A group of us went to a local Catholic Church relatively close to the trading post. We were not quite sure what to except when we first arrived - and we realized that we were about half an hour early. We sat close to the back of the sanctuary because we knew would leave earlier than the end of the service as a whole. There were some of the ladies that were a part of the church that as they came in smiled and waved to us, so it felt very welcoming. And right before the start of the service the priest walked in and stopped by us and asked if we wanted to move forward; he insisted that is was fine for us to move forward, we informed him that we were going to leave early but he stilled seemed happy we were there. Many of the group was not necessarily catholic or had not been in a really long time, so figuring out the service (especially in another language) was pretty hard, but we could follow the general layout of the service. The choir that processed in sounded beautiful and they were all smiles and waves when they saw us. We did eventually get moved after a couple songs when the choir moved around the sanctuary by one of the member who said that we had to move forward and were too far in the back, we were very welcomed. The service in total was beautiful and very moving - at least for me. The priest gave part of his sermon to us in English and looked at us while he was speaking and Maya made small connections between the sermon over feeding the flock to LNI meals and what Wittenberg does for Lesotho in that sense. The rest of the service was in Sesotho which was not the easiest to follow, but it was just interesting to listen to the songs and sermon and readings in the other language. The music and the joy of the service in general for even the short time we were there was really moving, and so wonderful. The inclusion of all kinds of instruments from a bike horn to drums and shakers and even some cowbells really added to the welcoming and joyous feeling of the service and the people were so into the singing as well and waving their animal hair wands praising God.
Today was our first full day in Roma, and it certainly did not disappoint. Some of us went to church in the morning, and some went on a walk to explore the compound and the village around where we are staying. Immediately we were met by children who gave us not only a guided tour, but also a bit of a language lesson to help enrich our Sesotho vocabulary. It was nice to get the chance to make some new friends so quickly considering we just got here yesterday free noon. I remember in the middle of our walk seeing a large mountain and I thought to myself, “wow, I bet that would be really hard to climb” because the top was rather rocky. Little did I know that I would see how challenging that was later this afternoon. In our free time after lunch and before our debrief meeting this evening, a large group of us hiked up that aforementioned mountain to go and see some dinosaur footprints and to watch the sun set over the mountains. Some of our new friends met us again and escorted us up the mountain—thank goodness for them, too, because they were familiar with all of the shortcuts and best footholds as we got higher and higher up the mountainside. (And yes, it was as difficult as I had imagined, but the view was breathtakingly beautiful.) Once we got to the footprints, everyone stopped and took pictures and we played music and danced with all our new friends. It was a somewhat surreal moment because as we were stepping into the preserved footprints of the dinosaurs from so many years ago, time seemed to stop and we were all dancing and having fun together in that moment on top of the world.
(The photo above is of my foot next to the dinosaur footprint. It was so cool!)
Being a Sunday in Lesotho means that there isn’t a lot going on. For it being our first full day in Roma, there was not a lot to do. After a slight change of plans, a group of students decided to hike up to the dinosaur footprints in town. With it being our first time really out of the compound, we were unsure of which way to go. However, that proved to not be a problem because we were immediately greeted by kids wanting to walk with us and asking us to be our friends. It’s something about the culture that continues to amaze us everyday how helpful and friendly the Basotho are. Groups of us made our way up and down at different times, but four of us, Kat, Taryn, Amy and Josh stayed to watch the sunset. It was one of the most beautiful sights any of us had seen and it was an experience that we thought more people should have stayed for. Aside from calling the sight beautiful, once in a lifetime, or any other descriptor, it is something you have to see for yourself to truly understand the beauty and majesty that was this experience. We truly were at a loss for words. While we were watching the sunset, a Mosotho man approached us and struck up a conversation. He was one of the more genuine people that we have met throughout the duration of our trip. He laughed with us and helped correct our Sesotho, and the limited communication that we had with him did not pose an issue. On the way down, the four of us struggled slightly in finding our way, but once again the Basotho prove to be as generous as ever in helping us find our way back, especially since it had gotten dark. Our motto for the trip back was “Lekhooa we are, Lost we are not.” It was a fun little way to make fun of our missteps. It was a wonderful first experience with Roma, and we are excited for the upcoming week.
-Kat Eifert, Taryn Smith, Amy Brennan