Well, we have arrived in Lesotho. By we I mean the 10 people sent out by Camara to teach computer literacy in schools, this is Conor, Jonas and Carla (our coordinators), Aisling, Deirdre, Helen, Jen, Dallan, Joe and Des. Cormac who is the founder and CEO of Camara has also travelled out with us but he will leave us shortly to travel to the 4 other countries that have volunteers sent out to them as part of Camara’s Africa 2007 volunteer programme.
So the journey, we were flying from Dublin to Heathrow and then onto Johannesburg. Here we were being met by Jonas and Carla who have been out here for a week before us getting everything set up for our arrival. After Jo’burg we really didn’t know what exactly was planned, whether we would stay overnight there or travel to Bloemfontain or head straight to Maseru the capital of Lesotho. Anyway our flight to Heathrow was delayed by about 50 minutes so a final pint of Guinness (or two) was had to say farewell to Ireland and last minute supplies bought. As we all know Heathrow is notoriously disorganised for transferring flights so the fact that our plane was delayed by nearly an hour was not good news. Luckily we were arriving into terminal one and leaving from there too but we still had to make a mad dash across the terminal only to find that the queue was so massive for our Jo’burg flight that we would be waiting around for a good half hour!
Flight was grand, flew British Airways and got absolutely no sleep on the flight which didn’t help with the day of travelling we had ahead of us.
We were paranoid with the delay that our luggage would not make it and of course it didn’t! There was talk of there being something like 12,000 pieces of luggage in Heathrow needing to be sent on to their rightful owners. So we don’t have our bags at the moment which is slightly annoying but we have all the important stuff.
So we were met by Jonas and Carla at the airport. The plan was to get a minibus south to Ladybrand which is a town just over the S.A.-Lesotho border near to Maseru. We even had a little trailer for all our luggage which was sitting in London. The journey down was about 450km and was really nice, the views of such vast tracts of land were amazing and the sun was shining. It’s winter here and the days are generally quite sunny with clear skies, although once the sun drops it gets very chilly very quickly. Carla was saying that the week before we arrived it had been snowing and with it getting so cold at night I’m not at all surprised. On the bus the mood was good despite the missing bags and typical African music was interrupted by the odd bit of Westernised music.
The drivers over here are a little bit loony on the roads, overtaking on bends, going at ridiculous speeds and so on but tucked away at the back of the bus I didn’t really mind let alone notice. That was until I heard what sounded like a glass bottle smashing off the bus. We then started to swerve and slow down rapidly and it was obvious something was wrong, we all got a bit panicky until the bus finally shuddered to a halt at the side of the road. We all piled out and inspected the damage on our left rear tyre. It was only for the great driving sense of our driver Sonny, and the fact that there wasn’t anyone speeding behind us that it wasn’t more serious. So we relaxed at the side of the road as Sonny changed the tyre and the cows looked on.
Eventually we reached Little Rock Resort which was kind of like a camp site and had nice little thatch chalets waiting for us. It was so nice to finally arrive somewhere and relax a bit and it even had Rocky Saloon, a little bar with chilled Castle Lager for 6 Rand each which works out about 60 cents. They even had sausage dogs, three of them, and some Lassie dogs to welcome us! So after several beers and a pizza we climbed into the bunk beds to fall off to sleep.