Rocks. We moved lots of rocks. LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF ROCKS. Rocks on rocks on rocks.
Today half of the group went back to the Habitat site to continue working on the two houses that we were building. At the beginning, we started by making cement and moving cinderblocks so we could continue building. In addition, some of us worked on shoveling and digging out a pit latrine (aka an outdoor bathroom). HOWEVER…for the majority of the day, we walked down and up a rather large hill carrying rocks that we took from a torn down, abandoned house. At first each person carried their own rock up the hill by themselves. It was very exhausting, hard labor, so we stopped for a break. Then we found out that the Basotho workers thought we weren’t getting enough done and needed to move faster. So needless to say, we got our act together. About 12 of us spaced out down the hill and formed a production line so we would only be walking a short distance to pass the rocks off to one another, working as a team. (Brittany would like to take the credit for this life-changing idea). Moving these old rocks was dirty work–the dirtiest we’ve had so far! At the end of the day, we looked like two year-olds who had been rolling in dirt all day. Thankfully, this worked for us so much better, and we were able to accomplish much more in less time. We did this all day, as in for six hours. It was tough work physically but a mindless task, so we were able to reflect and talk a lot through all of this.
Today made us appreciate all that we have more than most of us did before and helped us realize how blessed we are. We really take so much for granted. For instance, if we had a dump truck, it would have taken us five minutes to move all of the rocks to the top of the hill. But in Lesotho, they don’t have the option of using dump trucks or other machinery. Those pieces of machinery don’t exist–it has to be all manual labor to finish a job like this. Once we made our production line, we were all touching each rock that went to the top of the hill, which would later be used to complete the houses for the incoming families. Because we had to do this with our own two hands, we realized how lucky we were and that much greater satisfaction comes from physically doing the work yourself. We have only been experiencing the building style for a couple of days, but it has really made us appreciate all of the work and effort that the Basotho put into their country.
Though it was a fun day, there were some hard parts. As mentioned in previous posts, there are lots of kids who play on the hill by the work site. One of them came up to us and asked why we weren’t building a house for him. It was such a hard question to answer because we see the need but know that we can’t build a new house for each Basotho family. It left us feeling unsatisfied, but we have to remember that we are making a difference nonetheless with the houses and other projects that we have completed on this trip. We have to remind ourselves that we still must carry on, keep our heads up, and give what we can, even if it’s just a smile and an open ear.
Overall, it was another great sunny day in Lesotho. We even ended the day with fun by singing and dancing with the kids in the village by Thorns. It’s plain to see the difference that we are making purely by seeing the joy on their faces, which we seem to also find reflected on our faces.
Tomorrow, the groups will switch and experience the site that they did not get to see today. Then Saturday morning we will head up to Ramabanta for Christmas. We wish all of the families back home a Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings!
Khotso, Pula, Nala (Peace, Rain, and Prosperity),
Mary Ann and Brittany