Wednesday, July 24, 2013

2020 Vision

Just another photo of the unending beauty
First, my apologies for not writing a post for nearly a month! It’s been very busy so I’ll do a quick recap. I spent most of the month finishing up work on the website for St. James, and I’m pleased to say that it is now complete! The official launch will be next week, but you can get an early look at it here. I also spent a lot of time getting the program booklet worked up for the St. James’ 50th Anniversary, coming up in October. That program will be going to the printers soon. Then last week, I spent the whole week in Maseru working a bit with the diocesan offices. There were also two national holidays last week (including the King’s 50th birthday), so I’m not too sure how much “work” I actually got done!

But the real reason for this post is this week’s visit from HOPE Africa and my fellow YASCer Holly Milburn! Holly is the YASC volunteer in the HOPE Africa office in Cape Town, and she’s been jockeying to come visit Lesotho pretty much since the start of our YASC years. She’s made it just under the wire because I’m leaving the hospital in 2 weeks! Holly joined the HOPE Africa facilitation team of Father Chris Ahrends and Patrina Pakoe.

Holly and I

St. James' vision team
This visit from HOPE Africa was a continuation of the vision process that we’ve been working on since last October. It’s been really great to see how the whole process of coming up with a new vision statement actually works. In previous visits we (HOPE Africa staff & St. James Staff) developed a vision for the next 7 years (2020 vision) of the hospitals life, and this visit was about turning that vision into a strategic plan that will let the hospital fulfill its vision. It’s quite a time consuming process, but I have to give credit to the dedication of the facilitation team from HOPE Africa and the hard work that the admin staff here at St. James have put into creating this document. During my year, we’ve gone from not having a clear vision for the hospital to having a well-written, thoughtful vision and a “road map” on how to make that vision a reality. It’s great to see this all come to fruition.

And on top of all that, it’s just been so great to have a friend come and see the hospital! There’s unfortunately not going to be another YASCer coming to take over for me when I leave next month, so it’s really nice knowing that at least one other person that I know has been to the hospital and seen where I’ve lived for the past 8 months. It’s comforting to have someone come here and experience all the ways that this place is amazing and have them fall in love with it as well. That may seem silly to some of you, but it’s just nice to have that bond of a shared experience.

There's no water!
Yesterday afternoon, the HOPE Africa team and I took a drive to one of the nearby health centres, Auray, so that Holly could get a better feel for the Mantsonyane area. We traveled a bit further to one of the dams that crosses the Mantsonyane River. Lesotho is in a severe drought currently, as you can see from this photo. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this river is no more than a small stream. Winters are normally dry here, but never this dry. We’ve not seen any rain since early April. And it’s not snowed once, which is highly uncommon this time of year! We are all praying that the rains come soon.

Auray health center

A bridge over troubled rock

Chris and Holly 

A real Mosotho
We also journeyed into Ha Chooko, the town closest to the hospital, so that the team could get a feel for what living up here is like. Ha Chooko is full of little shops that sell pretty much anything you could need. Holly got herself a nice Basotho blanket, which was the final step in her conversion into a Mosotho! These blankets are worn my pretty much everyone here in Lesotho. It is simply a must have. It’s incredible the number of ways that these blankets are used. Everyday wear, ceremonial dress, baby carrying, warmth during the cold Lesotho winter, sun block in the hot summer, a handy bed for anywhere, and so many more. They are the definition of “multipurpose.” The company that makes them has the best tag line, “Arranda. The fashion name in Blankets.”

My time in Lesotho is coming to an end! I only have 2 weeks left here at St. James, and only a weekend left in Maseru. Then I’ll head to Cape Town one last time to meet with all of the HOPE Africa staff before heading home to the USA! It’s been one of the quickest years I think I’ve ever had. Then again, maybe not! Until next time, sala hantle!

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