Category: Travel & Adventure

How I Landed My Dream Career at Holden Safaris

People kept telling me, "Sonia, you need to create your own career, your background doesn't fit the jobs listed on career sites." I knew that, but I continued taking classes in Excel, grant writing, and attending workshops, so that I could fit the traditional job slots. As the days turned into weeks, and then into three months, I put a ton of pressure on myself to "fit the mold." As my friend Sylvia said, "Sonia, I cannot see you sitting at a desk filling out Excel sheets, that's just not you." She was right, yet I didn't want to feel like a failure, nor did I want to use my age as an excuse Read more [...]
Category: Holden Safaris, Travel & Adventure  |  Tags:

I’m Going Back to Africa

  Yes, I'm going back to Africa in May, however, this time, I'm traveling as an independent affiliate of Holden Safaris; a boutique and exclusive safari operator located in Newport Beach, California. Our first stop is at the INDABA conference, one of the largest tourism marketing events held in Durban, South Africa. After INDABA, our team is driving along a special tour of the KwaZulu Natal province of South Africa. (The route is shown on the map below. Notice how close we are to Lesotho, where I served as a Peace Corps volunteer.)   Have you read The Elephant Read more [...]

From Rice and Lentils to Salmon and Champagne

From rice and lentils to salmon and champagne, life is good in Paris. I left my rural village in Lesotho, last week, flew to Johannesburg with a stopover in Abu-Dhabi and finally Paris. It's amazing how fast I've adapted to nice showers, a washing machine, a clean gym, and good food. Jill, my Father's wife celebrated her 80th birthday with 48 relatives and friends who flew in from Denmark, Italy, Brazil, and me from Lesotho. We celebrated at "Le Fruit Defendu"  the perfect restaurant for a cozy evening with a delightful Christmas feel located on the banks of the river Seine, Read more [...]
Category: People, Travel & Adventure  |  Tags:

My First Basotho Funeral

  It’s very sad but there seems to be at least one funeral every Saturday in my village in Lesotho, Africa, and I experienced my first Basotho funeral yesterday. My counterpart, the 7th grade teacher at my school, lost her husband to TB. He was only 37. Funerals are important community events in Lesotho, and I’ve become aware of the multiple billboards in the capital city, as well as the ads on local television for funeral insurance. It seems that even the poor, spend at least 10,000 Rand, or $700 on a funeral, and that is a ton of money for a family that cannot feed itself. Read more [...]

How can I live such different lives, and be the same person inside?

If you follow me on Facebook, you'll see that I've been traveling from Lesotho to Paris to California, and I keep asking myself, how can I live such different lives, and be the same person inside? I cannot explain how it feels to move from my rural village in the mountains of Lesotho, to the metro and tourist-filled streets of Paris, and now the California beaches. It just doesn't make sense that I can be the same person, and live in completely different environments. I have one week left before I return to the orphans and vulnerable children in my African village, and I know what's going Read more [...]
Category: Lesotho, Travel & Adventure  |  

Luxury in Ladybrand-Gutsy Living

After six months in Lesotho, I was finally allowed to leave the country, and spend a luxury day in Ladybrand, South Africa. I took one vacation day to cross the border for a haircut, a massage a pedicure, and some good food. Thanks to another Peace Corps friend, I booked a room at Cranberry Cottage, a serene, boutique-style hotel, with beautiful gardens, the sound of water trickling from fountains, and a spa. My room was pure luxury with a shower, TV and a firm mattress. I could not believe how lucky I was to find such a deal for $32 on the website: My Peace Corps friend, Read more [...]

Cultural Differences in Lesotho-Gutsy Living

  I found this sign staring at me as I closed the door in a ladies restroom at the shopping mall in Maseru. I could not resist taking out my camera. The other day, Sister Bernadette, my Principal told me, “The boys in grade 3 and up to grade 7, are walking to the clinic to get circumcised this morning.” “What, they just walk to the clinic, have the circumcision and walk back?” I asked. “Yes,” she smiled. "They are very proud and happy to go." “Do their parents go with them?” “No. Maybe a teacher will go with them,” she said, like this was a school Read more [...]
Category: Peace Corps, People, Travel & Adventure  |  

My Weekend Routine in Rural Africa

A friend asked me to explain what my life is like in my rural village in Lesotho, “The Mountain Kingdom” in southern Africa, so I figured I would start with my weekend routine first. It’s nothing like Orange County, California, that’s for sure, but here’s what I do to keep myself as “happy and healthy” as possible. Saturdays, are my “luxury” days, and I usually wake up at 5 a.m., when the rooster alarm won’t shut up. I reach for my desk, tapping the surface until I find the switch for my solar lamp. Now I can see the kettle, turn on the propane tank and boil water Read more [...]
Category: Peace Corps, People, Travel & Adventure  |  

Getting Rid of the Evil Spirits With My Healer

      There's a famous healer in my village in Lesotho, who can get rid of the evil spirits, and cure anything. People flock to him from all over Lesotho, where I'm serving as a Peace Corps volunteer as well as South Africa, to seek treatment, and cures for all kinds of ailments. For weeks, I've been asking Mary, my 'M'e, "host mother" to meet the healer and she kept telling me “He’s very busy.” It wasn't until he wanted a solar battery, from my contact in Maseru, that I finally got my appointment. I had no idea what to expect, but I was hoping he would Read more [...]

I Have No Privacy

When you live in a rural village in Lesotho, southern Africa, you soon realize that everyone knows your business, and that you have no privacy. In the morning, I peek out my door to see if there are any bo-'m'e, bo-ntate or bana (women, men or kids) sitting on Mary’s (my host mother) porch, chatting, singing or shouting, as that’s how most people communicate in my village. Mary's radio is tuned in to her favorite religious station, and I have no idea how her visitors can hear one another speak. Many people stop by for a chit-chat, and sometimes I see a stranger, leaning against the bricks Read more [...]
Category: Peace Corps, People, Travel & Adventure  |