Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My thoughts on this attempted coup...

   Many of you have asked me about this attempted military coup that occurred earlier this month in the capital of Lesotho, Maseru. 
   It chased out the Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane, and left one police officer dead and several others injured. 
   I’ve been safe and sound in sunny South Africa. And my friends and host family back in Lesotho are OK. 
   Peace Corps recently decided to send me and 80-something other volunteers to South Africa until tensions cooled between the government, military and police force in Lesotho. They’ve regularly been updating volunteers about the safety and security situation there, and have been keeping us busy through an all-volunteer conference at a nice hotel in the middle of nowhere. 
   With nearly two more months left to go in my service, my bosses found time to squeeze in my close of service conference (this is where I officially prepare to leave Lesotho to go back home to America.) It’s been nice to eat like a queen, take hot showers, have electricity and take in a nearby city, but I miss my host family dearly. I talk to them every few days or so.
   But safety always comes first. Here’s the deal: police and army were fighting because the Prime Minister closed down Parliament back in June because the country’s coalition parties were going to vote him out of office. (There had been whispers of a staged coup during that time but nothing materialized.) The police force is said to be very loyal to the PM and the army is said to support the Deputy Prime Minister, many of whom believe is behind the attempted coup. Southern African leaders have been talking to Lesotho’s leaders, especially their army head, who won’t step down. He is believed to be very aggressive and has said he won’t go out without a fight.
   Honestly, my emotions have been all over the place. When I first got the call to pack up and leave my village, I thought Peace Corps was going to send me back to America. And that’s what I packed for. I threw all my nice fabrics from Mozambique in a bag, scooped up my traditional Basotho hat and said goodbye to my host family. My host mother and I cried and hugged each other. “
   I may or may not come back,” I told her. “I honestly don’t know.”
   Hopefully, though, I’ll get to go back soon.

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