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 weighed about 25 pounds, and I didn’t realize we would have a big hike up the hill, as well as to my HVV (host’s volunteer village — a one-hour walk in the rural foothills and valleys surrounding our camptown: TY.)
Our host volunteers took us to a nice resort hotel the Blue Mountain Inn, in TY. If you visit me, this is a nice place to stay.
We had free Wifi and electricity, so we took advantage of this, and ordered a cold beer and lunch. I was so happy to eat a fresh salad with feta cheese; first one in 2 weeks. I love Basotho papa and morojo, and their fresh beets and pumpkin, but I craved a salad with balsamic vinegar and oil.
Hanna and I were met by Hillary, our host volunteer, and she took us to her house after lunch, and a quick tour of the supermarket in TY. I was so happy to see butter and cheddar cheese.
The three of us climbed into a 4+1 (taxi) to Hillary’s road, and little did I know, that we had a 5 km hike up and down hills, before we reached her well-built, cement-brick rectangular house, with a thatched roof.
Her ‘N’tate (host Father) is such a hard-working man, who retired from gold-mining in South Africa, and managed to save enough money to build a beautiful house. He does not have electricity, but raises chickens, and grows numerous crops. His wife bakes delicious fresh loaves, and sells the eggs to local villagers.
Hillary’s place was big enough for all 3 of us, and I slept on the floor. We had delicious home-made tortillas, pizza, and even watched a movie on her laptop.
The school we visited is a 30-minute hike from her house, and the children were so warm and friendly, calling us “Madam.”
The 7th grade children had exams, so the school schedule was modified. We taught outside, and the children are used to carrying their benches on their heads back and forth to class every day.
So far, I feel more confident that I shall be able to teach these beautiful, smiling children. I just need to learn my Sesotho, and that’s a challenge for me.
More to come when I have Internet access again.
ANY QUESTIONS FOR ME?
Nancy Sharp says
Can’t wait to hear more about your experiences. It’s very inspiring.
Michelle K says
Love reading your posts, Sonia! I have a friend that lives in Lesotho also so I was excited when you moved there. Great photos!
Life is interesting in your ‘whole new world,” isn’t it?
The important thing is that your survived, got to do some work, and had a good time despite the challenges.
I hope your “mission” continues to go well.
Blessings and Bear hugs!
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Sara Padilla says
Hi Sonia! Congratulations on making it this far as a PCV. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer from 1998-2000 in the Dominican Republic. It was by far one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I cherish my memories – both good and not so good – from that experience. Wishing you all the best!
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Please remember, Sonia, that Africa is a continent with more than 50 countries, most of them vastly different. Yet you compare that continent with one country (same culture, same language, same history), the USA.
Besides, getting money back does not depend on country or continent, but on other factors, for example poverty, by which I mean in a poor corner of the USA one may not get their money back either.
I hope you enjoy my country. Listen well and interact well. You will most probably learn something, and once you do, you will be able (only then) to impart knowledge from your part of the world to your students.
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Sonia Marsh says
I know what your name means note, Rethabile. Of course I realize that Africa is one huge continent with so many different cultures and languages. My parents lived in Nigeria for 17 years, and I’ve traveled to many countries. I was trying to make fun of a cultural situation. That’s all. Hope we meet one day. Are you coming to Lesotho during the next 2 years?
Sonia Marsh recently posted..My First Experience Teaching in a Small Village in Lesotho
Suellen Zima says
Let it flow.
Yes, I might very well hop over to Lesotho soon for a visit. If I do, it would be a pleasure to meet you over tea or something. I hope you’re having a good time.
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Thank you for sharing Sonia. I enjoy reading about your experiences and Lesotho.