Thursday, December 29, 2011

Permaculture in Lesotho

The dry season in Lesotho.

About 5 years ago, as I was traveling across southern Africa, I spent a day in Lesotho (pronounced Leh-SUE-too).  Lesotho is a country that is entirely within the country of South Africa.  It is the country with the highest low point in the world, and it is a country of the mountains.  Due to its elevation, the summers rarely rise above 90 F (32 C) even in the lowlands, and the winters can drop to 19 F (-7 C) in the lowlands and drop much colder in the mountains.

That's me, sampling the local Lesotho beer out of a cut down plastic jug.

We spent the day touring the countryside in a beat up van.  I got to sample the locally brewed beer made of palm sugar.  It was not great, but it wasn't too bad either.  I could have gotten used to it.

A Lesotho medicine woman / "witch doctor"

We even had the chance to sit down and talk with a local "witch doctor".  As a physician, this was a very unique experience.  I was able to confirm what I already felt, that much of medicine is about relationships with your patients and just helping the body to heal itself.

Very young children were responsible for herding the family cattle.

View from a Lesotho mountain top.

After a leisurely climb up a well worn path to the top of a mountain, we were awarded with this view overlooking the valley below.  I was struck with how desolate and isolated this place felt.  It seemed a very unforgiving land.  Obviously, there are much harsher places on earth (deserts come readily to mind), but the climate here is exactly what I would call a temperate climate... the climate this blog is all about, yet the land seemed so empty.

Over the last few years, I have thought about Lesotho on occasion and wondered what types of Permaculture Projects could be accomplished in this location.  I was very pleasantly surprised to come across the following video of a Peace Corp volunteer, Greg Felson, speaking about Permaculture in Lesotho.

Here is the video:
Permaculture in Lesotho

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