Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Meeting the Family and More

I’ve been traveling a lot these past few weeks.  Three weeks ago we had a five day weekend, where I travelled to Quthing.  This was followed by a party in the lowlands.  Which was followed by a vacation in Mohale’s Hoek and a conference in Thaba Bosiu.  In summary I’ve travelled to the lowlands every weekend for three consecutive weeks.  


This past weekend I headed down to Morija to see the Rieds.  They threw me a surprise birthday party, which was a lot of fun.  The following day I met Melinda and her family at the Morija museum.  We had some fire grilled pizza, took a very very thorough tour and aimed the van south towards Mohale’s Hoek, where we stayed the night.  
The following day the family, Mike, Sue, Eric, and Michelle, the do it all driver / guide extraordinaire Hayden and his wife Jackie, Melinda, and Myself all headed to Melinda’s site in Quthing.  Her rondavel is on the right.  
Lots of photos were taken, a bucket of water was fetched, and enough food to feed a small village was dropped off.  
After the site visit, we drove down the road to Melinda’s school where we were greeted by hundreds of excited children.  
The teachers decorated the staff room and we had a nice little sit down.  
The school put on a cultural dance for us.  It’s difficult to take a photo without Sue smiling in it.  First the boys did a stick / stomp dance.
Then the girls sang a cute little song about the countries founder Ntate Moshoeshoe. 
Some introductions were made.
The trip was a lot of fun, it was nice seeing Melinda’s school, meeting her teachers, and seeing the kids.  
On our way back we stopped in Moyeni for a legendary grilled chicken lunch.  
Nothing went to waste…
I wish I could have continued the trip into South Africa with Melinda and her family.  Words can’t express how wonderful the whole experience was.  Her family is amazing.  I really can’t thank everyone enough for their hospitality, generosity, and making me feel like one of them.  I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone again in December.  


***************** Changning Gears ******************


After parting ways with the family I headed to a peer support network conference at the base of the beautiful Thaba Bosiu. 
I arrived a few hours early so I hiked up Thaba Bosiu.  Thaba Bosiu is a historic stronghold of the first leader of the Basotho nation, Ntate Moshoeshoe I.  He travelled all over Lesotho and unified the people with a common language, Sesotho and encouraged them to fight for their land together.  
Qiloane is a famous monolith, which is rumored to be the source of inspiration for the Basotho hat (mokorotlo).  The Maloti Mountains are in the distance. 
There was a beautiful sunset.  Thaba Bosiu is in the background.  


***************** Changning Gears ******************


There was snow in the highlands during the conference and I was left stranded.  Moteng Pass is notorious for icing over in the winter.  I was stuck in Botha Bothe for a night.  
Rachel’s friends from Philadelphia were in town and she invited me out to Liphofung.  The pass was still closed so I figured I would rather hang out with some friends than sit in a hotel room by myself.  
Liphofung has some really interesting overhanging (cave) features and there are petroglyphs on one of the walls.  
Luckily after two days of above freezing temperatures, the pass opened up and I got a great hitch back.  
Tlaeng Pass at 3251m (10,666 feet) above sea level.  






Peace,

- Joel





Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Street Photos 8 Recognition


The first quarter of school is long gone.  I have heard from previous volunteers that the second year is over before you know it.  That’s an understatement to say the least.  These first 12 school weeks of 2017 are a blur.  Part of the reason is the amount of conferences we’ve had mixed in there.  There was mid service conference, which for reasons not completely understood by me, was during the second week of school.  Next was the all volunteer conference followed by a week long Easter break.  In addition to the conferences I’ve travelled to the lowlands 4 times for various reasons and I’m heading down again this weekend.  All this to say my time in Africa is moving quickly, in part because of travel.  With travel comes new photo opportunities.  Even though it’s one of my least practiced photography disciplines, street photography remains one of my favorite genres.
This past week I was interviewed by Teresa Pilcher about my street photography.  Teresa was recently voted 7th, out of an original list of 124 names, on the list of the 20 most influential street photographers of 2017 by Street Hunters.  This was a reader voted poll, which was a big deal.  You can read the article HERE.  My interview is featured on the Google Plus community "Street Photographers".  The community currently has over 384,000 members.  It feels good being recognized for my work, especially since I’ve only been involved in the genre for around a year and a half.  

The interview can be viewed HERE.
Thanks for all of your support.


Peace,

- Joel