Yesterday we took to the woods with a few friends to hunt for our respective Christmas trees. Armed only with a hand saw we were hoping to hunt down three suitable trees. We entered the forest looking high and low, left and right, near and far. This was no ordinary hunting ground, missing were the ordered rows of Christmas trees planted in different years so to mature over the years to come. No, we were hunting in the wild, in the forest, where trees grow unchecked for year after year.
It soon became evident that to take home the perfect tree some creative cutting might need to be done. Most of the trees were wild, large trees so they needed to be chopped down then chopped again, or cut fairly high up the trunk. Finally one of the families with us spotted their tree, the one that was to fit perfectly in their living room. Not long after the other family closed in on their own and half the hunting party started hauling their quarry back to the waiting vehicles. It was only us with out a tree. Joined in our search by our friends we retraced our steps revisiting possible trees only to reject them as too short, too thin, too uneven, too brown, too fat, or too ugly. We know we have made a name for ourselves but we have had some beautiful trees over the years and we could not see what we wanted.
If you have visited our house at Christmas you would know that always have a tall tree. Our ceiling is at least ten foot high where we place our tree and more than once we have brought home a tree only to have to chop a little off the top. In the end we gave up our hunt. The wild tree was not for us, no we were going back to the pay station to buy one bred in captivity. These trees were baled already so we were taking a risk, but when it was set up in our lounge room we were satisfied that we had chosen well. It is a beautifully shaped tree, a little shorter than past years at about seven foot but lovely all the same.
What made the hunt all the more enjoyable of course was the company of our friends and the beautiful day. We had wondered whether we would be tramping through green woods on our hunt, but no, the trees were laden and there was 15-20 cm of fresh snow on the ground.
For the last few weeks we have been studying Africa in geography. Each student had to pick an African country, complete some research and mapping, then present their project to the group. B9 picked Botswana, but then noticed that Lesotho was completely surrounded by another country: South Africa. He thought this was a very cool thing and decided to learn about Lesotho instead.
We had been reading and collecting information for about a week when he happened to be discussing his school work with his friend across the road. His friend mentioned that the king of Lesotho was coming to his school the following week. When B9 told me this I was a little stunned, so did an online search to find out exactly what was going on. Sure enough King Letsie III was attending a special assembly at our friend’s school to celebrate the 5th anniversary of Help Lesotho and to thank those who have supported his country over the last 5 years.
I called the school to see if we could attend and was given instructions and sent a special parking permit. It was important that we arrive well before the King as no-one would be admitted to the hall after he entered. B9 was happy to see his friend who had the added privilege of meeting the king after the assembly to ask him a question. The assembly included quite a bit of audio visual material from Lesotho, which showed us what the land was like and the living conditions of some of the people.
There were several speakers, the school choir and some video presentation from children and women in Lesotho who have been helped through Help Lesotho. The king spoke last and his gratitude was very moving. Naturally his concern for the people of Lesotho is great, particularly because HIV Aids is a huge problem leaving many of the children of the country without parents. B9 and I enjoyed being at the assembly and B9 also enjoyed explaining to his audience during his presentation that, as part of the current events component, he had been to see and hear the King of Lesotho speak!
During our geography class we also enjoyed presentations about São Tomé and Príncipe, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar. Everyone had a slightly different approach in their presentation, some providing food, others music and others a glimpse into the lives of people they knew in the country they studied.