Friday, 14 July 2017

'Me Malerato

Today was a wonderful day. I was picked up by ‘Me Mahlompho and we drove into town to meet a dressmaker. I was so excited I woke up around 5am and could not get back to sleep. When we arrived in town we went to the dress shop and I had my measurements done. As the dressmaker was writing down my measurements she asked what my name was. I went to spell out my name and ‘Me Mahlompho said “what is your Basotho name?” I did not have a name other than my Canadian one. So ‘Me turned to me and said, I am giving you your Basotho name. You are named ‘Me Malerato. Malerato means mother of love. I was so proud, honoured and grateful to have such a beautiful Basotho name.

We finished the measurements and walked up the way to a fabric shop where I saw beautiful oranges, pinks, blues, greens, every type of pattern and colour you could imagine. It was like I walked into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory but could only eat one thing. So hard to decide! We looked at the pinks and the blues and decided on a beautiful dark blue colour. We also picked a pattern for the dress that will have covered buttons and a length to just below my knees. I am thrilled to have a traditional Basotho dress! 






‘Me Mahlompho and I said goodbye to the dressmaker and made our way down the streets. We stopped in a shop that sold Basotho blankets and I bought another one. This one has Lesotho hats on it and it’s the most beautiful one I’ve seen yet. We then made our way to the Shoprite to purchase some sugar, water, and other things. She picked up some peanut butter for Andy and I grabbed some cinnamon to make French toast. 

We hopped in another taxi and made my way back to the White House. When I got back, I pulled out bread, milk, eggs and the cinnamon. I whipped up some French toast for my lunch. I have been missing my husband and I think he makes the best French toast, so I decided to make some to remind me of home. I also brought Canadian Maple Syrup for Pastor James, Samuel, ‘Me Mahlompho and the housekeeper. I had one extra so I opened it and used it on the French toast. It was delicious.

As I finished Ntate Machefo and ‘Me Puseletso came to pick me up to drive to Maseru. ‘Me is a nutritionist and has worked for the agricultural department in the government for many years before retiring. Her and Ntate have adopted ‘Makhauta as their own daughter for several years now.


I had yet to hear from the Ministry of Health so we decided to stop in and see if we could talk to someone. We met with two people, one lady who suggested that Bracelet of Hope writes a letter of intent to the Ministry of Health with our aspirations of mobile health units, and the other, a gentleman in statistics who is working on getting us a list of all the private and public AIDS clinics in Lesotho.

We then stopped into the mall to see if the computer was ready for training ‘Me Matsepo and headed up to Lithoteng. I was so excited to see those children. When I arrived I hugged them and said my hellos. I brought them some small gifts and feminine hygiene products which they were happy to have. Last time I was there they told me that teachers only give them pencils, and they don’t know why. They wanted pens. Only adults write with pens. This trip I brought a full bag of all different colours of pens and they were so happy.


I began by interviewing our amazing foster mom, ‘Me Masentle, and just like many of the other foster mothers, she could not tell me something that she wanted for herself. She wanted fencing and a new fridge for the home. You see, many of these women think mainly of the children. When I asked why she wanted to be a foster mother, she said that she felt it was her calling to help children in need who have no one to support them. I asked her what makes her happy and she told me reading the Bible and singing. I asked her to sing for me, and she smiled big and began to sing. I could tell it made her happy, as her eyes sparkled.

We went outside and little Khotso showed me his new puppies. Their dog had been pregnant and had five puppies. I have been told that the plan was to sell the puppies but Khotso told me he wanted to keep them all. He loves those little puppies (it was hard not to- they are so cute).


We played outside for some time with balloons, bouncy balls and bubbles. I adore seeing these children laugh and smile.



I gave Samuel some spelling flash cards to practice English. They were so quick to read this level of flash cards but loved the challenging words. The word "though" was a tough one. He went through the entire deck, and the girls laughed and cheered at each word they got correct. Several times they would shout and say "too easy"!





video

It was then time to leave and make our way back to the mall to pick up the computer. I gave them all hugs and they were very sad to see me leave. Last time I was at Lithoteng, I stayed overnight at their place, and they were hoping I would again. Every home I go to, it is difficult to leave. I live to see these children, how they are doing, how their schooling is and to know about their lives. I gave them very big hugs and told them I would see them in September again. I wish I could have spent more time with each of them. Every time I come I feel that I need days and days just to learn about their lives, and what their struggles are.


Last time I was here, Itumeleng was doing school from home and she was very lonely and wanted to be in school with other children her age. This time, I have found that she is now attending school on site. She was very happy to tell me that, and to show me her school uniform. She took off her uniform and came back out in a Mickey Mouse t-shirt that we purchased her for Christmas. Her smile was huge and it was everything to me. That is what I love best about my job, the progress. Knowing that when I go back to Canada and host events, write grants, do social media campaigns, speeches, monthly donor blasts, even paperwork that it is all going towards making a better life for these kids. Day by day, each dollar we raise goes towards lifting these children into better lives.

I love seeing the growth in our children, and knowing that their lives are truly improving. The gardens are growing well at Lithoteng and we hope to have chicken layers in the future to support sustainability. As we drove away, once again, I had a lump in my throat and put on my handy sunglasses. It is so hard to say goodbye to the children.


As we left, we made our way to ‘Me Puseletso’s home. We chatted about many things, and she showed me photos and videos of ‘Makhauta dancing, smiling and being silly. They call ‘Makhauta “khauta” which means “gold”. ‘Me has told me that she was in the danger zone when she first came to their home, and she was very skinny, on the verge of death. We have almost lost ‘Makhauta many times due to her disease. Since living with Ntate and ‘Me, she has gained weight, and at her last check up just a couple weeks ago, they told us that she is a very healthy little girl!!!!! 

We dropped ‘Me Puseletso off at her home in Maseru as she had an executive committee meeting in Maseru the next day with AFM. I drove home with Ntate Machefo and we discussed different types of food we like, the piggeries, chicken layers and ‘Makhauta.

I had not eaten since French toast so when I arrived home around 8:30pm, I reheated some left over spaghetti I had made the night before, scarfed it down and headed to bed. When I went to wash my hands I realized that the taps had run dry. It was time to get some water from the tank outside. I was told to make sure I kept a couple buckets in case it happened, as, “that’s Lesotho”.

Tonight, I fall asleep grateful for my new Basotho name, and the ability to see these remarkable children grow. My heart is full of "LERATO" (love).



For more information about Bracelet of Hope, please visit www.braceletofhope.ca or contact me at ccoghlan@braceletofhope.ca.

Kea Leboha
Thank you





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