Can I Hibernate Yet?

​   Here in the real down south, it’s winter. And in Lesotho we have a winter, with snow and everything. Lesotho is a mountainous country, its lowest point is 1,400 meters (4,593 ft) and its highest point is 3,482 meters (11,424). My site is sitting 1560 meters (5,118ft) above sea level so I am considered in the lowlands. And when it snows in the mountains I can see if off it the distance, but since I’ve been here I have remained untouched by snow. 

A picture of a beautiful snowy pass, taken through a dirty taxi window on the way to Mokhotlong.

    This winter has been a lot more bearable than last year’s winter (knock on ALL the wood). There have been a lot less cloudy days and when the suns out I can deal. The days sometimes climb up to 70 degrees. The nights can drop pretty low but I don’t tend to notice while snuggled up nice and warm in bed. When things do get chilly I have some ways of staying warm:
    Never used it. Our host families/ organizations are supposed to provide every volunteer with a heater. So I do own a nice, working gas heater but I’ve never bothered to use it. I only have one gas canister and so to use my heater I would need to always switch the canister or buy a new one. And why buy more gas when I could buy fun things like data or coffee?
    This winter I have been cooking a lot more than usual. It gets me up and moving, which keeps me warm and the stove heats things up a wee bit in my house. To bake I use a giant “bo-‘m’e” pot which works like a heater but when you turn it off you get cookies!

Baking steamed bread in a bo-‘m’e pot.

-Coffee, Tea, Coffeecoffeecofee
    Hot drinks keep you warm and keep you classy.
    Can be tricky in winter. When you’re cold the last thing you want to do is shed your layers and stand in a plastic bucket dumping water over yourself and watch the steam rise off. A lot of volunteers turn the heater on for bathing. So far I’ve just try to aim for the warmest part of the day, use super hot water, and do it in hyper speed. Winter conferences also help by providing a hotel to shower in. 
-Mi Casa
    My house is a stone hut with a thatched roof. And in the winter I would argue it keeps a fairly consistent temperature. Meaning while it is cooler than the outside during the day it is also warmer than the outside at night when the temperature drops. 

Hotel Casa Catie
-The Sun     

    The beautiful, beautiful sun! Lesotho has around 300 days of sunshine a year. During the summer it can get old real fast, but in the winter it is a godsend! I swear I am more burnt in the winter than during the summer because I am constantly seeking out the sun. 

    When all else fails- I get into bed. Last year I felt like I never left my bed. This year the magical sun has made it less necessary. But still once the sun sets (around 5:30) if I have nothing going on, I’m usually in bed before 6:30, reading or watching a movie until I tire out. That’s right, a partier till the end. 

Heaven is a place in bed.


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  1. Jean Wheat-Palm July 20, 2016 — 4:02 pm

    Oh Catie love your stories you share!
    So much we have learned from you!
    Stay warm! ❤️

  2. Hi Catie! Just finished looking at your last post, and I am so wishing that you could have some of the heat and sunshine we have which is high (112 degrees) and plenty of it – about 25 successive days so far. But, I must confess that I do not suffer, since I mostly stay inside with the air conditioner which keeps me very comfortable. Carol gets me out occasionally, but even then, we are uncomfortable. We did have a nice break the end of June when Carol and Greg made a trip with me to Texas to see Diane and family and see their “new” home which is different in appearance than your little hut!!! However, I appreciate the pictures and learning about your life there. Your parents are having very hot weather, too – not to forget the terrible forest and grass fires they are having in another area. It was nice to have your Mom here for a few days, a week or so before we went to Texas – we had a really nice time when she was here and we were lucky to have good weather in Texas. And now, I would guess it’s about time for you to hibernate!! Lots of love, Grandma

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