Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Kingdom in the Sky

From the foothills of the Ukhalamba Drakensbergs, we traveled through the Manontsa Pass to the village of Mafika-Lisiu in the small and very high kingdom of Lesotho. We pulled our jackets tight and walked around the village comprised of small clay houses and rondavels. We climbed into the hills above the town to see ancient San rock paintings which were likely over 2000 years old. After the climb we received our just rewards at the local shabeen, the village brewery. The white flag flying outside a small rondavel told us there was traditional maize beer to be had. Villagers, mostly older, crowded around a fire while a large cup filled with the brew was passed around the circle. It was cider-like, a little gritty and warm but pretty tasty.

After a walk back to the village school, we played with the kids during recess. Most were jumping rope or playing soccer. They were curious and spoke a little English. Not surprisingly, the kids that live in the highest country in the world were just like kids everywhere else.

When school let out for the day we went to meet with the village sangoma who smiled as he answered questions about his job as the traditional healer. He was quiet and soft-spoken but very gracious in his responses, translated by our guide Sim. Afterwards we tried some mealie pap which is eaten all over southern Africa- though under different names. It's like sticky grits that's eaten with your hands and usually with cooked spinach.

Our last stop was the Two Sisters market for some more beer but this one, called Maluti after the surrounding mountains, was a regular lager available only in Lesotho. We bought a large bottle of the hoppy brew and toasted the mountains, the people of the village and the kingdom of Lesotho.

5 comments:

foster said...

I really enjoyed hearing all the voices, especially the kids! Also, great photos of kids being kids. Well done!

Addie said...

I love the kids,,,very cool

Ted said...

Your trip is such an adventure! To go to the highest country in the world and meet the people is awesome. We really appreciate you for bringing us along!

Liz said...

i love these photos. could squeeze those faces and i don;t know how you two climbed up that ladder. whoa.

McNair said...

The pics of the children, esp #24 AMAZING! Loved visualizing this adventure with you two...