Sunday, September 21, 2014

Returning back to Lesotho

I had plenty of downtime during my recent consolidation to South Africa. While there, I was able to visit a cheetah park in Bloemfontein.

   Hot, steamy showers. Unlimited electricity. Free Internet.
   This is the life that I've lived in three different hotels during the past three weeks as part of a consolidation effort that Peace Corps recently implemented for nearly 80 volunteers serving in Lesotho.
   Instability in the country's government and military and police forces caused this action but Peace Corps is sending us back to the "Mountain Kingdom in the Sky" soon. They made the decision with the U.S. Embassy and State Department to send us back because the police force is back at work and there is an absence of problems in Maseru, the capital city. Volunteers will be on stand fast and Peace Corps and other agencies will continue to monitor the situation. They'll send more frequent security messages and communicate with volunteers more.
   I have mixed decisions about the news. God knows I'll miss the comforts of the modern world at this hotel in South Africa, but it'll be nice to be back in village and to see my host mom and my little boys.
   My emotions have been all over the place during the past three weeks. At first, I wanted to go back to America and thought the Peace Corps would send volunteers there because of all of the uncertainty in Lesotho. And I still have about two more months left to serve. They didn't send us back, though.
   Then, I wanted to go back to Lesotho because I missed my host family and friends, and the simple way of life there. I was also concerned about my friends in country. Their government is in shambles, as is their leadership. They don't have peace, something they're known for.
   But since I'm not in control, there was nothing I could do except take in some luxuries and First World comforts. I went on my very first game drive at the Maria Maroka Game Reserve, luxuriated in my first hot stone spa treatment, splurged at the mall and visited a cheetah park. I also fed my face with all kinds of grub from the hotel buffet: croissants and lasagna and lamb and stir fry and lemon tart and raspberry cheesecake.
   But remnants of Lesotho were still with me as I repeatedly wore the same clothes over and over again and hand washed my undergarments and socks in the hotel bathtub.
   Honestly, this consolidation thing wasn't so bad once I came to the realization that I couldn't control when or if I'd go back to Lesotho. I likened it to a paid vacation.

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