, I've made it as cute and comfy as can be for you!
   Here's what you can expect during your stay:

Lodging: This one-room hut is about the size of a matchbox, so if you don't like to stretch or breath, this IS definitely the place for you!

Rates: One jar of Trader Joe's Cookie Butter and two boxes of quinoa will suffice for payment. You're never too good to barter!

Meals: Curry veggies. Thai noodles. Banana pancakes. The grub is pretty scrumptious at Hotel Jiggetts. Pick your plate and Chef Jiggetts has your back. Er, stomach.

Things to do: Evening sunsets beat what's on your cable TV any day of the week! Do you know how dramatic it is for the clouds to slowly part from a pink-hued sky? Oh, and don't worry about nightlife because Club Jiggetts has got you covered.

The locals: The family dog, Lion, might pop in every so often rummage through the trash bin. And spiders visit the premises a lot. They're not harmless unless you get them before they get you:)

   Hotel Jiggetts was given 5 out of 5 stars by the Thisaintforeverybody Traveler's Association.
   So holler at yours truly if you're ready to book at this very fine establishment.
   E-mail for more information. Serious inquiries only. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Please vote for my friend!

This is a photo from Shawn Joshi's blog. Joshi is a fellow volunteer who's in the running for the best Peace Corps blog.

   A fellow volunteer in Lesotho, Shawn Joshi, is in the running for the best Peace Corps blog!
   Please vote by clicking and 'liking' his photo here on Facebook.
   And check out his blog here.
   Share the link, too.
   Contest ends on Sunday.
   Thanks for your support!


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Traditional Basotho Art: Litema

The Basotho are very crafty, artsy people, especially when it comes to decorating their homes!

   Home sweet Home.
   Like many around the world, home is where the heart is.
   But in Lesotho, home is also where the art is.
   I’ve seen many beautiful  traditional Basotho huts, or rondavals.
  Women here decorate these houses, an art form called litema (dee-tem-ah), which translates to pattern in Sesotho.
   They’ll spread mud, clay and/or cow dung on their houses to form the basis for their decorations.
   Here, take a peek:

They also use stones to decorate their huts:

This is a house in my village. Notice the small stones near the windows. I also like that they colored their door blue. Color is everything.

Women also use their finger prints as art tools:
This ntate in my village let me take a photo of him and his house. Notice the fingerprints on the caramel-colored portion around his door frame. Neat, eh?

This house was also decorated with fingerprints:

This is a less traditional Basotho house but its decorations are very Basotho-like!

   The art of litema is one that always amazes me.
   I like that the Basotho, very creative and resourceful people, use what they have to place their stamps on their houses.

   What do you think? Which design do you like the best?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Arts and Crack, er...Crafts!

This is my arts and craft collection, aka my crack addiction. It keeps me busy on rainy days, lazy days, heck, all days!

   There's nothing more divine for me than crafting.
   It's very meditative and helps to keep my creative juices flowing. That's why I shipped my craft collection to Lesotho a month before I started my service.
   Besides my love of manicures, here are some things I make during my spare time here:

These pencils are covered in embroidery floss:

These aren't your average pencils. I wrapped them in embroidery floss to make them look extra pretty. Use them to take any standardized test and you'll pass with fireworks. It's a Jennifer Jiggetts guarantee:)

Candy-coated cans:

OK, this is the reason why I have so many damn cavities! I save all of my candy wrappers for useless craft projects like this one because I like little pops of color around my house.

Fabric-covered things:

This was an experiment gone right!

Handmade envelopes:

This is another experiment gone right. Since I make a lot of earrings, I wanted to put them in something other than matchboxes and came up with this idea after looking at the stack of magazines in my house. These envelopes are always a hit!

   So, as you can see, I love making  things and I'll create any excuse to craft!
   If I'm tapped to do Peace Corps training or if there's a volunteer birthday, I'll whip something special up like bookmarks or earrings.
   It should come as no surprise that my secondary project deals with arts and crafts.
   The fact that I've been able to make somewhat of a difference in someone's life by crafting makes me feel really good.