This is Where I Shall be Teaching and Living in Lesotho

The teachers at my new school

The teachers at my new school

I’m so excited to know where I shall be teaching and living for the next two years in Lesotho. Our Peace Corps training is almost over, and I’m tired of living out of my suitcase. Starting on December 17th, after our swearing in, I can move into my own rondavel.


My new “rondavel” home


Our training lasts ten weeks, and I’m ready for the next move. Fortunately Peace Corps arranged for a much needed break with “showers and lots of protein” (most of us lack meat and fish as we don’t have fridges to keep our food cold.)

We stayed at Mount Maluti hotel in Mohale’s Hoek, where we attended workshops with our Principals and ILs (Introductory Liaisons.) I left the hotel with my Principal, Sister Bernadette, and my new IL, and it took us eight hours by bus, to reach my new site.

Marsy solo

My sweet mother, ‘M’e Mary

As soon as I saw my new m’e’ (host mother) Mary, I felt at home. She is 62, and has the most beautiful smile. She walked me to my rondavel, next to her house. I stepped inside my new home with sunshine-colored walls, and Mary said, “I shall do everything for you. I am so happy and blessed to have you here.” The rondavel was furnished, with a glass cabinet full of plates, bowls and glasses that Mary said I could use. She gave me new pots to cook with, and brand new bedsheets. I noticed a TV set, and was confused as there is no electricity in my rondavel. Mary said she has solar panels on her roof, and when I move in on December 17th, she would show me how to use the TV.

glass cabinet

M’e’ Maria is letting me use her glass cabinet and TV

Mary is a widow, and a 2nd grade teacher at my new school. She is retiring in December, and wants to help me learn Sesotho. “The children have prepared a day of dancing and songs for you all day tomorrow. Everyone is so excited to meet you,” Mary said.

The 6th grade teacher couldn’t wait to meet me so she stopped by my rondavel, just as I was getting ready for bed, and said, “We are so excited to meet you. You have been sent by God, and we are so blessed.”

My new 6th grade teacher whom I shall be working with.

My new 6th grade teacher whom I shall be working with.

I feel like a celebrity here. Everyone’s excitement to meet me is not what I had expected, and I’m trying to learn about the Basotho culture which values relationships and “togetherness,” while many westerners like their “alone” time. Apparently the Basotho think that we’re depressed when we’re alone in our homes.

I slept well, and Mary’s rooster woke me up at 3:48 a.m. At 7:30 am, Mary and I walked to school. I greeted the village chief along the way. As soon as we reached the school, all the children came running down the hill to take a look at me, but were shy when I started asking them their names. High fives, seem to be the way to get them to come closer.

Mary took me to the staff room where I met the other teacher took photos of everyone. I’ve discovered that taking photos is one of the best ways to be on good terms with everyone. They love having their photo taken, plus I can place their names with their faces.

Mary drew flowers on the board, and my “Welcome ‘m’e Palesa” greeting. That’s my name in Sesotho, which means flower.



Sonia pointingto board

This is what my ‘m’e wrote to welcome me in the staff room

So the children danced and sang for me, and this is something the Basotho love to do. I hope to learn to flick my hips backwards, the way they do it.

OlderGirls in dancecostume

Another dance by the 6th graders

Reception closeupdance

Adorable Kindergarten children danced to welcome me as their new teacher

Watch them dance for me.

So now you can see the teachers and children that I look forward to working with starting in January 2016.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. More about how we are celebrating our Peace Corps Thanksgiving. 

Comments (16)

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  1. Alana Woods says:

    Hi Sonia, how lovely and welcoming they are. You must be overwhelmed with it all. I’ve just shared your post on Facebook so everyone I know can read about it. Cheers from me, Alana
    Alana Woods recently posted..Alana Woods’ book reviews: BOOTIE & THE BEAST by Falguni KothariMy Profile

  2. Lady Fi says:

    What an amazing welcome! Love your new house.

  3. Jerry Waxler says:

    What a perfect Thanksgiving post! Thank you for sharing your life with us. While you travel the world and write, we can travel the world by reading what you wrote. These people seem to have already given you their hearts.

    Best wishes,
    Jerry Waxler recently posted..Sharing Stories and Loving MothersMy Profile

  4. What a wonderful share! Love the video. The beginning of something amazing!
    Eileen Hopkins recently posted..Writing for NanowrimoMy Profile

  5. Suellen Zima says:

    Seeing your cabinet filled with glasses, I remember that I stayed with a family in Lamu, an island off the Kenyan coast. For some reason, drinking glasses were in short supply. At meal time, people shared glasses. Someone suggested that we buy glasses as a thank you for the family’s hospitality. I don’t know if there’s any connection to the big supply of glasses your host mother left with you. You’ll have plenty of glasses to invite people to eat and drink in your wonderful rondavel. I was never in Ethiopia, but the Ethiopian children I was housemother to in an Israeli boarding school drew pictures of similar structures. Love your updates. Strange to be so close technologically to your daily experiences.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Love your rondavel. We must plan to meet up when I’m in SA next year.

  7. Hilary Arndt says:

    Hello my dear friend, I have a feeling your not getting e-mail, its bouncing back to me. Hope all is well with you, I am sure your amazed and refreshed with your family and surrounding beauty. Did you ever see “The Gods Must Be Crazy”? Its a story about Bush People in the Kalihari and how finding a coke bottle that fell from the sky brought havoc to their village. Looking forward to your next posting.
    Sala Hantle

  8. GRAHAM michael graham (@ Peets coffee says:


    19th of DEC
    Sonia…..what a treat…your are really doing it !!………your roundhouse/the people/the environment….

    I am excited about what you are doing…… !!!!!


    michael graham……this latest info of yours is already changing me….another opening

  9. Sonia Marsh says:

    Graham, Good to hear from you. Say “hello” to everyone at Peets coffee for me. I am learning so much here about life, culture, and myself.
    Sonia Marsh recently posted..Swearing in Ceremony with the U.S. Ambassador of LesothoMy Profile

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