Saturday, May 31, 2014

You're a Peace Corps Volunteer if (Part 4)

In the Peace Corps world, it's totally OK to eat food out of the pot. Go ahead and judge. Most of us don't have running water.

Here's Part 4 of my "You're a Peace Corps Volunteer if..." series: 

1....If you've ever cursed out a taxi driver or a conductor for whatever reason.
2....If you lose track of time and days during school break.
3....If you give up on sweeping during the windy season.
4....If you don't like to empty your pee bucket when other people are around.
5....If you have no choice but to empty your pee bucket when others are around.
6....If your heart drops when you're tap is locked or there's no water in your borehole.
7....If it's ever taken you more than 10 minutes to close your medical kit.
8....If you depend on your host siblings and other children in the village more than you depend on your host family and other adults in the village.
9....If you eat food out of the pot you just cooked it in.
10....If someone (namely, a volunteer who lives in Mafeteng whose name I won't name) is always offering you a cat. I'm looking at you, Jesse:)

Read parts Parts 1, 2 and 3 here.

Your thoughts? What would add?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The little girl with a lot of courage

   It was a bright, al fresco morning when the stepfather walked into the front office at school.
   Almost immediately, my coworkers began questioning him in Sesotho.
   He was being accused of sexually abusing his stepdaughter, a student at the school who lived in a nearby village.
   She told teachers he allegedly got drunk and tried to molest her the night before. She ran to her chief’s house. He did nothing to help.
   The man denied his stepdaughter’s account. Teachers listened. Took notes. Then they summoned the chief (not the one the girl originally asked for help.)
   The chief marched into the office with three villagers. His black and white dog stood guard at the front door. He listened to the stepfather’s account. Took notes.
   Teachers then summoned the girl. She walked in, barefoot, took a seat on a small wooden bench in the corner of the office. She sat up straight in the glare of nearly a dozen eyes beaming on her tiny frame.  She looked her stepfather in the eyes and gave her account.
   In Sesotho, she told him that he allegedly try to molest her.
   The chief listened. Took notes. Nodded his head.
   Afterward, she left to finish playing with her friends.
   The chief’s helpers tied up the man with a dirty, green rope and walked him to the village meeting place, where he was mocked by villagers.
   What struck me about this incident was the little girl’s strength. She spoke up against her abuser. To his face. What a difficult thing to do. 
   Ultimately, this little girl ended up attending a different school and village for safety and security purposes. I think of her often and pray for her. I’ll never forget her courage and conviction.
   She is my hero. She is a lion. She is a little girl with a whole lot of courage.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

We Say, They Say

These are my host brother's Tsepiso and Katleho. They're very goofy boys, but if I tell them that they're being "silly," they'll get offended. Why? The word here is short for "osili" which means crazy. This is just a small example of how I can say something and it will get lost in translation --or even offend-- a Masotho.

   Sesotho is the language I speak here in Lesotho.
   It was created by French missionaries but is still steeped with British influences.
   Perhaps, it’s because the British colonized Lesotho (then known as Basotoland) many years ago.
   I’ve noticed this British impact during many a conversation. Here are some words that we say versus how the Basotho say it:

-In America, we say pants. In Lesotho, they say trousers.
-We say trash. They say rubbish.
-We say “I will get her from school.” They say “I will collect her from school.”
-We say period. They say full stop.
-We say quotation marks, they say inverted commas.

   And just for kicks, here are some things that I say that my host mother loves:
-"I'm gonna..."
-"I'm gonna figure it out..."
-"Oh my gosh!"
   It took me some time to get used to get used to learning and saying the different British phrases, though.
   For example, I kept saying period instead of full stop during class.
   No one corrected me. I just laughed to myself and said, “It’s OK.”
   That’s “ho lokile” or “sharp sharp” here.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Clarens, South Africa

I took a trip to Clarens, South Africa earlier this year and it made for a fun getaway.

   I was blessed to take a weekend getaway to Clarens, South Africa earlier this year.
It’s a quaint little town about 30 minutes from the border of Lesotho. Many older folks escape to Clarens for the weekend to golf, drink beer and shop.
Come take a tour of the town with me:

I lived at the Clarens Brewery:

I partook in this beer tasting:

The Cherry Red Cider and Indian Pale Ale were my  faves:

Cheesy but this cheese plate was off the chain:

Clarens has a lot of character for a small town:

It also has a lot of chocolate:

Chocolate makes me happy. Very happy!

As does chai tea:
Offer me a cup of some good chai tea and you can get just about anything out of me. True story.

I wanted to buy this skirt from this cute boutique called Madam Butterfly…
…but I needed transport to get home. My priorities are jacked up.

This mosaic thingamajiggerthingy was my motto for the weekend:

I saw "Ruby Tuesday":

This lasagna was so amazing that I wanted to bathe in it. I just woofed it down instead:

There was a township right before you get into the main square of town.  It was located across the street from a golf course:

   Clarens has a lot to offer and makes for the perfect weekend excursion. It was a cheap vacay, too. 
   Cost me around $200 US dollars to relax, drink, shop and have a good time.
   I liked it so much that I just might go back.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Videos of Tsoaing students (World Wise Post)

This blog post is part of a series of activities that I'm doing for the Peace Corps' World Wise
program. The program links Basotho and American schools through blogs like this one and friendly

   Hi kids! I hope you're doing well! I wanted to share videos of student at Tsoaing Primary school with you today!

Here are Tsoaing students having a good time:

They are singing "Shimmy shake my body!" Isn't it nice to take a break from learning?

And here they are cheering high test scores:

Students here are very clever and consistently perform well on standardized tests.

   Please forgive me for the poor video quality. I shoot everything from my BlackBerry and upload it to YouTube because it's just more efficient. I'm working on how to make the videos not as grainy.

   Is there anything more specific you'd like to know about Tsoaing Primary School and its students? Please let me know. I'd be happy to answer your questions.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Oh Electricity, How I Miss Thee

  I try to get all of my chores done before sunset. Since I do not have electricity, I depend on the sun for visibility.

   Dear electricity,

   I need to confess: I've cheated on you. 
   Feel bad for it but I have needs, baby. 
   There’s no electricity in my village so I had to see other light sources like solar charger, paraffin lamp, portable bulb and head lamp.
   Feel like I've settled because they just don’t measure up to you. Quite frankly, they’re not as bright as you were.
   Bottom line is I miss you, boo. I miss the way you illuminated my living room with the flick of a switch.    Miss the way you didn't need batteries to operate. The way you didn't need to be struck with a match to work. Electricity dear, you were so effortless.
   I miss you just as much as I miss my family. Miss you more than the bean burrito at Chipotle’s. More than the nail polish display at Sephora.
   Electricity, I need you now more than you’ll ever know.
   Baby, come to me. You light up my life.

   Forever your love,


Friday, May 9, 2014

The Volunteer Report Form

   Every three months or so, Peace Corps Volunteers have to file what's called a Volunteer Report Form.
   In this report, we must detail things such as work we've done with our schools and organizations, challenges and successes we may have had, and list any issues we may be dealing with.
   This information goes to our bosses in Lesotho for feedback, and then ultimately, Congress. Taxpayers have every right to know exactly what we're doing with their money. Ya dig?
   Truth be told, though, the VRF is a volunteer's worst nightmare. We hate filling it out. It takes too long to complete and it's just a burden, like a chore you hate to do.
   But the bottom line is that the VRF stands for what the volunteer does.
   It also stands for other things, like these silly phrases I've decided to create:

-Volunteers foster rigor.
-Volunteers' resiliency: forever!
-Volunteers reflect fruitlessly.
-Volunteers rarely flop.
-Volunteers read frequently.
-Volunteers run forever.
-Volunteers' rides: feet.
-Volunteers reject fear.
-Volunteers' frugality: real.
-Volunteers reserve finances.
-Volunteers rescind foolery?
-Volunteers respond fancifully.
-Volunteers report fluff.
-Volunteers report frighteningly.
-Volunteers roam freely.

   OK, think I have to go now. I'm procrastinating from filling out my very own VRF.
   But I'm having to much fun here.
   VRF: rarely fun!


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Not too long ago, I put out a call asking for you to help donate to my school’s water pump project.
Well, we’ve raised all of the funds, and some!
On behalf of Tsoaing Primary School here in Lesotho, I’d like to thank you all so much for your constant encouragement and unwavering support.
Thanks to you, we’ll have a water pump soon!! Yeah!!

I’ll keep you updated with the process, but thank you again!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

My favorite places and spaces here

 One of my favorite places in Lesotho is this bakery in town that sells cupcakes. They sell CUPCAKES!!!! Yaaaaaaaassssssss!

   In order for me to feel comfortable anywhere, I have to carve out little places and spaces to call my own.
   In America, those places were the beach, Sephora and the local cupcake spot.
   There are many spots here that I love, too.
   Check them out:

The Leribe Craft Centre:
I don't get here that often but the northern part of the country has a very nice craft center where I can buy beads and jewelry-making supplies. The angels in heaven always exhale when I visit this place.
They do, really. I hear them:)

My village:

There are little spots in my village that just amaze me with their beauty. This is one of them. I love walking past this road on the way to and from the bust stop.

I love this part of the village, too:

I like the row of aloe plants and the view of the mountain range far ahead.

If any of you come to visit me, we're going to stay here at Malealea Lodge:

It's a popular lodge that's a tiny slice of heaven located in a remote corner of Lesotho. I live about an hour from here. They have the nicest coffee shop and the best carrot cake. So come visit me so we can go here, OK?

 Where is your little slice of heaven? Where do you go to find peace?What places make you go gush?