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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Drought Update

Lesotho is green again. Its beauty causes me to pause when I walk, simply to gawk and try to memorize the incredible views. We have enjoyed the occasional rain since my birthday.

When the ground first transitioned from sand into soil again, I hesitated. My family and neighbors, however, began planting greens. Eventually I moved past the dire drought predictions that were not due to expire for many more months and I too planted my gardens.

Soon to be eaten: 4/10
Spaghetti Squash.
Thanks Julie P!
I had a few tough plants that survived the drought. Three squashes had been trying their hardest to grow, watered only with waste water from my house for four months, they were barely there, but within a week of the rain, they had tripled in size. Today they are surrounded and part of the Jurassic Park of squash leaves taking over the weeds in the back yard. Unlike last year, it looks like this year I will get to harvest and even consume my bounty. After feeding goats, the pig, a donkey, and a herd of cattle last year, this is an exciting possibility.

At the same time as I celebrate my own small garden at home and the lack of dust flying constantly, the present reality is still dry. Lesotho is still in a dangerous drought. The so-called rainy season will be ending soon.

My family's greens are
growing well.
The staple foods have not grown enough. In a few months it will be time to harvest maize, sorghum, and beans. Last year's food supply will be exhausted and this year's input will be insufficient.

The groundwater supply has not been replenished this season. When rain does not fall for a week, many taps return to their dry state from before the rain finally arrived.

So, for the moment, Lesotho is green and gorgeous. I celebrate the rain, even when it is hard enough to make my roof continue leaking.

In case you missed my original post on the drought in Lesotho, Dust in the Wind is available here. Also, in February, The Guardian in the UK published an article calling this the Green Drought.

Year by Year Comparison:

January 2015: The maize is tall and people are weeding to ensure it grows well.
March 2016: The same field with significantly fewer plants. In January, this field was only ankle high and had almost no
weeds due to the lack of rain.

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