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.
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!
-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.
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.
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.