Geschrieben von Irina Andre-Lang
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Neuigkeiten aus Lesotho


Das Bergkönigreich Lesotho war das erste afrikanische Land, das am 12. März 2020 alle Grenzen geschlossen hat, um die Geißel des Coronavirus zu verhindern. Niemand darf das Bergreich verlassen oder nach Lesotho kommen, da die Behörden drastische Maßnahmen ergreifen, um ihre Bürger vor dem tödlichen Coronavirus zu schützen.

 

Lesotho ist vollständig von Südafrika umgeben und die Volkswirtschaften der beiden Länder sind miteinander verflochten. Die Regierungen der beiden Länder befinden sich in enger Konsultation, um eine koordinierte Reaktion auf Covid-19 zu erhalten.

 

In Lesotho wurden bisher keine bestätigten Infektionsfälle gemeldet, aber das Land kann nicht selbst auf das Virus testen. Premierminister Thabane sagte, obwohl Lesotho keinen bestätigten Fall von Covid-19 hat, ist seine Regierung besorgt, dass sich die Krankheit in Südafrika, wo Infektionen 1400 Fälle überschritten haben, mit einer erschreckenden Geschwindigkeit ausbreitet.

 

Am 18. März erklärte die Regierung deshalb trotz fehlender bestätigter Fälle einen nationalen Notstand und schloss alle Schulen bis zum 17. April (erlaubte jedoch die Fortsetzung der Schulmahlzeiten). Seit dem 29. März 2020 besteht außerdem eine dreiwöchige Ausgangssperrung, die bis zum 21. April 2020 gültig sein wird. Die zwei Millionen Menschen des Landes sollen die nächsten drei Wochen in ihren Häusern bleiben.

 

Wie weltweit zu beobachten, deckten sich viele Basotho mit kritischen Vorräten wie Lebensmitteln und Medikamenten ein. In Supermärkten und Apotheken gab es lange und kurvenreiche Warteschlangen.

 

Nur diejenigen, die in wesentlichen Dienstleistungen wie Gesundheit, Sicherheit, Versorgungsunternehmen, Banken und Supermärkten tätig sind, dürfen arbeiten.

 

Alle Sicherheitsbehörden wurden angewiesen, die Maßnahmen zur Bekämpfung dieser Krankheit unverzüglich durchzusetzen, indem sie die Bewegung der Menschen kontrollieren.

 

Lesothos Grenzen zu SA sind geschlossen, aber diejenigen, die Waren liefern, werden an Handelsgrenzen zugelassen.

Basotho, die sich in Südafrika aufhalten, werde daran gehindert, nach Hause zu gehen.

Fast 15% von Basotho arbeiten in SA. Tausende andere fahren jeden Tag in Lesotho ein und aus. Andere benutzen illegale Kreuzungspunkte.

Die Coronavirus-Krise hat bereits den Textilsektor getroffen, der nach der Regierung in Lesotho der zweitgrößte Arbeitgeber ist.

Textilunternehmen teilten der Regierung mit, dass sie vor dem Bankrott stehen, nachdem Käufer Bestellungen und Stofflieferungen aus chinesischen Werken storniert hatten. Mehr als 40.000 Basotho, meist arme Frauen, arbeiten in Textilfabriken.

Gewerkschaften warnen vor einer großen Katastrophe, da Unternehmen schließen und an die Regierung appellieren, bei der Bezahlung der Arbeitnehmer zu helfen.

 

Laut einer unserer Betreuerinnen vor Ort, Mrs. Makabelo Tenane, hilft die Ausgangssperre zwar, die Ausbreitung des Virus einzudämmen, führt aber zu vielen Nachteilen und großer Not und Hunger bei der armen Bevölkerung Lesotho´s.

 


Visit of the 117 Yes we care! e.V. sponsored students and projects at Pitseng High School and Pontmain Primary School in February 2020

 

From 25th to 27th February 2020, my husband Peter and I visited Pitseng again. We were accompanied by the Lux family (father Heinz, daughter Stella, 16 years, and son Finn, 13 years), who had travelled specifically from Regensburg to Lesotho to visit the 10 sponsored students whom they are supporting since many years. It was their second attempt after their first planned visit in 2019 failed due to the teachers' strike and the subsequent cancellation of the opening ceremony of the second boy's boarding facility.

 

 

 

On the way from the border to Pitseng, which we could easily pass without the large charity transport, it was immediately obvious that the national teachers' strike had ended: students were on their way to school everywhere.

 

We were warmly welcomed at the entrance to Pitseng High School!

Heinz, Stella and Finn Lux at the entrance to the school grounds of Pitseng High

 

And then it went straight to the point: In 2020, our carers Makabelo and Mpho had bought almost all relief goods directly in Lesotho. We only brought medication from South Africa. The school clothes, which had already been unpacked, sorted and labelled well by Makabelo and Mpho, had to be distributed to 117 sponsored children. We are very grateful to Makabelo and Mpho, who made this process so much easier with their great preparation!

 

The entire library is filled with clothes, gifts, sweets and fruits for the sponsored children. Mpho makes sure that every sponsored child has chosen the right, pre-ordered items of clothing before leaving the library.

 

Each sponsored student also received two beautiful bracelets handmade with love by a disabled young woman, an envelope with photos and a letter and / or gift from their sponsor (if available). All letters and gifts sent by sponsors to Yes we care! e.V. were given to the respective sponsored student and triggered great joy! Unfortunately, the sponsored students could not immediately respond to the mail received from the sponsors - they had already written their letters before we had arrived. We ask for your understanding that they will only be able to thank you later.

 

 

 

Apples and sweets were also distributed to everyone with the help of Stella and Finn. The Lux family had prepared a nice gift for each of their 10 sponsored students, which filled an entire suitcase. They also transported letters and a large package of hand knitted items for other sponsors from Germany to Lesotho.

 

 

The sponsored students then stood in line to have their photo taken for their sponsors. As always, the exercise photo was taken by the headmistress Makabelo Tenane, who is also the mentor of the sponsorship program together with Mpho Makhalanyane.

 

 

 

At the moment, 12 of our godchildren are wearing glasses, new ones will be added this year. Unfortunately, we no longer have the support from the optician in South Africa, which means a great financial burden. But we can look forward to the generous help of donors for this project, for which we are very grateful!

 

The sponsored students in Form E                                            and Form C

 

As almost all of the sponsored students had failed their Matric exam last year, and many of them are repeating the last school year and their matric in 2020, the number of sponsored students in the twelfth grade in 2020 is particularly high. It is exactly the opposite in the tenth grade 2020: the number of sponsored students who made it from the ninth grade to the tenth grade in 2020, at the end of which the important JC exam (something like a middle school exam) is due, is significantly reduced due to the various problems in 2019. In contrast, absolutely amazing and to our great joy the sponsored students who wrote their JC exam at the end of 2019 did much better (we had already reported this).

 

A total of 20 of our sponsored students have to repeat the last school year. Not all sponsors finance this repeat year for their sponsored child, but thanks to the generosity of other sponsors and donations, it is ensured that all sponsored children who are currently in our program can continue to attend Pitseng High School until they graduate from high school. Again, we are very, very grateful to everyone who helps!

 

Berge von Waschpulver                                     Zahnbürsten und Zahnpasta                             und Toilettenpapier

 

All other charity goods, such as toiletries and stationery, are stored in a reserved and secure room at the school and are handed out to the sponsored students at regular intervals throughout the year.

 

From now on, Makabelo and Mpho will organize all the necessary charity supplies every year, which will make things a lot easier for Peter and me.

 

On the way to lunch we met a former sponsored student from Yes we care! e.V .: Nkopane Chephe has been studying pedagogy for two years and came to the school to tell us about his career and to thank us for help from Yes we care! e.V. We are so happy with him about his success!! It is a wonderful motivation for our further activities!

 

                        With Nkopane Chephe                                                                      

 

In total we met three former sponsored students, all of whom are very successful on their way: Thabiso Phusumane is studying computer science at the National University in Maseru in his fourth year and visits us regularly when we are in Pitseng. Tlotliso Maboee is studying computer science in the second semester at Limkokwing University in Maseru. Tlotliso also comes often to meet us and sells his self-made beautiful bracelets to Yes we care! e.V. to improve his lean financial situation (he lives on a government grant). These bracelets can be purchased during my upcoming lecture tour this year.

 

 

Tlotliso with Familie Lux and his beautiful Lesotho-Bracelts in the front

 

At lunchtime, Heinz Lux was able to try the lunch, which is distributed to all students. To do this, he obediently stood in the long line of hungry students and waited for his turn.

 

 

His children also tried the lunch and didn't think it was too bad! There was samp (mashed corn) with bean soup.

 

 

 

On the subsequent tour of the school grounds, he and Finn also tried the fat-baked sweets that wealthier students can buy at lunch from the Order of the Sisters of Charity bakery. These were also found to be delicious.

 

 

 

 

The nutritional situation in Lesotho and at Pitseng High School remains problematic: One speaks of a "green drought". Although it is raining and everything looks pretty green, the yield in the fields on which the majority of the population of Lesotho depends is far below average, and animals have to be slaughtered because they cannot be adequately fed.

 

 

 

Vegetables from garden at the girls boarding facility                   The last surviving Yes we care! e.V. - pig

 

First, we visited the girls' boarding facility and got to know the new boarding headmitress: Sr. Germina.

 

 

Sr. Germina is a teacher by profession and makes a very good impression on us. Beginning of 2020, she has taken over the management of the girls' boarding facility and immediately made some impressive, positive changes: instead of raising unnecessary new fees or increasing boarding fees like her predecessor, she uses the money paid in for each girl to organize professional tutoring. Especially in the subjects that are of great importance in the Matric and JC exam, extra classes are offered at the girls' boarding in the evenings and on weekends, and not only for the girls, but also for the sponsored boys from the boys boarding facility! We are excited!! She leads us into the room that the Sisters of Charity would like to convert into three smaller classrooms and furnish well to improve the study situation at the girls' boarding facility. A couple of YWC sponsors offered to donate a large sum for this purpose, and we are infinitely grateful for it. Supervision of the girls during their study periods is also planned. Our only concern is that it is not certain that Sr. Germina will stay in Pitseng: a headmistress is needed at another school and she is one of those earmarked for this post. She herself would like to stay and will try to achieve this, which will be of crucial importance for the realization of this project.

 

The second Bishop-Manfred-Mueller Boys Boarding Facility

 

 

 The waterless and completely odorless toilet facility as well as the new lawnmower, which the boys use to mow the lawn between the two boarding houses.

 

We also visited the two Bishop Manfred Müller Boys' Boarding Facilities: They are currently fully occupied with 99 boys, 44 of them sponsored boys. The other 55 are needy boys who would otherwise have to live in the school accommodations which are still being used. Instead, they are now housed free of charge and are well looked after by our supervisor, Mr. Thabiso Paku.

 

The school accommodation for boys, which is unfortunately still in use, left a deep impression on Heinz Lux.

 

The former computer building, whose roof had to be completely renewed after a heavy storm in November 2019.

 

A special item that all students will have to pay for in 2020, including YWC, is the cost of repairing the roof of the former computer building, which is now used as a library and staff room. The computer room has since been moved to another building.

 

The following day, 26th February 2020, we drove with our German guests through the rural areas of Lesotho to Katse Dam, a region from which many of our sponsored students originate

 


 

One always feels set back a few decades when driving through the rural areas of Lesotho.

 

 

Fully packed donkeys with mug wort, which serves as fuel and women fetching water.

 

 Two worlds meeting: horses and car as a means of transport.

 

An improvement in the filling level can be seen at the Katse reservoir: after reaching a low of 16.9% in November 2019, the water level is now around 32%.


 

 

On the day before, 25th February 2020, he had been charged with the murder of his first wife, Lipoleleo. The case has been brought before the Constitutional Court to rule whether a prime minister can be prosecuted while in office. His current wife, Maesaiah, is also charged with the murder of Lipolelo. However the case will develop, it is already causing political instability.

 

 

We see many colorful Chinese parasols on the way back to Pitseng. Since Chinese play an important role in the economy in Lesotho, the fear of a coronavirus epidemic is of course particularly high and, in my view, justified. Lesotho is a country with a very high rate of malnutrition and has the highest tuberculosis infection rate in the world as well as the second highest rate of HIV infections and therefore a very large number of people who are particularly at risk because of their impaired immune systems. Coronavirus cases in Lesotho have been suspected since early March 2020 and have not yet been confirmed. Chaos broke out and workers have given up work because they did not want to work with Chinese workers who had returned from China after a home leave.

 

The people of Lesotho often only have access to one of the mobile clinics that serve the villages from time to time.

Since Lesotho has a barely existing health system that is already completely overwhelmed with the previously known diseases, a coronavirus epidemic will have terrible consequences for the population. Some of our sponsored students are HIV positive and / or have tuberculosis, they are also particularly at risk, which is of great concern to us!

 

 

During an evening stroll through Pitseng, we happened to pass a big festival: the return of young men from the mountains after weeks of attending a circumcision school, where they were turned into men, was celebrated with a lot of alcohol and loud singing. This ritual plays a central role in the Basotho culture. Unfortunately, we lose some boys from our sponsorship program every year because they go to such a circumcision school before they finish school and are afterwards not allowed to go back to school. The reason is as follows: As recognized men, they don't let women tell them anything, this also applies to teachers. And they have sex with young girls, which is also undesirable at school!

 

On the last day of our visit, 27th February 2020, we experienced several highlights:

 

 

At the morning assembly, in which all 712 students are present, we were surprised with wonderful songs by one of the school choirs! Nkopane Chephe, who had previously directed the school choir during his school days, had rehearsed these songs for our visit and conducted the choir.

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, we visited the elementary school students at the Pontmain Primary School. We surprised them with boxes full of sweets, which sparked great joy:

 

 

 

As a thank you we were rewarded with a “Gumboot Dance” that can be compared to a „Bavarian Schuhplattler“:

 

 

Then 40 beautiful and hand-knitted sweaters were handed out to the particularly needy little ones, together with one apple each:

 

 

We noticed a little girl who could not be motivated by anything to smile. She wore torn clothes and kept away from the other children. Her miserable condition touched us all very much and we hope that we can learn more about what is wrong and how she can be helped.

 

Peter and I had several conferences with the school management regarding the ongoing YWC projects and the sponsorship program. During our meetings, many important aspects were discussed. A very worrying piece of news is the fact that the Lesotho government is planning to change the school system. Instead of writing matric after 12 school years, in future it will be written after 11 school years. The JC exam at the end of tenth grade is to be abolished. Since it is clear from the outset that these future high school graduates will not really have a university entrance qualification, certain schools will be selected at which a preparatory year for studying at a university will be offered. This will mean the end of many sponsorship programs, as it will be almost impossible to organize such programs at several different schools.

 

 

Conference with Sr. Germina, Mpho and Makabelo, and the carer at the boys boarding facility, Thabiso Paku

 

It is also a major problem for the YWC sponsorship program: 33 sponsored children who are currently in the ninth grade of Pitseng High School will be affected by this change. After they will have completed their Matric at the end of the eleventh class, they will have to complete the preparatory year at another school in order to apply for a scholarship at a university. If we're lucky, Pitseng High School will be one of the schools chosen for this extra year. Then we will be able to support these sponsored students successfully until university. If not, it will be very difficult. We will have to wait for developments and can only hope!

 

The Lux family used the opportunity to get to know their 10 sponsored students a little better:

 

Stella and Finn playing table football with the five sponsored girls and five sponsored boys, who are supported by their family

 

All 10 happy sponsored students with their smiley cuddly pillows, a gift from the Lux family!


We thank all the sponsors and donors who support our charity organisation Yes we care! e.V. from the bottom of our hearts! You support hundreds of children in need in Lesotho - through difficult times and many obstacles! The work never gets boring and, despite all the hurdles, shows very good results. Many life stories could and can be directed in a positive direction with our help, we can shed some light on hopeless situations and for individual children we mean the world. Thank you very much!!!