We spent Easter weekend staying in Matatiele, and visiting one of ASAP’s newest CBO’s: Mamohau. It’s in a very remote village 1.5 hrs from Matatiele. As of now they have about 60 OVC, which is an alarming rise since ASAP came in, when they only had about 15 orphans. The funding brought more OVC out of the woodwork, which is probably both good and bad. ASAP’s social worker has already been there a few times to do assessments and help get the kids on government grants for support.
While we were there, we did an interview with the project manager and some of the Mamohau officials. We ended up shooting over 3 hours of footage and we got some great stuff.
Mamohau is a breathtaking area. We’d already been there once in October (posted about it, I think) so we were a bit more used to the area. It is so rural. In fact, when we showed up on the second day, Andy had to get out and grab a sample of land to take back to Scilla, and while he was getting it EVERY single child in the area came over to the car and poked their heads in. They all wanted candy, but I didn’t have any. So then they asked to hear the radio, so I kicked out the jams for a bit. They were adorable, but the horror-movie-maker in me sort of wished they’d turn into zombies and roll the car over and attack! But that didn’t happen. Probably just as well.
We were invited back on Sunday for their big Easter feast. Andy and I were both scared it was going to be a major bible bashing event, but there was only about a 1/2 hr of “bible sharing” which was all in seSotho anyway, so we just let our eyes glaze over. The singing was the best part, as usual. Those Mamohau mamas sure do like to sing! And one of them even ululated a bunch which was wicked cool. The whole day was great, but as usual, very delayed. Rosemary asked us to get there at 11, so we showed up at 10:30, and we didn’t get started until after 2 o’clock. As per! But we were made to feel really special, and it was a great honor to be included in the festivities.
Our other day in Matatiele was a free day, and so we drove into Lesotho! God, it was beautiful. The drive up to the border was somewhat painful for the Mauve-a-tron but we finally made it. The passport check was harmless but time consuming, and then we realized we didn’t actually have any Lesotho money (whoops!) but they take Rand.
We didn’t have much time to spent there, and so we just drove and drove … and then turned back. Had a quick bite of lunch in Quacha’s Neck, on the border of Lesotho and South Africa — not a restaurant I’d recommend. It was a great mini-excursion, and left us yearning to explore Lesotho in greater detail. However, I don’t think our car wants to go back EVER.
Speaking of the Mauve-a-tron: All the dirt, gravelly roads really wore down the car, and after the Easter feast, we started to head back toward Matatiele and on to Mount Frere. It was getting dark and we had a few hours driving ahead of us still. We’re not car people so I had no clue what the problem was, but as we drove down a tiny dirt road there was a loud screetch and then a hefty clank, and we were afraid to drive any further. We stopped and randomly looked under the hood, etc. Within minutes a nice guy called Moses had stopped behind the Mauve to see what was the matter. “If it was just a flat, I would be happy to help,” he told us kindly. But he wasn’t really equipped to help with our problem — ‘something’ underneath the front left wheel had broken off. We didnt’ know what that ‘something’ was, but it was obviously detached when you compared it to the other wheels. Moses offered to stop by a tow-truck shop in Matatiele and send them out if we weren’t able to reach our insurance, and as he drove away, he added, “You might want to put the hood down and sit in the car. It’s not that safe around here.” …uh, thanks Moses, for scaring the crap out of us!!! We got through to our insurance co, they told us it’d be 49 minutes until a tow-truck arrived, and so we waited, despondantly, for aid.
Anytime another car drove past, we’d put on our best I’m-sitting-here-on-purpose looks and hope they’d just keep driving. They all did. As the sun disappeared behind the mountains, our tow truck arrived. The less-than-talkative mechanic took the car back to his shop and told us it was the stabilizer link. “You don’t really need that. You can drive without it,” he told us. It’s kind of sketchy when the guy just removes a piece of your car and tells you to keep driving … but who were we to argue! To his credit, the car drove fine after that, and Andy went to Kokstad a few days later to get a new stabilizer link put on. They even fixed our handbrake, which made The Mauve very happy.