Saturday, July 12, 2014

Things I've learned in Lesotho (Part 2)

Life is a classroom and these children have been my biggest teachers. What are you learning?

   Here is Part 2 of things I've learned in Lesotho land. Read part 1 here.

-How to bake bread: Before going to site, every volunteer gets a cookbook to help them get their Rachael Ray on. My cookbook collected dust for a while until I read it out of sheer boredom one day. The recipe on page 46 really piqued my interest. Peanut Butter loaf. I've since made it a dozen times, mainly without peanut butter. It's now one of my fave things to make and eat.

-How to run a small business: I was a journalism major in college so it's a surprise that I initiated a highly profitable income-generating arts and craft project. It happened very naturally and organically and quickly grew into a "small business." I had to do lots of research on economic development, financial literacy and business management. I then had to teach 14 teachers about these topics! I was a journalist before joining Peace Corps! I did not expect to come to Lesotho and do this because I'm afraid of numbers. But now that I have this small business experience, I'm confident that I can run my own small business one day.

-How to let go of control: I have a confession: I'm a control freak. There I said it. But Africa's been great for my controlling tendencies because the reality is that I'm not really in control. My God, my creator, is. This has helped me to let go. Not give up, but surrender. I've learned to prepare (because nothing goes according to plan!), to do the best I that I can with what I have at the moment and to just let go; leave it up to the Universe to see fit with the outcome.

-How to live on less with little: Long before I joined the Peace Corps, I'd been moving towards living a minimalist lifestyle. I was done with conspicuous consumption and wanted to live with less. Then, I joined the Peace Corps! I live in a hut the size of a matchbox with no electricity, running water or fridge. I live within my $200 monthly stipend, wear the same clothes over and over and read for pleasure. And guess what? I have a pretty good (and simple) life. And for the most part, I'm happy:)

-To know when to let go: I''ve learned when to let go, or when to simply say, "No." For example,
I seriously considered extending my Peace Corps service. In fact, I knew I'd extend. Then, I changed my mind after the ninth month of my service. I was severely homesick, and I knew I couldn't do another year without seeing my family. I couldn't afford to see them visit my family in America because I had bills to pay. So, I decided 27 months is enough time for me to serve, and to "get" all that I'm supposed to "get" on this journey. Not extending my service has taught me to know when I'm supposed to go.

-How to shuffle a deck of cards:  I've always marveled at people who knew how to shuffle cards. Thought they were cool. A PCV who visited taught me how to shuffle. Now I'm the main shuffler during nightly UNO games with my host family. Now, I'm cool:)

Anything you can agree or disagree with? Anything you can relate to? What else have you learned in your life?


  1. I'm honestly in awe of your dedication and experience in Africa. You have done a wonderful thing and it is truly admirable. Now, having said that...I know for myself, it would be extremely rough and I could see myself wanting to throw in the towel daily (especially during the winters), so I don't think this is something I could do personally, but living vicariously through you has been an eye opener and a joy to read. I know it takes me weeks sometimes to respond to your blog posts, but I have truly enjoyed your PCV blog. I admire your peace corp. service.

    1. I really appreciate your comments, Crystal. I really do. For the most part, I've enjoyed my service but I've also had moments where I've broken down and wished I were back home with my family. This life is not for everyone, and everyone doesn't have to give up their lives and move to a Third World country to volunteer. It's worked for me and I'm grateful for the experience. And your encouragement.