Some events here have a tendency to seem surreal...
One such event occurred Tuesday at about 7:30 p.m., when a large delivery truck showed up in the cold, rainy darkness with a surprise delivery of food provisions.
The truck was from the country's Disaster Management Authority, and had come unexpectedly to TTL to solicit our help in distributing "Famine Relief" provisions of milk, brown sugar, tomato sauce, rice, maize meal, flour, beans and cooking oil throughout the districts we work in.
The flatbed truck was massive, with a dark green tarp laying over it and tied down with a mesh of rope. As the man in charge of the delivery unlatched every last side panel of the flatbed, allowing them to fall to the side of the truck one by one, exposing the boxes of food packed under the tarp, I shivered in the rain -- less from the cold than the surreal sense of the meaning behind it all.
The job seemed a bit overwhelming at first, but the heaviness of the phrase "famine relief" far outweighed the bags of food, and the promise of being able to provide our clients with an extra boost of sustenance smothered any hesitation. We just got to work.
The next hour saw Kirsten and me, our security guard Motsi, a couple of the overnight safe home bo'me and the delivery guys unloading 435 bags or boxes of food and carrying them through the rain and the mud into TTL's main building, stacking them along hallways, in the staff room and in our accountant office.
The next morning, we surveyed again what we had received, and our outreach teams started planning deliveries and restocking the food in one of the open offices in our new building.
Already, we have started distributing the food, partly during an outreach trip yesterday to see former safe-home baby Mpolokeng and her family. Mpolokeng just graduated from the TTL program, and we drove out to her extremely remote village to take her and her family a nice supply of the provisions as a parting bit of support.
The trip, down and then back up the worst, rockiest, steepest road I've been on since my arrival here, showed me that TTL was the perfect organization for the government to turn to for help in the Mokhotlong and Thaba Tseka districts. Simply put, we go where this food needs to go, which is saying a lot.
In part, I suppose the entire experience was a bit surreal because I never thought I would participate first hand in an elaborate system of delivering famine relief. But, then again, so it goes...