Life in the U.S. is full of distractions; that's probably not news to you, but it does come as a shock after living in a rondavel in Lesotho, where my only distractions were the sounds of roosters crowing at 4 a.m., donkeys braying day and night, dogs defending their territories, and Basotho villagers yelling across the corn fields. I used to think the people were angry, but soon learned that shouting is a normal way of communicating in my host country.
It's only been five weeks since I returned from Lesotho, but somehow it feels like six months. I'm so busy; my calendar is full, as Read more [...]
It all started when I parked my car and noticed a skinny man pulling into the space across from mine in an old Buick. I picked up my pace thinking, I hope that’s not him.
We agreed to meet at "Mother's Kitchen" and I entered through the sliding doors and pretended to look at the chocolates and candy and all the flowers as it happened to be Valentine’s Day.
I’d just finished a job meeting with the Director of International Student programs at a local university, and felt like I'd accomplished something, so I called Jon to say, "Let's meet for coffee."
I could tell it was Jon, Read more [...]
Twice a week, I burn my trash in a small pit outside my rondavel.
Tremendous guilt sets in the minute I strike the match, realizing that I’m contributing towards global warming. Each time, I’m surprised to see how easy it is to burn plastic bags and Styrofoam packaging trays. The fact that this is a big, “No-No” in many parts of the western world, with strict recycling laws, adds to my sense of wrongdoing.
The problem is, I have more trash than the Basotho because I buy mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli, and cauliflower, imported from South Africa, and packaged in Styrofoam Read more [...]
As a Peace Corps volunteer teacher in Lesotho, I'm discovering major cultural differences, even in the classroom. What may seem, "normal" in a school in Lesotho, would be cause for jail, in the U.S.
I'm helping grade 7 prepare a debate on, “Are teachers to be blamed for the poor performance of students?”
While brainstorming points on the affirmative side, one girl, Lineo, who is smart and ambitious, brought up the following points which no longer shock me, as I've heard them before.
“Teachers fall in love with their students. This can lead to the poor performance of learners Read more [...]
After two weeks of training in our village, with 36 other Peace Corps volunteers, we were finally given the opportunity to see what it's really like to teach in a small village school.
We all boarded combis (taxis that can hold up to 15 people, all squished together,) and as fate would have it, ours was the oldest taxi, and it broke down on a hill towards Teyateyaneng or (TY for short) our camptown.
We had already paid the cab driver our 7 Maluti, and one of our volunteers wanted a refund.
"I don't think you'll get a refund. This is Africa, not the U.S.," I said.
Stupidly, my backpack Read more [...]
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 Read more [...]
It's all confirmed; I leave for Africa with the Peace Corps on October 4th. I called to make sure all my paperwork was in order, as I hadn't received a confirmation in writing, and I have to sell my car and pay for a storage unit.
My recent Bamboo Project volunteering, was the best thing I did to prepare for the next stage of my life: Teaching primary education in Lesotho, Southern Africa, on October 6th, for a 27-month period.
Thailand taught me the importance of accepting that things are done differently, to be flexible, and to understand the local "Thai" way of teaching and doing Read more [...]
I'm a "happy" person so why did I buy a book called, Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment, by Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D?
Because it explains why I want to go back to Africa, and work with people who have far less than me. Here's why:
"While levels of material prosperity are on the rise, so are levels of depression. Even though our generation--in most Western countries as well as in an increasing number of places in the East--is wealthier than previous generations, we are not happier for it." --Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D.
I've been trying to figure out why I have become Read more [...]
If you were born between 1946-1964, you belong to the baby boomers that rock club:
"The wealthiest, most active, and most physically fit generation up to that time." (Wikipedia.)
Unlike our parent's generation, today's baby boomers are looking forward to starting something meaningful to them, something they are passionate about, and reinventing themselves.
Sitting indoors and watching TV (which in my opinion is dumbing us down daily) or crocheting or playing golf, are not so much the aspirations of today's baby boomers. No, we are searching for something meaningful, a second Read more [...]
As many of you know, I have a strong desire to serve in the Peace Corps. Things did not go as smoothly as I had hoped, but I am keeping my fingers crossed this time.
My interview finally took pace on February 27th, and lasted almost two hours. I answered all the questions to the best of my ability, and although I had prepared ahead of time, practicing with my RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer) friends, I found it quite intense.
I was mentally drained after my two-hour phone interview, and longed for a Yes/No answer. It did end on a positive note and I was told to continue learning Read more [...]