Providing Lesotho's Children with Keys to the World

This is the story of our efforts to end the vicious cycle of poverty, disease, inadequate education, and early death
in a remote rural community in Lesotho, Africa, by providing quality education and life skills
to the young children there. Join us on our journey ...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Poem to Honor Donor Ellen Garber

I wrote the following poem, adapted from 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, to thank my friend, Ellen Garber, for making a very substantial donation yesterday to Laptops to Lesotho.  Ellen made the donation in memory of my parents, Ruth and Robert Balcomb:
"Their lives were works of art that inspired us all.


'Twas the night before Sunday, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
Dirty laundry hung carelessly over a chair,
In hopes someone else would remove it from there.

The cats were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of catnip danced in their heads.
With Carl in his pj’s, and I in my cap,
We’d just settled down for a long winter’s nap.

When from my computer there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my keyboard to see what was the matter.
Away to my inbox I flew in great haste,
And clicked on the email listed there in boldface.

Bright light on the screen glared like new fallen snow,
Making me squint and read words a tad slow.
Then, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a gigantic donation the size of a steer.

While the enormous number made my knees shake,
I knew in a moment it must be a mistake.
“Holy S**t, Ellen! That can’t be right!”
Your fingers a-slipping, you must have mis-typed.

The shock had me reeling, my mind was a-drift,
How do I say thank you for such a great gift?
A bundle of computers, solar panels too,
Will bring education to children Bantu.

I can hear all the laughter, their joy, and their glee,
When they see the technology arriving with me.
And so it was that I exclaimed with delight,
“Lesotho’s children will sleep better this very good night.”

- Janissa

Monday, December 9, 2013

Next L2L Trip to Lesotho - March & April 2014

Normally, this time of year, I am either in Lesotho or preparing to go to Lesotho.  Prior to 2012, L2L conducted deployment and training in November and December, at the end of the Lesotho school year.  After the 2011 training, the local staff decided they would rather have training before the start of the school year.  So, our last trip took place from December 2012 into February 2013. 

Unfortunately, we ran into some serious scheduling problems because the Ministry of Education and Training made very last-minute changes to the school system schedule, delaying the starting date by two weeks and conducting teacher training that overlapped with our planned training. 

To avoid a similar problem, our next training trip will be during the school term, in March and April 2014.  This will coincide with Spring Break for L2L volunteers who are teachers in the U.S., making it easier for them to take time off work for the trip. 

[Note:  We don't travel to Lesotho during the U.S. summer months because of weather considerations.  June through August is winter in Lesotho, which can mean heavy snowfalls that make travel impossible, and subzero temperatures, which makes training difficult as there is no heat in the classrooms or homes where volunteers stay.]

Three L2L volunteers from the U.S. are planning to make the trip in March and April 2014 - myself, Kathy Plath, and Sarah Gardner.  Kathy is a teacher in Colorado who helped on the last trip.  Sarah is a teacher in Indiana and is on the L2L Board of Directors, serving as Secretary.  Sarah has been actively involved in L2L from the very start.  This will be her first trip to Lesotho.

The trip will be shorter than previous trips, probably a total of 3½ weeks.  We will not be doing any new deployment, but will focus on student and teacher training.  Because Nohana Primary School has declined our offer for additional training in 2014, we expect to be working almost exclusively at our second site, Kokobe Primary School.

We are waiting to hear from Alice Ranthimo, the principal at Kokobe, and the School Committee to confirm the exact dates of training.

In the coming months, Sarah, Kathy, and I will be working on lesson plans in preparation for the trip.

- Janissa