Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Stanley goes to School

Stanley with the fourth graders, the girl in the back is pointing
out where Lesotho is on the world map!
Hello again world! It's still me, Navajo Flat Stanley.

People liked my other post, so Beth is letting me guest blog one more time before I head off to New Zealand via air mail.

Yesterday, Beth and I went to her workplace for a few hours, chatted with some villagers, and returned home with enough time to do her laundry. Between Camp GLOW and traveling, she has not been home much in the last month, so she was oddly excited about doing her laundry.

Beth's village does not have running water or electricity. She and many villagers use solar chargers to keep their phones charged or listen to the radio. They carry water from the five taps to their houses in buckets...on their heads! Instead of carrying all the water needed for laundry, Beth and many other women go to the natural springs that appear occasionally down the hills from the village. So, that's what we did.

At the spring where we did Beth's laundry.
To actually do the laundry, Beth puts the soapy water in a basin with cloths then handwashes each item before wringing it out really well. Then, she washes it again, in a different basin without soap in the water. She wrings it out again before putting it in the final rinse-this time in a natural pool formed in the rocks. She uses her feet for this part; stomping on and stirring the clothes before hanging them next to the small pool to drip dry as she continues washing.

Today's adventure was extra special. We visited the school that Beth teaches Life Skills at! I got to meet students in grades 4, 5, and 6. I talked to them about my home and explained how the Navajo Nation is an indiginous tribe in America just like the Basotho are an indiginous group in Lesotho. I then asked each class to teach me about Lesotho so I can share it with my friends back in Crownpoint.

I learned so much! Lesotho is known as the Mountain Kingdon because it has so many mountains. The indiginous people here are the Basotho and Beth says they make up about 98% of the population today. The primary language is Sesotho, but secondary school and university are both taught in English. Before King Moshoeshoe (mow-shway-shway) One, the many clans in this area were not unified. He unified the clans and this formed what is now known as Lesotho. Lesotho used to be a colony of Britain. They got independence almost fifty years ago on October 4, 1966!

In Grades 4 and 5, the kids made lists of things that are good to know about Lesotho. From their lists I learned:
Food: Basotho food sounds great! They typically eat papa and just about anything! Leafy green vegetables, milk, pumpkin, beet root, carrots, tomato, potato, beans, peas, eggs, meat. If they are not having papa, they might be eating sorghum, samp (another corn-based food), or rice. Most of these foods they grow themselves, although rice is not grown in Lesotho.
Clothing: Kids wear uniforms to school, each school has different color uniforms. Much of what people wear is similar to America-shirts, sweaters, pants, skirts. But, Basotho also love to wear blankets. The women wear one around their waist called a Charlie. When it is cold or people are dressing up, they also wear a blanket called a kobo over their shoulders. The way men and women wear the kobo is different.
Play: Most Basotho children do not have many toys so they become good at playing games using what is around them. The play jump rope, usually making the rope out of plastic bags. They play liketoana (dee-ket-wa-na), which is like jacks but uses rocks. They also like to play house and to play ball and will make balls out of plastic bags if they do not have one.
Trees: There are a variety of trees in Lesotho. Many people have trees in their yards to provide things like peaches, plums, oranges, apricots, grapes, and apples.
Animals: People keep cows, sheep, goats, chickens, and pigs for food and wool in the case of the sheep and goats. People also have donkeys, horses, cats, and dogs; although unlike in America, most Basotho do not let their dogs into the house.

A few brave students in Grade 5 were will to share the lists of trees and animals in Sesotho and English. It was tricky for those speaking Sesotho as the lists were written only in English but they did a great job!

Grade 6 taught me more about the history and culture of Lesotho, they were even willing to sing their national anthem for me. They made a list of what Basotho people like and of the different clans that King Moshoeshoe One unified in the 1800s!


I had so much fun, I hate to leave this great place, but it's time to continue my journey around the world! Wish me Bon Voyage!

Cheers,

1 comment:

Maxine said...

Dear Beth,
Thank you for taking Navajo Flat Stanley to visit the school. The video of the children made me cry because it is so beautiful. My students cheered when they hear the name of their school and were beyond thrilled to see Navajo Flat Stanley stand with the children as they sang. My students wanted to let you and the students that we have clans as well. We are grateful for your support. Would it be possible for my students to send a package of letters to the children at the school?

Ahe'hee,
Ms. Sloan
Navajo Nation

You should choose as your life's work whatever feels the most like play.
-Harvey Oxenhorn