Maseru, Lesotho May 19, 2010
‘Lah-soo-too is how the name of this country is pronounced. I scarcely knew where it was, much less how to say the name of it .
My first impressions have been favorable. Part of that might be due to the fact that a couple weeks before I got here I spent a week in Bangui, Central African Republic. I wrote about Bangui in my last post. I can wait awhile before I go back there!
Another thing that this place has going for it is its elevation. Maseru, the capital city is in the lowlands. For Lesotho that means 4000 feet above sea level. The entire country, surrounded on all sides by South Africa, is above 3500 feet. There are hills, mountains, rocky cliffs and gorges. May is the start of the winter season and the nights cool off quickly when the sun goes down. There are few bugs and the crisp feel of the evening air reminds me of home.
Having said all that, I am actually writing this from across the border in Ladybrand, South Africa. That is where my apartment is. Maseru is right on the border and Ladybrand is about 20 KM down the road. The other two Americans working on this project live here as well and we all commute to Maseru every workday in the same rental car. Ladybrand is a quieter suburban community. I looked at apartments in Maseru that were more expensive and not as nice, although they were certainly closer to work. Now, I am becoming a twice daily visitor to the border guards on both sides. Sometimes they check our passports, but often they just wave us through. Operations at the border are bound to tighten up the closer it gets to World Soccer Cup time in June and July. This is the first time the most followed sporting event on the planet has been hosted by African nations and they are determined to keep things peaceful -- if a soccer match can be called that!
I am just about over jet lag and getting used to a more normal schedule after eight months of working nights in Bahrain. Joann will be joining me here in a couple of weeks and I am looking forward to exploring a bit of this part of the world with her.