Peace Corps visited my site last month (they come 3 times in everyone’s service to check in). While they were here, they asked my principal why the area I live in, which includes my village and several others, is called Litsoetse. I could swear I’ve asked this question before, but I guess not, because the answer was new and very entertaining to me!
Litsoetse is apparently the plural of “motsoetse,” which means nursing mother. My principal explained that long ago, there used to be buffalo living in this region. The villages of Litsoetse are organized in a huge circle around a steep central mountain ridge. Apparently, when the buffalo living here gave birth, they did so on the top of the central mountains. Herdboys would see them and in order to alert people from the surrounding villages of the births, they would yell “LITSOETSE!” from the peaks.
Each village is a two-ish hour walk from the next, and the mountains in the middle are enormous. I can’t imagine buffalo living here (I’ve seen deer once, but there isn’t much big wildlife around here), but I also can’t imagine anyone shouting loud enough from the mountains for villagers to hear them! It’s pretty fascinating local folklore, though.