Monday, July 30, 2012

Go Lesotho!

With the Olympics in full swing, I wanted to take a minute to recognize the athletes of Lesotho who will be participating in these Olympics Games.

True, the Olympics really aren't related to the work we do at TTL, but I love any excuse to celebrate this small nation I've come to love.

And you never know...maybe one day in the future one of our babies will be competing in the Olympics!

The story of Lesotho's Olympic athletes provides a unique illustration of the struggles and strengths of the Basotho people.

Lesotho has a small...only five athletes...but proud Olympic team.

The video below highlights Olympic marathoner, Tsepo Ramonene.

Like many other Olympic commercials, this clip strikes that magical, motivating note.

But the story that accompanies it - the trials of this young man who runs no matter the day - transforms this video into something so much more powerful.

Tsepo runs to support his family...his parents and siblings.  

He drinks tea and eats bread during training and before races...all that he can afford.

And when asked about what he would do with more money, he states that he only wishes to attend high school...his family could not afford to send him when he was younger.

Tsepo's story is an interesting contrast with Michael Phelp's 10,000 calorie/day diet and training regiment, to say the least.

Despite these challenges, Tsepo is an Olympic athlete.

He will run at the Olympics...he will tell the world about this mountain kingdom...and he will inspire all the children who live here to keep running.


More about the Lesotho Olympic team at The Guardian.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Week in Florida?!

In the weeks since we began our "No Mountain Too High" campaign, we've received a tremendous outpouring of support. Each day when I walk into the safe-home and am greeted by smiling, laughing babies, my heart feels a little fuller and I know this would not be possible without so many around the world who are as dedicated to TTLF's mission as we are.

As an added incentive to support TTLF, donating now enters you into a raffle to win a week in sunny Florida!  A family of long-time supporters has generously donated a week's stay in their beautiful beach home on Anna Maria Island.
Who wouldn't want a week of relaxing on such a beautiful beach?! Anna Maria Island is encircled  by miles of white, prisitne beaches. It's conveniently located just one hour from the Tampa airport, two hours from the Orlando airport, and just a half an hour from the Sarasota airport. The home sleeps up to eight people, has a full kitchen, three full bathroom, and a heated pool. It's also located within steps of the beach and fun beach-side restaurants.

Each $50 donation will result in one chance to win a week’s stay at this relaxing destination. The more you donate, the more entries you receive! The exact week can be coordinated with the owner to fit your schedule. Donate online or by check and you’ll automatically be entered! Those who have already generous donated to the campaign will be entered retroactively. The winner will be drawn on August 15th! 

Want a bonus entry into the raffle? Share our "No Mountain Too High" video on Facebook and you'll receive one entry into the beach house raffle! Make sure to link back to Touching Tiny Lives Foundation on Facebook so we know about your post.

If you have any questions about the raffle or the "No Mountain Too High" campaign, send us an email at

Friday, July 20, 2012

a familiar face

TTL was lucky enough to receive a visit from one of our graduated clients today. Retsepile will be turning two this August and she is looking great!

July 2012

Retsepile spent Janaury 2011 to September 2011 in TTL's safe-home recovering from malnutrition. 

She was referred to TTL through our Village Health Worker network because her mother was critically ill and Retsepile was malnourished and exposed to HIV. 

January 2011 - arrival at Safehome

During Retsepile's time in the safe-home her mother unfortunately passed away from HIV related causes. Luckily, when Retsepile was tested for HIV she was identified as negative. 

7 month old Retsepile with one of the Sefe-Home bo'me

Following her recovery at the safe-home, Retsepile was returned to the care of her grandmother who brought her to Maseru. They have recently moved back to Mokhotlong district and we are thrilled to see how well she's been doing over the past ten months.

June 2011, a few months before she left the safe-home to return to her grandmother's care

In case you haven't seen it yet, make sure to check out our No Mountain Too High Campaign and help us to continue to support the recovery of more children like Retsepile

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Lesotho and the potential for change

“It’s a symbol of an Africa that’s rising” – Nicholas D. Kristof

I came across this quote as I was sifting through the recent headlines about Lesotho on Google news. Lesotho still has so many challenges but it’s great when positive change in Africa is recognised – particularly in the international media.

This is a theme that often comes up when I talk to people about Lesotho. While I am not quite as confident as Kristof that Lesotho’s garment industry will propel its economy forward (in fact there has been considerable coverage recently of the damages this industry is suffering due to the current global recession, not to mention that factory workers were on strike when I first arrived in August 2011 because factory wages do not meet the cost of living), there is also something about Lesotho you just can’t ignore. Amidst its isolation, lack of infrastructure, and chronic poverty, there is so much potential.

Lesotho is stunningly beautiful country, and has the advantage of being surrounded by South Africa – a place where international tourists flock to every year and where there is a burgeoning middle class and more and more tourist dollars to be spent. Mountain treks, stunning waterfalls, Africa’s only ski resort, a chance to experience ‘real rural Africa’. Plus it’s safe, people are friendly, and English is the second language. It’s possible to come up with at least a dozen reasons why there hasn’t been a tourist boom but you also can’t ignore all the reasons why there could be as well.

Lesotho has natural resources. It’s where you can find some of the most expensive diamonds in the world and there is an abundance of water, something that will only become more valuable as the world continues to grow. Both these resources are located in the mountains of Lesotho, and yet the financial benefits don’t seem to trickle down to the local communities.

Unlike so many African countries, Lesotho does not have a myriad of tropical diseases, contaminated water sources, or population overcrowding. But 1 in 4 adults are infected with HIV. Combined with increasing rates of TB, a lack of skilled health workers, and accessible health services, this has managed to cripple the country.

Lesotho’s relatively democratic, conflict-free, and surrounded by a country that shares many of these features and is developing rapidly. If it could only get a harness on the devastation of HIV - something that science seems to be getting closer to every day and yet sadly there are not enough funds on the ground to implement these life-saving initiatives. If it could only get an economic boost – be it from tourism, natural resources, or trade- things could quickly begin to change.

When I think about Lesotho the challenges are always there but so is everything it has to offer. Its potential for change is both motivating and frustrating but its definitely real and cannot be ignored.

To read Nicholas Kristof's article about Lesotho and change in Africa, click here: