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 [...]
Many of you enjoyed following my daily life in Lesotho, so it's been a struggle for me to know what to continue writing about after the end of my service on January 7th, 2017.
Therefore, I've decided to share a document I wrote in October 2016, about the pros and cons of my personal experience in my rural village. Please note that this is what I felt at the time, and may be completely different from what other Peace Volunteers go through. I thank the Peace Corps for letting me serve, and once again, this is not to "put down" the Basotho people I met, nor the Peace Corps; it's just Sonia Read more [...]
The day before the completion date of my Lesotho school renovation project, I got a phone call from my counterpart at 7 a.m.
“The contractor needs you to buy 115 meters of electrical wiring.”
“Why didn’t he tell me this before? We are running out of money.”
“He didn’t know,” my counterpart said.
“How much does it cost?”
“48 Rand a meter.”
I quickly calculated a total of 5,520 Rand (almost $400.)
This meant we were now 15,000 Rand ($1,065) over the contractor’s initial quotation for materials, and neither the contractor nor the teachers seemed concerned Read more [...]
My opinion on how to get things done in Lesotho is based on treating people like I'd want them to treat me.
In the case of my school renovation project, it looks like the work will be completed before the scheduled date of November 28th. How come? Because I believe in signing contracts, treating people with respect, and:
paying people on time, according to our agreement.
In the U.S., projects have deadlines, and we do everything we can to meet those deadlines, because there are consequences if we don’t, like the risk of getting fired.
Here in Lesotho, the work ethic is completely Read more [...]
“I’ll take the radio back to the shop if it’s causing arguments,” I yelled. “I’ve had it with petty gossip and jealousy in this village.
“This radio has caused nothing but problems, and all I want to do is help.”
My host “mother” was shocked to hear me yell at her.
“Take the radio,” she said, pouting.
I never wanted the radio in the first place. It was a gift from the electrical supply store in Maseru where I spent a lot of money on wiring, and a meter box for my school renovation project.
Normally stores give discounts when customers spend a fair Read more [...]
I woke up at 4:20 a.m., excited and anxious about working on a construction project with a local contractor from my rural village in Lesotho, and his team of workers.
I kept my fingers crossed there would be no glitches, and that we'd buy all the materials at the Basotho equivalent of "Home Depot." After that, I'd offer lunch to everyone at KFC in Maseru, and then we'd drive back in the rented truck and reach my school by early afternoon. That was my plan.
'M'e Mamoshaka, a teacher at my school asked me to head over to her house at 6:15 a.m. She likes to sleep late, so I was pleasantly Read more [...]
It’s tough for dog-loving people to understand why dogs are treated poorly in many parts of the world.
In the comforts of our homes, we treat our pets like family. We buy them food and toys, we let them climb onto our beds, we cuddle them, we take them to parks so they can play with other dogs, we take them to the vet when they get sick, and we protect them from diseases by giving them their shots. In fact, us dog-lovers treat our dogs like a son or a daughter, and mourn their death, in some cases, more than the death of a relative.
But now I live in a rural village Read more [...]
I am amazed to see how very young children in my rural village in Lesotho, are left to entertain themselves without toys or adult supervision.
As I sat on Mary’s porch, I watched these, one to three-year-olds, playing together with stones that they lined up or rolled on the tile. This kept them busy for about two hours without a single child crying or whining. They are so used to figuring out how to keep busy with nothing other than what they can find in nature.
Things are different at my school though. It came as a shock to see how children are often treated as Read more [...]
I need your help to raise $5,000 to improve the safety and education of students at my rural school in Lesotho, Africa.
CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO MY PROJECT IN LESOTHO
(Scroll Down Until You Reach S. Marsh)
All donations are sent through the Peace Corps and are
TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION
Your donations will go through the Peace Corps Partnership Program funds website.
My community has agreed upon the following 3 priorities to help our school.
1). Make a safe classroom environment for 5th grade students.
Half the roof and ceiling collapsed in July, due to the unusually heavy Read more [...]
Queen 'Masenate Mohato Seeiso of Lesotho
I’ve never met the Queen of Lesotho, but I knew someone important had arrived at my gym when two black, official-looking cars pulled up at the back entrance to my gym in Maseru.
The first car was an Audi, and the second a Mercedes. Five people climbed out; two well-dressed women in high heels, and two men in business suits. They whisked a third woman, dressed in gym attire, out of the Mercedes, and headed full-speed to the private entrance.
As I sat on my stationary bike, I watched them scurry along and climb the stairs to another set of bicycles Read more [...]