Summer Recap

Greetings Tiger Fans!

Below are some of the e-mail updates I received from swimmers who travelled to Lesotho Africa this past June and July.  As we begin the 2011-2012 season, I feel it is important to remember how much we do outside the pool, the good we can bring to the world around us, and the importance of giving back.

As you read you will see that the students who e-mailed did so in pairs, due to limited Internet access.  I have identified the swimmers at the end of each e-mail.

Please check back frequently for updates about our season and more!

Coach Koukis

Hello friends and family,

Today was a beautiful day in Lesotho.  The weather was perfect for working, and we made progress on all three of our current projects.

This week, we’re working at an orphanage near Morija.  We planted several fruit trees, laid the foundation for the piggery, began work on the rabbit hutch, and began the framework for the greenhouse.  It is really exciting to walk around and see the progress we make each day and the camaraderie among the members of our group.

We didn’t have a meeting tonight, so we had an hour to relax after we returned from the orphanage.  Some of us read or wrote in our journals, while others took a walk to watch the sunset with the children of the village.  At dinner tonight, we celebrated Dr. Rosenberg’s birthday with cake and ice cream, and Josh got his chance to prank Zach with a whoopee cushion.  Zach is busy planning his revenge.

Tomorrow, we are taking a break from work to visit Baylor Clinic and put on a carnival for the HIV positive children there.

This concludes your nightly update from Lesotho,
We love you all

Devoni Murphy and Zachary Stewart (Wittenberg Swimmer, 2011)

Hey everyone!

Today was our last day working at Motsekua worksite, and boy was it nicer than yesterday!  There was no snow and the sun was shining and you woulda thought we switched seasons overnight.  We officially finished the rabbit hutch and the pigery, playground, and greenhouse, as well as the classrooms are all finished being decorated and painted as well.  The only thing we did not quite finish was the chicken coop, but there is only a little work left on that- probably just a roof.

We had quite an adventure, however, on the way to Motsekua.  Donnie’s bus, first of all, sprung a leak in the overhead air conditioners and lights and the first row was on “splash mountain” with ponchos over them for protection.  THEN, the bus broke down, and we were all just chillin on the side of the road for a little while, about an hour give or take.  We waited for David’s bus to drop everyone off and come get us.  There was really nothing in site, except a few mountains and sheep, but almost everyone that passed us honked (rather obnoxiously) because there were a bunch of Americans stranded on the side of the road- how funny for the Basotho!

Everything is winding down now, since we are leaving and we officially finished moving cinder blocks and making heavy cement!  Our next project is at Leratong, where we will be making cabinets- it’s our last project and then we are headed for Kruger on Friday the 5th.

Tomorrow we get to go hiking up Thaba Bosiu, the most sacred piece of land to the Basotho.  It’s very steep but we have a had a lot of practice hiking and we’re ready.

Dinner was very good tonight, we had some chicken, veggies and potatoes and rice, and some ginger peach dessert with custard- custard is a favorite here.

Anne Beauch and Megan Tassone (Wittenberg Swimmer, 2012)

Lumela All!

Today was quite the day. It started off as a brisk winter’s day. We were up for breakfast at 7:30 sharp with a quick 8:30 departure. As the bus traveled over the mountains and through the woods, to Morija we were going. A little different than to grandma’s, aye?

As we got there the busses ran into a bit of a jam. We soon found out, after hitting the bottom of the mountain, that the three vans, packed with eager kids with work tools at the ready, were not going to make it to the top. For a time check, it was about 9:30.

The bus drivers were feeling risky though, and decided to unload all the passengers and tools, and try to get the bus over the ditch. Success, one of the busses made it over without destroying the fuel tank.

Thinking the rest of the vans would carry up the tools for the work site, we headed up the mountain on foot. Nothing like a 20 minute hike to start the day right? Wrong. About three quarters up mountain we were called to from below to come back and grab the tools from the vans.

After the trek back down, a bunch of us were inspired by the women of Lesotho, and started carrying the heavy objects, such as water bottle cases and bags of sand, ON OUR HEAD. Don’t give us too much credit because we were using our hands as support.

Well, parents, friends, relatives, if you had any concern at all about your loved one on this trip not getting any exercise, trust us, don’t you worry every day feels like a gym class. Good morning pick axing enthusiasts.

Anyway, back to the working part of the day. We went to a primary and secondary (high school) school. Projects included: painting the new classrooms, planting 20 fruit trees, and building the oh so fabulous playground.

The playground started off to a rough start with the original digging spot being swarmed with a plethora of stone and rock. That was quickly fixed causing the playground to be almost three quarters finished by the end of the day. Please give them all a big pat on the back.

The painting in the classrooms consisted of many alphabets, shapes, and numbers for the younger age groups. Those will be some mighty fine sharp kids.

The green thumb tree planters started digging at the top and bottom of the school. We planted all twenty trees before lunch time. And holy moly those trees will have the type of view that people pay thousands of dollars for. Just imagine pure open fields and mountains into the sunlight.

After cleaning up, the work day ended with a nice big game of Ninja. (Ask your child how to play on family game night)

To finish off the day the Thorn’s (owners of the Trading Post) are taking us out for a lovely meal, BUFFET. Now we won’ have to argue which table gets food first. Nothing ever changes right, always arguing for food?

Well, one more working day for Lesotho Trip 1. We can hardly believe the trip in Lesotho is coming to an end. BUT those lions and hippos better watch out because the Witt students are coming at them soon with the cameras ready!

Peace, Rain, Prosperity
Quinn and Katharine (Ritzi, Wittenberg Swimmer, 2013)

Lumela friends!

We’re sure you have been receiving a whole bunch of elaborate emails about our already amazing experiences here in Lesotho, so we are going to add a little more onto that!

Today we went back to the Kick 4 Life site where we worked our tails off from 10 to 4. As you probably know already we have been working on several areas around the building and field. The trench that we have been digging out has finally been completed! It is going to be filled by a water pipe for the sprinkler system on the soccer field. The other projects are looking promising and should be finished by tomorrow.

After lunch many of us decided to part take in what some might consider as a “Royal Butt Whipping”, A.K.A. a soccer game between Wittenbergers and the Basotho Kick 4 Life coaches. Needless to say they owned us on the field, but when it came to scoring the goals they went easy on us.

While working, we noticed that many of the children that were hanging around the construction site were under the age of 6 and there were no parents in sight. This really made us realize how fortunate we have all been to have grown up in such a protected and cared for environment. We are so glad to be able to help out Kick 4 Life in anyway possible. It is such a great way to keep these young and vulnerable children off of the streets and help to broaden their horizons through the education of HIV/AIDS, giving job placement opportunities and in general life coaching and counseling.

Kick 4 Life has been such a great and fulfilling experience and we are sad that tomorrow will be our last day there…. But at least we can have another shot at a round of soccer against the Basotho!

Have a great rest of your day! We all miss you so much!


Molly (Gustafson, Wittenberg Swimmer, 2014) and Michael

The latest from Lesotho…

Greetings from the Trading Post, (Thorns)

Today was our third day in Lesotho, and we are finally starting to feel in-sync with the time and routine. After a hearty breakfast of fruit, eggs, cereal, hard- boiled eggs=), and ham we venture off to the capital city of Masero where we joined forces with the up-and-coming kick 4 life program. This program is centered around soccer and the awareness/prevention of HIV/AIDS  for young Basotho children. Kick 4 life gets the attention of young kids by allowing them to play soccer at their facility, however before they are allowed to play they are required to get tested and take classes regarding awareness/prevention of the disease. Soccer (aka futbol) is a very popular sport in Africa that makes them very happy and occupied. Prince Harry and David Beckham are strong supporters of this program in fact they had two large sized pictures of them interaction with children. (wasn’t too hard on the eyes!) Kick 4 life is still very new and there is much work to be done on the facility. The staff there was very excited to have us come and help out with various tasks. Some of these tasks include painting, building cabinets and lockers, digging a trench, and leveling land. We will be at kick 4 life site the rest of this week excluding Wednesday. Overall this program is very exciting and promising for the youth of Lesotho.

One issue that was brought to our attention today was the common challenge of facing hungry children. It is common to have a child come up to you and ask/beg for food or water. Although it is very heart-breaking to say no, this becomes a very hard situation because you naturally want to feed the child, but doing that would only cause more issues. One problem being that 15 other children would come begging to you and a second one being it would only give them instant gratification and not a permanent solution. We realized that in most cases the best way to help these children is through long term projects and organizations such as kick 4 life!

On a lighter note the group dynamic is wonderful. We have really gone outside our comfort zone and have gotten to really know one another. We are forming bonds with those who we were only previously acquaintances with at school. The exciting thing is that we are only on day 6, and we have 24 more days to strengthen our bonds and our Wittenberg (Lesotho) family.

Catherine (Farnsworth) and Jane (Tsivitse, Wittenberg Swimmer, 2013)
Ps- We saw the Milkyway last night….It was AWESOME!

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