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Published: November 3rd 2006
On September 25 we left Johannesburg and began driving southeast out of Gauteng Province and into the vaal, or great grassland of the Province of Free State. Later that day we entered the
of Lesotho, pronounced
. We were invited to stay in the home of Kal and his family, a very successful Bahá’í businessman who has been in Lesotho for 33 years, in the capital city of Maseru. Kal was born in Central Asia and raised in the United States. A couple of years ago his wife passed away and he remarried Thato, a young Basotho woman who has a six-year-old daughter. She also brought a wonderful 12-year-old girl with her who was from her village, and Kal regards both of the girls as his stepdaughters. In addition, Kal and Thato are expecting a baby in January. By the local standards Kal’s home is a mansion, with a very distinctive bright blue roof that is the only house of its kind in town. His household also includes two maids, two gardeners and a night watchman. Our stay in Maseru has been quite comfortable.
The people of Lesotho appear to have even less than the poor of South Africa,
Large blooming aloe
There must be hundreds of varieties of aloes, or agaves, here; we saw hillsides covered with them. This one had striking orange blossoms
if that is possible. There appears to be no social safety net of any kind for the people who have nothing. Most of the residents of Lesotho do not possess an address as street signs and house numbers do not exist except in Maseru. Outside of downtown Maseru, many of the homes are small (1-3 rooms) concrete block structures with simple sloped tin roofs and few windows, with outdoor toilets and wells. We found it very difficult to locate an internet hook up; internet cafes are a new and limited idea. We were able to check email at Kal’s house but not use our laptop online. We saw many little places to use the public phone or buy cell phone airtime; some were little shacks, others converted dumpsters, and one converted camper trailer.
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