“At the heart of the Basotho diet is a corn-based food called papa. Papa is served almost every lunch and dinner. Papa le moroho (cooked greens), papa le nama (meat), papa le lebese (milk), papa le linaoa (beans), papa le beet root, paper le lihoete (carrots), papa le mahe (eggs); the possibilities are endless. This is because papa is a classic starch. It is a mildly flavored, completely unseasoned base to every meal.” — Beth Spencer.
I’m getting prepared for my 27 months in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho, in southern Africa, and it looks like I’m going to live on Papa in Lesotho. Papa even has its own special wooden utensil for mixing.
Papa, seems to be the main starch eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s bland, so you can add milk for breakfast or vegetables for dinner.
My author friend Lauri Kubuitsile from Botswana, introduced me to Rethabile from Lesotho, who now lives in Paris. He then informed me about a chef from Lesotho and her cookbook. Here is a BBC video on Chef Ska Mirriam Motteane, and her goal to teach women to become chefs in Lesotho.
I’m also reading Greg’s fascinating memoir, The Mountain School, and learning about what to expect as a primary education teacher in Lesotho. I’m so excited to meet him for lunch tomorrow in San Diego. Greg lived in Lesotho as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and as I’ve connected with other Peace Corps Volunteers and shall be asking him to answer all of our questions about his life as a primary education teacher in the Mountain Kingdom. I’m already learning about what to expect.
I hope there is more to eat in Lesotho than Papa, and Moroho.
Moroho consists of greens: spinach, cabbage, collard greens etc. I shall have to bring some seeds to plant my own vegetables.
I wonder where I shall get my protein from? Eggs? They have beef, mutton and chicken, but Papa, seems to form the main part of the dish.
Anyway, I’m getting more and more excited about this life change, and hopefully the Peace Corps won’t turn me down at the last minute for some medical reason. I’ve uploaded all my medical and dental exams to their portal, which is quite time-consuming.
If you have any suggestions as to what to bring or to plant, please let me know.