On Saturday, we make the journey to Teyateyaneng (TY), a town south of Pitseng. We stay in the Blue Mountain Inn there. At first glance it seems to be a very Westernised compound, but we find the rooms to be more modest than we had first expected. Considering that there are three of us in each room, personal space is at a premium. We finally get the opportunity to use the internet. Not to our surprise it is incredibly slow as there is only one dial-up connection serving four computers. On a brighter note, Dallan manages to obtain the results of his degree there. Our initial thoughts regarding the inn’s western leanings are realised when we celebrate his results and Cormac’s final night with the group. We had been eating quite traditional food until this point, but here the menu was limited to fast-foodesque cuisine. We had an enjoyable evening that commenced our positive experience of TY. On Sunday, we look around the town. TY is the most urban place we had stayed in so far. It is a bustling town with a wide assortment of shops.
On Monday our group divides in two as we have four courses to deliver this week. The divide in the team alters the group dynamic, but our growing confidence overcomes any additional pressure on individuals. Thirty-eight students obtain certificates in the first half of this week. One group goes to Peka, a large school of which now much is disused. The other group have a shorter distance to travel to their school, Kolonyama. Due to bus difficulties, both groups had long distances to walk to their respective schools. Power supply difficulties were an ongoing problem in both schools, and a power box explosion in Kolonyama was followed by a frantic “every man for himself” evacuation from the building. One memorable experience for Dallan was explaining to a commerce teacher a variety of business questions. Despite being on their syllabus, none of the teachers in that school know what shopping channels, trading blocs or store cards are. Two more bags arrive from BA, considerably lighter than when they left Dublin Airport. This development is a slight drag on group morale, but is quickly forgotten.
On Wednesday, we moved on to two new schools, Cana and Mamathe. Cana is a rural school at the foothills of the Maluti Mountains. They were well prepared and ready to embrace us. Mamathe is located close to TY, and is the first school we’ve been to that doesn’t have drop-toilets i.e. a hole in the ground. The school was well prepared, and with an enthusiastic class, they were also among the quickest learners that we have had. Another forty-one students succeed in obtaining certificates.
On Thursday evening we celebrated Jonas’ birthday. Simon represented SchoolNet, and generously provided two bottles of champagne, as well as birthday cards and mugs for Jonas and Joe’s belated birthday. We arrive back to our room to find a cloud of smoke surrounding our faulty heater, and a cold night with all windows open follows. On Friday, Joe is approached by Thubuktha a student in Cana. He politely offers an invitation for Des and Joe to join him for an evening in Maseru. Due to the nature of our stay here and the local environment we were obliged to refuse in the nicest possible manner. Although we have been unable to venture out after hours we have still managed to keep ourselves entertained within the walls of Blue Mountain.