My new life: What it’s like to live in Lesotho?

Sonia,Patricia,Heather water filters

With my new PCV friends getting our water filters

My new life: What it’s like to live in Lesotho?

My life is so different here in Lesotho as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

I have so much to share with you; I don’t know where to start.

Instead of writing a super-long blog post, I’ve decided to share the basics about my new life as a Peace Corps volunteer in training. I’m sure you want to see photos of where I live, my new host family, and my rural surroundings. I’m now living with donkeys, dogs (a ton of them,) roosters, chickens, sheep, and numerous cats, especially kittens.

Whenever I have access to an Internet connection, and electricity, I shall post my daily life in more detail. (Not sure exactly when, but I hope you’re interested.)

I can’t believe that this time two weekends ago, I sat in a fancy restaurant in San Clemente, California, enjoying Cioppino, with shrimp, fish, muscles and scallops in a delicious tomato broth, with warm sourdough bread and butter and a glass of Chardonnay.

Now I’m eating papa, (a maize powder cooked in boiling water) with morojo (chopped greens cooked in oil) with stewed pumpkin and carrot slaw. I eat a ton of carbs, and very little protein, compared to what I ate in California.

I’ve been adopted by my host mother or (‘m’e) Mathuso, and she is very caring and sweet. She shows me how to hand wash my clothes outside in a bucket of cold water which was transported up the hill by donkey.

PCV, Michelle, showing us how to take a bath

PCV, Michelle, showing us how to take a bath

Bath and buckets

view of countryside

view of countryside

Doing laundry

‘M’e gets upset when I don’t arrange my multipurpose bedroom/kitchen/bathroom (basically my pee bucket, and plastic bath tub,) the way women do it in Lesotho. I find it strange that my host “mother” is four years younger than me, and she makes me feel like a child who has no clue what she’s doing, despite having been a mother/cook/cleaning lady myself for 37 years.

My new house

I now have a nine-year old sister, Ausi (sister) Boitumelo, a brother, Abuti (brother) Tebeho. They help me pronounce new vocabulary words in Sesotho; another challenge as I have three months to learn this foreign African language, before I get shipped off to my future village, where I shall teach English in a primary school for two years.

My new brother and sister. Ausi Boitumelo,Abuti Teboho

My new brother and sister.


I’m learning to adapt as fast as I can, but it is stressful to have Sesotho language classes every day, and to be bombarded with friendly Basotho people from the village stopping you on the dirt road to ask you questions about your Sesotho name, (mine is ‘m’e Palusa which means flower) where you’re you’re from etc. They speak so fast, and I’m finding the pressure is on to learn the language quickly.

We also have Peace Corps classes from 7:30 a.m., until 5p.m., daily, and then homework and studying in the dark room with no electricity. Taking a bucket bath, and daily chores take forever, so I feel more stressed now than I did in Orange County.

I have a paraffin lamp to study when it gets dark around 6:30 p.m., and thankfully my headlamp so I can find my pee bucket at night. We are not allowed outside to use the latrine, due to the guard dogs who get into vicious fights almost every night.

dancing 'mes

More to come later.

By the way, if you’d like to connect with me, apart from e-mails, please sign up for what’s app. This is a FREE APP, and we can chat and send messages. I shall e-mail you my Lesotho phone # if you’d like to communicate with me on What’s app. E-mail me at:

Sala hantle, (stay well.)



Comments (11)

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  1. Rob-bear says:

    Glad you have landed well and are Bearing up. Great news.

    You’re heading into summer as we head into winter. I hope you don’t get overheated as you keep adapting to a very different life.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!
    Rob-bear recently posted..MEANWHILE, . . .My Profile

  2. Gigi Ann says:

    WOW! So glad you are grounded and happy. I so enjoyed reading your life’s experiences. Since I’m a little older than you, I do remember the pee bucket, and bathing in a small pan. I’m looking forward to reading many more of your life experiences. Be safe and happy! Hugs coming your way…() () ()??
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  3. Hi Sonia, Only you would go to the extreme opposite of your former lifestyle. As you say, just two weeks ago you sat in a fancy restaurant in San Clemente. Sounds like a grueling schedule and living conditions, but this experience and the people you meet will make up for what you lack in modern conveniences. I wonder if you will care at all about them after a while or even want to return. I got on What’s App when my nephew went to Tanzania so let me know how to stay in contact with you.
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  4. Suellen Zima says:

    Love the “you are here” approach to keeping your readers up to date with your life in Lesotho. I hope you can keep up the posts and pictures so I can vicariously be in Lesotho too.

  5. Great to read about your adventures. I can well imagine the stress of learning a foreign language, not to speak of having a pee bucket to use and handwashing your clothes. Keeps you humble 😉 G and I are involved with traumatized Syrian refugees squatting in an abandoned building, and that keeps us humble for sure. It’s so easy to take our good fortunes for granted.

    Bon courage, Sonia!
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  6. maria martinez says:

    Hi Sonia, it looks like you are on your way to transitioning from comforts of oc to a new reality. You will get used to it but it’ll be hard at first. I recall when we got stranded in the amazon just outside of Tikal and it was scary. but folks were nice and kept us fed until we found our way to a camp in tikal. Once there, we had to live like you describe. I washed my hair in the river, and only had beans and chicken (fortunately we could afford chicken) and scant sleeping area. I got used to it eventually. We later got a ride to the nearest boat to a port cit near Belize and then flew back to Mexico City where we were doing a year abroad. We had ventured out but the buss left without us in the amazon jungle. Yes, these experiences stay with us forever. I know it’ll be hard but you’re such a people person that you’ll get into the grove quickly. Oh, i’m already on WhatsApp. I use it to connect w/folks in MX and Spain and w/friends/fam in remote USA areas. much love and hugs and prayers w/ and for you, Maria

  7. Dumela, Sonia; your experience and the Lesotho landscape tug at my soul; I’m feeling quite emotional as I read this. Ask your host mother to make you putu pap as it’s quite different, and delicious with onion and tomato gravy or marog. You’re so adventurous – have fun!

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