Nazareth

by Benny Law March. 07, 2020 550 views

Almost twelve years ago, I had an opportunity to travel to Africa for work. Over the span of two weeks, I visited Kenya and Lesotho, two very different countries with very different climate and culture.

Lesotho is a small kingdom completely surrounded by South Africa. It was June, and while it was hot in Kenya, it was winter time and much colder in Lesotho. (It was hard to pack for that trip as you can imagine.) On the last full day of my trip, I was taken on a field visit to a remote village on a mountain called Nazareth in Lesotho. (Yes, Jesus also grew up in a village with the same name.)

On a recent post titled Horse & Rabbits, I shared some animal photos that I took at that village. On this post, I will share a few more pictures of the scenes I captured while I was there. They are kind of special to me, not so much because of their photographic quality but the memories that they bring.

Here, we see a fence built with stripped down metal frames from discarded mattresses. People are very resourceful here in their reuse and recycling practice. From the background, you can get a sense of the elevation of this place.

Here, we see a fence built with stripped down metal frames from discarded mattresses. People are very resourceful here in their reuse and recycling practice. From the background, you can get a sense of the elevation of this place.

From the photo above and the one below, you can see two types of houses: rectangular ones with tin roofs, and round ones with thatched roofs. Which one would you choose? It turns out that thatched roofs provide much better insulation, so they keep the house cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. The hut with the thatched roof in the photo above even has something that looks like a solar panel on the roof! It was one of the things that I saw at the village that really surprised me.

Another scene at the village that shows the two types of houses side by side and some donkeys.

Another scene at the village that shows the two types of houses side by side and some donkeys.

They say the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. In this case, it's a barbed wire fence, and the two donkeys on one side are feeding on maize stover (dry leaves and stalks that are residues from a maize crop harvest), while the lone donkey on the other side is feasting on lush green plants. Not sure why the differential treatment, but life isn't always fair in our eyes.

The morning march. A man driving his cattle along the main dirt road in the village under the mid-morning sun. A bell was hung on the neck of each animal, and together they were making quite a loud noise.

The morning march. A man driving his cattle along the main dirt road in the village under the mid-morning sun. A bell was hung on the neck of each animal, and together they were making quite a loud noise.

The purpose of my field visit was to see for myself the transformation that had taken place in this community. The pond in the picture below was dug by people from the village for the purpose of improving irrigation for their farms and gardens during the dry seasons. It was the result of a so-called food-for-work humanitarian project where they received food aid in exchange for work they did to improve livelihoods in their own community. It's a dignified way for them to receive aid.

This woman was a representative from the village. She was showing us this pond that the villagers created to store water for irrigation which apparently was a success.

This woman was a representative from the village. She was showing us this pond that the villagers created to store water for irrigation which apparently was a success.

On that visit, I also met some young children who were not in school. One of them was blind in one eye. Later I was told that he lost his eye after he was scratched on the face by a big rooster. The wound led to an infection in his eye which eventually resulted in blindness due to the lack of adequate medical attention. Stories like that just highlight the harsh reality these people face in their environment where many things that we take for granted are simply beyond their reach.

A wagon used to transport harvested maize crop. I find its colour and texture very attractive and photogenic, and it was parked at a perfect spot with a great view in the background.

A wagon used to transport harvested maize crop. I find its colour and texture very attractive and photogenic, and it was parked at a perfect spot with a great view in the background.

And that's all for this post. Thanks for reading!

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Bethany Plonski 1 year, 1 month ago

These are lovely! I especially like #4 and 5, but each photo is great to pore over for all the details! They reveal so much.
Years ago I worked at a school that partnered with the Touching Tiny Lives program in Lesotho after one of our teachers visited for a year to work with them. It's a beautiful country, but a lot of hard realities about living there too. Thank you for sharing these!

1 year, 1 month ago Edited
Benny Law Replied to Bethany Plonski 1 year, 1 month ago

So you must know Lesotho a lot more than the average person then! It is indeed a beautiful country and full of surprises. One of the unforgettable sights was people on horses galloping down the highway next to the cars. They had colourful cloaks or blankets wrapped around them. The horses were so fast! It happened so quickly I didn't have time to capture them on my camera. Just thought I'd mention this since you love horses too.

1 year, 1 month ago Edited
Bethany Plonski Replied to Benny Law 1 year, 1 month ago

Oh wow, I can imagine how exciting that must have been! There is something about horses thundering past that is just indescribable (maybe a little frightening too). I would have loved to see the colorful cloaks too. I can see why that stuck in your memory. smile Thank you for sharing it.

1 year, 1 month ago Edited
Alexis Plunder 1 year, 1 month ago

nice collection. Thanks for sharing

1 year, 1 month ago Edited
Benny Law Replied to Alexis Plunder 1 year, 1 month ago

Thanks, Alexis. It's my pleasure to be able to share.

1 year, 1 month ago Edited
Gone Fishing Without A Pole 1 year, 1 month ago

Great work with the lens Benny. #1 is my pick of the day! Gorgeous. Enjoyed your narrative.

1 year, 1 month ago Edited
Benny Law Replied to Gone Fishing Without A Pole 1 year, 1 month ago

Thanks, Buster. #1 is also my favourite from this set. I'm still amazed how well that point-and-shoot did 12 years ago.

1 year, 1 month ago Edited
Diane Butts 1 year, 1 month ago

great shots! I've spent much of my career focused on sub-Saharan Africa and I love the continent so much.

1 year, 1 month ago Edited
Benny Law Replied to Diane Butts 1 year, 1 month ago

Thanks, Diane. Perhaps you could share some of your stories and experiences too.

1 year, 1 month ago Edited
Diane Butts Replied to Benny Law 1 year, 1 month ago

That's a great idea Benny. I didn't shoot much with my DSLR back then - was focused on video mainly. But I'll have to dig some up. I do share on IG every now and then.

1 year, 1 month ago Edited
Sri V 1 year, 1 month ago

A very touching narrative to accompany the images. Enjoyed both very much.

1 year, 1 month ago Edited
Benny Law Replied to Sri V 1 year, 1 month ago

I'm so glad you enjoyed it, my friend. Thanks for your support.

1 year, 1 month ago Edited
Camellia Staab 1 year, 1 month ago

I did a double take on #1 could not understand why the fence had curly cues until I saw your comment. Resourceful indeed. Love your commentaries, gives so much depth to the pictures and a real eye opener. So many people are not aware of the hardship that goes on around the world, especially many American whose vision of the world stops within 4 feet of themselves. Thoroughly enjoyed these series Benny and hope you post some more. I also love your photo #5, the texture and the color on this wagon is gorgeous. Thank you for sharing smile

1 year, 1 month ago Edited
Benny Law Replied to Camellia Staab 1 year, 1 month ago

I am happy to be able to share my experiences here, Camellia. It's very encouraging to receive feedback such as yours. I really appreciate your comments and support. 🙏

1 year, 1 month ago Edited
Nancy Andrea D 1 year, 1 month ago

Thank you Benny for writing the background of the photos. Very enriching knowledge.

1 year, 1 month ago Edited
Benny Law Replied to Nancy Andrea D 1 year, 1 month ago

I'm glad you find it useful. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Nancy.

1 year, 1 month ago Edited
Antonio Gil 1 year, 1 month ago

That must have been an amazing experience of life my friend.

1 year, 1 month ago Edited
Benny Law Replied to Antonio Gil 1 year, 1 month ago

Yes, it was indeed. Thank you so much, Antonio.

1 year, 1 month ago Edited
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