Kingdom in the Sky🇱🇸.

Lesotho has earned the name Kingdom in the Sky for it’s majestic mountains.The flat landscape of the Free State is seen as almost fading away as you are traveling towards the Maseru border post. It has always been a dream of mine to travel to this country and doing it with my family was amazing.

On the 7th of July 2019, we visited the picturesque Capital city of Lesotho, Maseru. My husband booked us into a lovely guesthouse in Maseru. Most people do not consider this city as a destination for a holiday but we found it fitting for our getaway. We could easily travel to other places and it was as scenic and adventurous as when you’d visit other places like Semokong, Sani’s Pass etc. We went through the border control authorities with no hassle although the procedure was not clear. The first item we purchased when we crossed the border was two local sim cards from Vodacom. These are quite easy to find as you find many locals selling these essentials right outside the border.

We took this trip seeking a bit of adventure and also to learn more about our people (Basotho). Our first stop was a visit to Mokorotlong found in the city center. The architecture of the building is breathtaking as it resembles the conical shape Basotho hat. I loved the souvenir shop found inside the building. My husband got me a woven picnic basket.Thereafter, we visited a small village called Qiloane. The village is a about 30 Km away and the main road leading to the area is perfectly tarred. The GPS couldn’t navigate properly so we got lost a bit when we got to the village and we ended up on a dirt road that had no clear direction. We turned around and went back to the main road which led us to the Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village. It was so fulfilling to be in the place where the history of the Basotho people started. The friendly staff took us around the village, giving us a brief history on all the wars chief Moshoeshoe fought in the area. It is a great place for one to go with family or friends.

The Mokorotlo is Lesotho’s traditional conical hat with a top knot woven from grass, resembling the shape of Qiloane hill. There’s a lot of arts and crafts in this place that signifies the culture of the Basotho community.

The following day, we took a short drive to an area called Ha Theko. As always, we got lost a bit but the people in the area were friendly enough to give us the right directions. We went to a little village that has a horse riding place (Likatola horse-riding and Adventure ) and got to ride the horses. This was an excellent way to explore the scenic area however I did not go very far as this was my first horse riding experience.

Ha Theko:One of the beautiful villages we visited.

Tips for traveling to Lesotho:

  1. Don’t let the lack of a 4×4 stand in the way between you and exploring Lesotho.The main roads are perfectly tarred.
  1. Have a GPS or Google Maps in handy instead of going for a physical map.If you stay on the main roads (and know which direction you’re going and the name of a few main towns) it is actually easy to find your way. However, the locals are very helpful.
  1. Familiarize yourself with the different documents that are needed for crossing the border.When traveling with a baby, make sure you know which documents to carry (we only carried Boikabo’s passport and we didn’t know that they might need the unabridged birth certificate together with an affidavit from one parent. Luckily we were both traveling so there was not a need for this).
  1. When it comes to driving around Maseru , always expect the unexpected on the road and stick to the speed limits.
  2. If you can, avoid crossing the Maseru on a Friday because the queues are long. You can alternative entries and by that I do not mean ‘Paqama’ 😂.
  3. Always be aware of the distances you’re traveling as fuel stations aren’t widely available on the roads. Fill up at a fuel in Maseru before exploring the area, besides fuel is cheaper in Lesotho.
  4. Plan your activities in time.

We went on this getaway seeking for adventure and some downtime and that’s exactly what we got. I loved every bit of the trip except for the cold nights. Do yourself a favor and visit Lesotho. If you love the outdoors and beautiful sceneries then this destination ticks all the boxes.

Likatola horse riding Adventure

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Travel Savvy: A guide to Road tripping with a baby.

It’s no secret that I love road trips. They are a great way to explore the scenery and build up the excitement of the whole trip.

 

 

 

 

 

“Road trips require a couple of things: a well-balanced diet of caffeine, salt and sugar and an excellent selection of tunes—oh, and directions.” – Jenn McKinlay

Road trips can be stressful especially when traveling with a baby.We did a lot of road travel with our little one in the past festive season. We were set to travel to the Eastern Cape on the, 22nd of December 2018. Everything was set and we were ready to go, little did we know that the trip will make Kabo so uncomfortable. He was cranky for most of the trip which made the experience unbearable. Luckily, my mom tagged along with us so she gladly could help with looking after him.However, I learnt a few tricks through this horrific experience . It prepared me for our little holiday that we had in Richards Bay. This time around, he seemed to be enjoying the trip (the weather was cooler than our first trip). He managed to fall asleep on his own and his naps were longer. Here are some tips I’ve learnt from traveling with a baby:

1.Have someone seated at the back of the car so that they can attend to the baby’s needs.

2.Prepare for the trip in advance.

3.Pack a bag with all the baby’s essentials(food, snacks, water, wipes, diapers , changing clothes etc. )

4.Drive when the temperatures are cooler because heat frustrates the little ones. So preferably in the early hours.

5.Take frequent breaks(between 1- 2 and a half hours). Let the baby out to do the normal day-to-day activities. Breaks also help you to regroup and get ready for the road again.

6.Have music. Babies love music and each time we turned up the volume it would keep Kabo quiet.

7.Entertain and entertain. Have their favorite toys nearby so that they are entertained throughout the trip.

Remember, babies are never the same. A bad experience should not discourage you from trying fun family activities. Here’s to more travel stories in 2019.

Balancing…

Find a happy balance between family, friends and work.

The most daunting task any mother has to do at the end of maternity leave is to go back to work. I recall the time when I only had a week left of maternity leave. I was engulfed with so much anxiety and guilt, I was not ready to go back to work. I was ready to be a stay-at-home, however financially it did not make sense.

The first week back at work was the most challenging .My little one definitely had separation anxiety as he cried each time I left. It was as if he could sense that we were going to be separated for more than six hours. What added to my anxiety is that he could not latch on a feeding bottle and that would frustrate him . With patience and his dedicated nanny, he finally got used to the feeding bottle. In the first week,you call home like crazy. It was not helping that I felt so out of place at work. for the first week and it took some time for me to get used to balancing full-time work and being a mom.

Multiple Roles

As a modern mom, there’s so many roles that you have to fill. You find yourself juggling between motherhood, family life and your career. None of them seem to stop and that’s where balancing comes in.

This year, my balancing skills were put to the test. I registered to study knowing that my baby will arrive in March. I did not have a set plan on how I’ll juggle both but I had a goal to achieve. I had the option of sending my son to live with his grandparents while I finished off my degree but I feared being separated from him. I was determined to make this work,so that means I had to work extra hard.

Returning to work did not make life any easier for me. I had to establish a routine that works for me and family. This came with so much compromise. On a typical day, I would go to work during the day. Come back in the afternoon and spend time with my little one. In that time, I would prepare dinner, and give my husband some attention. As soon as Kabo is tucked into bed I would focus on my studies. However, babies do not always follow routine. That’s where support comes in. My support system is what drives me and allows me to meet my deadlines.My husband is practically doing this degree with me. He has been so supportive through it all.

Whether it’s going to work or grabbing a coffee with a friend. Mommy guilt always gets the better of you. It is not easy in the beginning but as time goes, you learn to forgive yourself. With motherhood I’ve learnt that occasionally you can be a raging she devil, but also serve smiles and endless cuddles. That is balance.

In the end, the balancing act of motherhood, career and being a wife, is something that I will never perfect and that’s okay.

Nothing about me right now is perfect, but I make each day and each moment count.

My Birth Story

March 13, 2018

 

img_0637“I am yet to recall a greater joy than the first time we heard you cry, signaling life.”

It was exactly 38 weeks when I was scheduled to give birth to my little one. At this point of the pregnancy I was done. My face had changed, my feet were swollen and I couldn’t fit into my shoes (I was wearing 2 sizes up from my normal shoe size). I felt like an inflated ballon at this point and sleeping became a mission. A week before labor I took leave from work (biggest mistake of my life), I was walking on a tread before this week came.

As the days got closer I wanted to pop but at the same time I didn’t want the day to come.I had the fear of the unknown really, my biggest being the pain that comes with child labor. About 15 weeks into my pregnancy, I already had a birth plan. I was set to go under the knife, I immediately panicked because I didn’t know what to expect. I found out about this birth plan after I had discovered I had fibroids growing in my uterus. This is how I found out, we were on holiday with my friends and we were so excited because we’ve been planning to see each other since we lived in different cities. On the third day or so of the holiday, I got sick, we knew I was pregnant and we thought it was something minor. The pain got worse by the day until we finally decided to call a few Gynaes in Amanzimtoti. Imagine, who manages to find a gynae last minute, Dr Naidoo was kind enough to squeeze me in and I went for the check up. I remember being so terrified in the waiting room. The Dr seemed shocked to find fibroids, he informed  me of the risks involved. He immediately told me that natural birth is near impossible as the biggest fibroid was sitting near the birth canal. My emotions were all over the place, my biggest fear was losing the baby. Two days later, the holiday was over and I felt so bad for ruining the experience for my friends but they were so supportive throughout the experience . I spent the rest of the Spring holiday in Durban thinking I would get better. One night, the pain from the deteriorating fibroid got so worse I had to call the Dr again. This time he prescribed a stronger painkiller (Tramacet) which was safer for the baby and worked instantly but as soon as it wears off I hit rock bottom again. The pain lasted for a week and after that I got to enjoy the pregnancy.

“The birth of a child is supernatural.”

The morning of Tuesday, March 13 2018,my husband, siblings and I headed for the hospital at 05:00 am. I had to fast for about 8 hours before surgery (no nibbling or snacking on solids or liquids) this can be so difficult for a pregnant woman. We were all packed and ready to go, we checked-in into the hospital at 05:30 am. My surgery was scheduled for 07:00 am. I was probably the most terrified patient ever (this was my first hospital experience). The nurses came in to do check ups and preps for theater. My goodness, I remember being so nervous about every touch. The nurses and my partner managed to keep me calm for a few seconds before my mind went off hallucinating. The nurses inserted a urinary catheter in my bladder (goes through your vagina), the insertion was a weird sort of painful feeling.  A few minutes later I met the Anesthesiologist, who talked me through the process that I will undergo in theater.It was now time for surgery, I was pushed to theater by my partner and a medical assistant. When we arrived there, I was transferred onto another bed where I had to sit up so that the anesthesiologist can insert an epidural drug into my spine. I had to sit with my spine slightly flexed, the needle was then inserted and it felt like a small prick. Moments later, I could feel my legs numbing. I felt no pain thereafter but I could feel a touch. A few seconds before the baby came, they told me they are about to pull him. He was then pulled out ( feels like a vacuum) and we could hear him trying to gasp for air. He was then cleaned up and was placed on my chest. I’ve never felt so much love, relief and joy in one day.

Boikabo came into our lives and we were engulfed with great love. As his Daddy said “ I am yet to recall a greater joy than the first time we heard you cry, signaling life. The first time your little lungs, tiny mouth and nostrils involuntarily gulped the atmosphere… in that moment we experienced a pure form of love.”  

 

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At the end of it all, he was worth every pain. A new woman in me was born the day he was.He keeps on teaching me so much about life but most importantly about myself. Each day I find new strength to take care of him and cater to all your his needs (P. S. I haven’t had uninterrupted sleep since you were born).  Boikabo, I will love you till the end of time…

 

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A few moments after baby Boikabo was born.

World Breastfeeding Week.

My experience with breastfeeding

A baby nursing at a mother’s breast is an undeniable affirmation of our rootedness in nature”

When I was pregnant, I knew immediately that I wanted to breastfeed my son for as long as I can. I did my research on the various health benefits that come with it. However,breastfeeding can be a daunting experience when you’re a new mom. Nobody really discusses the pain that comes with breastfeeding. I remember the first time Boikabo latched on my breast, the pain was excruciating. I remember I kept on asking the nurse if I’m doing it right or not.  She told me that the baby is latching well and that soon after the pain would go away. I never wanted feeding time to come cause it would remind me of the pain. After 3 days of being hospitalised, I was sent home. My nipples were pretty sore. I met such a wonderful physiotherapist who was also a mom and she gave me a laser treatment and tips of how to survive the first few days of breastfeeding. The pain subsided pretty quick and I started enjoying breastfeeding. It helped me so much with bonding with my little one. It started becoming like second nature and it has been so convenient for me.

Tips for newly breastfeeding moms:

1. The first few weeks are really tough but it does get better.

2. Be a little patient, your milk will not come in immediately.

3. Invest in a good nursuring bra and comfortable nursing clothes.

4. Get nipple cream. I used Lanolin, it worked wonders for my nipples. It is made from natural extracts so there’s no need to wipe it off before feeding.

5. Don’t forget to eat and always keep yourself hydrated. My husband used to make me “Jungle Juice”, it helps with hydration and milk production.

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This is a picture of my little one and I, a few moments after he was born. It is advisable that a mother should breastfeed within an hour after the baby is born. 
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