Good ‘Morning’ Lesotho!

Good ‘Morning’ Lesotho!

ROMA – LIMPHO Ntoanyane has a business in which she processes her mouth-watering rosehip tea, packages it and sells it.
That business has just won her a funding from the United Nations (UN).
A former student of the National University of Lesotho (NUL), she fell in love with rosehip from an early age.
She is now intent on making a fortune out of it.

This is the story of the cheerful girl from Mafeteng.
Her tea is called “Meso” (Morning).

When the NUL teamed up with the UN, they decided to host a competition in which they would ask young NUL graduates to compete on entrepreneurship projects that addressed the SDG challenges.

Among the eager entrants were Limpho Ntoanyane with her idea, “Improving Nutritional Status of People Living with HIV.”
She had her ross (rosehip or morobei if you are from the North or khunoane in other parts of Lesotho) tea in mind.
She first met ross when she was a child in Mohale’s Hoek, living with her grandma.
Like most children in Lesotho, “I used to play ’mantloane with my friends,” she said.
Ross was among their favourite meals during mantloane.

“With ross, you didn’t need to steal any food from the house risking the fury of parents,” she said.
Rather, ross was always abundant around them.
“We would just pick it up and make jams out of it.”

At times, stealing a bit of sugar and match sticks would be enough — nothing more.
Not that it was a good thing to steal but you know how the Bible says “foolishness is bound in the heart of a child”?
It would appear she was laying the foundation that would land her where she is today — still in love with the thrilling ross.
Since childhood, time passed and she forgot all about the ross.

“That would be the case until I met ross again, now as I was doing my research at the university (NUL).”
This time around, ross was still, well, ross.

But she was no longer playing ’mantloane with it.
She was doing something much more serious now.
Apart from what she learned in literature, “I would tear it apart and study its three components, the shell, the seeds and the hair (rosehip hair),” she said.

She studied colour, ash content, moisture content, density and so on.
She made interesting findings.
“I found that the red shell was rich in colour and ash content, which implied a concentration of important vitamins and minerals as compared to the other two components.”

Time moved and now she joined the ranks of the “proverbial” unemployed graduates.
Ross has disappeared, again, off her mind.
So she decided to volunteer in hospitals.

“Part of my job description was to examine children and malnutrition was one of the things we looked into.”
As she did her job, day after day, she could not help but be amazed at how prevalent cases of malnutrition were among the children.
“I was always asking myself, can there be any contribution I can make, no matter how small, to alleviate the situation”?
Then, oops! Ross popped into her mind, again, for the third time in her life time!
Now it was no longer ‘mantloane. No. It was no longer an academic research. No. It was now much more serious.
It was a business.

Not just a business, a business that would solve a specific problem.
She remembered how she used to learn about the intriguing nutritional values of the rosehip as a student.
Perhaps, she could make her little contribution by processing and selling rosehip tea, specifically using the shells.
She started doing it.

First she was struck by how abundant ross was around the country.
“Everywhere I went, I saw it.”

In fact she learned that there was a big company dealing with ross in Mohale’s Hoek.
As they say, starting is not easy.
Without much, she felt like a bee, who according to (mythological) scientists, should not be flying because its wings are just too small compared to its body weight.

But of course, “bees fly any way,” said one famous bee movie, “because bees don’t care what humans think is impossible!”
She had small wings, like a bee, but she flew anyway.
She started making and selling ross tea.

Then she met the generous UN call for proposals and she applied.
To fit into the SDGs and to out-compete the many opponents, she decided to address nutrition of the HIV sufferers.
To her surprise, she won and she got the mullah.

“I am so thankful to the UN because, even though the money doesn’t get it all, at least it helped me to get started,” she said.
“I have bought a number of consumables and small machines and I’ve improved my business.”
“I still need funding for a machine to increase processing speed, the demand is too high for me to meet,” she said.

Apparently, the mouth-watering tea is not just for those who need to boost their nutrition.
It is also for those folks who live for the love of living.
Yes those who don’t eat to live, but live to eat!
It is delicious.

Own Correspondent

Previous Mochoboroane’s silly errand
Next Unholy fight for control of church land

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