Serving with the Peace Corps in Lesotho

 

 

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I’m wearing the Lesotho hat that my new Danish friend, Lone, brought over. She lived in Lesotho, South Africa

For years, I’ve been telling my friends that I would serve with the Peace Corps when my  children were out of the house. It’s something I started talking about ten years ago, and last week, I received the invitation to serve in Lesotho, a small country in Southern Africa.

lesotho

Lesotho is known as the “Mountain Kingdom” and is the roundish, landlocked country in pink on the map.

Now that I’m divorced, and my three sons are independent, this is the perfect time for me to work as a primary education teacher in Africa.

I applied to serve last year in June, and was turned down in January. I was devastated, especially as I felt completely lost, and could not understand why this could happen to me. I’ve attended monthly Peace Corps meetings, including a Peace Corps event at Cal State Long Beach where the new Director, Carrie Hessler-Radelet, stated that the Peace Corps is hoping to increase the number of over 50-year-olds to serve.

After my rejection, the local recruiter encouraged me to reapply immediately. I did so the next day, updating my resume to include the Trinity College Cert-TeSOL course in London. Fortunately I’d been accepted after my interview in London in December 2014, to take the TESOL course starting on April 20th-May 15th, 2015. I needed a backup, in case the Peace Corps turned me down a second time.

The Peace Corps placement officer for Lesotho, interviewed me on February 27th, and almost 3 months later, I received an e-mail with an ‘invitation’ to serve; ironically, on the last day of my course in London.

Now I have a massive amount of paperwork to fill out, passports and visas, medical and dental exams, and finger-printing, etc. As long as all my medical and dental results are fine, I shall leave for Lesotho, on October 5th, 2015.

I cannot wait to start a completely new and challenging life in Africa. I realize this is not going to be easy, and it’s going to take a long time to adapt, as well as to learn the new language, (think clicking sound) of Sesotho.  During the first 3 months you live with a host family and learn the local language.

At least it sounds easier than the Czech language that we had to learn during our first week of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other languages.) Watch video of Czech here if you’re interested.

Here is a local dish: Basotho Bashed Beef. The article says they eat horse meat, but only if the horse dies accidentally. They never kill horses for meat.

Basotho beef

Basotho Bashed Beef

 

I would love to meet Prince Harry in Lesotho. He set up the Sentibale charity to help orphaned children in Lesotho. So many children are orphans due to the 3rd highest rate of HIV/AIDS in Lesotho.

Watch this video to see Prince Harry and the work he does in Lesotho.

Anyone been to Lesotho? Please leave a comment below.

Comments (29)

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  1. Linda Luke says:

    Congratulations on holding true to your vision and bringing your dream to life. They will be blessed to have you there.
    Linda Luke recently posted..3 Ways to Rewire Your Brain and Feel More PositiveMy Profile

  2. Nancy Sharp says:

    Way to go Sonia. What fabulous news. Congratulations to you — eager to armchair travel with you and hear of all the good you continue to do in the world.

  3. That’s excellent news! Bravo – well done for accepting the position…It’s sure to be life changing, and I really hope you get to meet Prince Harry too! He comes across as one lovely Royal.
    Rebecca Hall (Bex) recently posted..Hiking in the Agrafa Mountains – Central GreeceMy Profile

  4. Janet Givens says:

    Congratulations Sonia. You are the third person with PC connections to Lesotho that I’ve met in the last two months. Be sure to help us know how to pronounce it properly. Best wishes as you wade through the medical and dental clearance process. That’s where that “flexibility, patience, and a sense of humor” come in handy.

  5. Lynn Miller says:

    Sonia,

    Congratulations, you will love the country. But Lesotho is not “in” South Africa, it is in Southern Africa. Lesotho is an independent country that is surrounded by South Arica. And from my years of living in Botswana and travelling through Lesotho I can tell you that it is important that you know the difference.

    Lynn

  6. Alana Woods says:

    Sonia, I’m loving these posts from you.

  7. Sonia, Congratulations on pursuing your dream and realizing it! I know you have wanted this for a long time and the Peace Corps seems a perfect fit at this point in your life. Onward and upward!

    Susan

  8. Sonia! How fabulous you’ve succeeded to get yourself into the Peace Corps! I’ve not been to Lesotho, but I do have a soft spot for Ghana, West Africa, as you know. Wishing you lots of success and I really hope you’ll be able to keep up your blog so I can follow your adventures. I listened to the little sample of Sesotho and the sounds do not seem hard to do, but then I know a few 😉 and so do you. If the language is difficult otherwise, you’ll find out I suppose! Bon courage!
    Miss Footloose recently posted..Expat Delight: Funky French StuffMy Profile

  9. Drew Meyers says:

    Sonia
    This sounds like an amazing journey! So happy your dream is coming true.

    I’ve been working on a project called Horizon to connect community members across geographies in travel scenarios, and the Peace Corps is one of the first communities we are working with. Would absolutely love your thoughts on whether a simple way to find other PC volunteers by location would be useful. It’s a private community, but if you email me, I can send you the secret group unlock code.

  10. Congratulations,Sonia, on achieving this long-held dream of yours to serve in the Peace Corps. Your hard work and perseverance have paid off and now you are walking into your next “Gutsy” Adventure.I wish you the best and will be eagerly awaiting your updates. No doubt you will have lots of fodder for another memoir. Bon Voyage, my friend!

    Kathy
    http://krpooler.com

  11. se7en says:

    Hi There, I spotted your post on twitter… and came over to read about your journey. We have been to Lesotho as a family and I thought you might like to read about our experience there… this post is a collection of posts that we wrote about our trip (http://www.se7en.org.za/se7ens-trip-to-lesotho). Wishing you all the best, it sounds like exciting times for you!!!
    se7en recently posted..Se7en + 1 Hike Through Dragon Rocks…My Profile

  12. Thank you for contacting me. I am fascinated by your story and work in Lesotho. Did you get my Tweet? I’d like to e-mail you directly.
    Sonia
    Sonia Marsh/Gutsy Living recently posted..Differences Between a French, a British and an American GymMy Profile

  13. Jess says:

    Hi Sonia-

    I am a RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer) and served in Lesotho from June 2013 to September 2014. I’d love to tell you more about the experience. I truly cherish my time spent in the mountain kingdom and as a Peace Corp Volunteer. Please contact me if you’d like to talk more.

    Sala Hantle, (Stay Well)

    Ausi Katleho Taaso

  14. Sonia Marsh says:

    Hi Jess,

    I am so happy you contacted me and shall send you an e-mil. Thank you.
    Sonia Marsh recently posted..Differences Between a French, a British and an American GymMy Profile

  15. Sonia, I am so happy for you! What an incredible new journey lies ahead. Wishing you all the best,
    DeAnna
    DeAnna Cameron recently posted..Is It Feeling Crowded to You?My Profile

  16. matthew chaplin says:

    congrats! where will you be based in Lesotho? 🙂

    I hope the current issues do not get in the way of you forfilling your dream! Its an amzing place lesotho!

  17. Ian Mathie says:

    It was brilliant having you here at the end of your TESOL course, sharing food and good chats, and hearing about your plans with the Peace Corps. I know you’re going to have great adventures in Lesotho, and look how many fans you’ve already got wanting to share them! We’ll all look forward to hearing about things as you go along, and live vicariously through your posts.

    I love the picture of the Mayan kids.

    Good luck with your hors d’oeuvre in Thailand.

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