“I’m beginning to think the best things in the world come at the end of dirt roads.” Says Bill as we round the corner for our stay at the hot springs. Our first re-encounter with first world, consumeristic life. It was glorious to eat whatever I wanted, again, to cleanse myself with an endless flow of rain pouring from the bathroom ceiling as opposed taking a bucket bath with only a few cups of water we hiked half a mile with on our heads to retrieve.
Although the shower was luxurious, I was disappointed to be leaving such a small taste of a balanced lifestyle behind. Work took all day because it was interspersed with play and social life. The daily walk to the tap is filled with invested small talk and smiles, kind of like on a small college campus, but more genuine, more invested because there is no hurry, nothing more important to do. The water is pumped by a children spinning and giggling on a contraption similar to a merry-go-round. Their work directly affects them. They work to enhance not only their own livelihood, but their self-worth comes from working for each other, for love. I asked some children what were their favorite things to do, and the unanimous reply was “cooking, sweeping, going to fetch water.
I spent that week in Lesotho completely awe-struck. The lush, green hills clothed in quaint rondavels, animals and people sprinkled about, coexisting in gardens, under trees, the sound of women ululating in the distance. Sounds like a dream, reminds me of the gloriously simple life of a hobbit.
The breathtaking topography is freckled not only with flowers, but trash, everywhere. Littering is norm in Lesotho. A local told us that they have to litter or the government won’t send people to clean it up. I mentioned to Bill how strange it was. He pointed out that our own society was in a similar state a hundred years ago. Yeah, but there is no way there would be that much trash everywhere. The sustainable lifestyle of the Lesotho is not something they want. Being able to waste is a sign of affluence. The American dream; a consumeristic lifestyle, is sought after. During a stormy afternoon of some super sugary Rooibus with my host sisters between the singing, silly faces, and giggling, conversation kept returning back our class differences. I’m sitting in Lesotho, with some of the people who are doing way more living than anyone I know and they are wishing upon a car, dreaming to someday be my ‘kitchen girl’ back in flat, disconnected first-world, Kansas.
There is an ancient, lost, natural wisdom the people of Lesotho embody, but they don’t even know how lucky they are. I feel as if our clocks, our every man for himself mindset, our separated, industrially focused lives have tainted our minds. We have been robbed of our nature, and brainwashed by the need to succeed, in order to be good enough. The truth is, what it takes to be good enough, is not to be better, or more talented than others. All it takes is the ability to rest in our small, vital roles in the universe. It requires the sensitivity to listen to the Earth cry when we mistreat the very soil we will inevitably become. We must be mature and vulnerable enough to become part of the darkest, most uncomfortable parts of ourselves and of the fragile world we live in.
Be free, be good, and take care,