Peace Corps Trainees finally get one day to relax, after a week of teaching 3-4 lessons a day, followed by learning Sesotho and practicing for our final language exam.
We have been observed and critiqued daily, and working hard to get all our lesson plans done according to the Lesotho structure.
Even though it’s a day of relaxation, we never get to sleep in. The bus leaves at 7:30 a.m., supposedly but by the time everyone is on board, it’s more like 8:30 a.m.
We’re visiting the Tsehlanyane National Park, in the northern part of Lesotho, where there’s a beautiful waterfall.
23 Peace Corps trainees are crammed into a bus, and I make sure I’m in the front, next to the window. Music is blaring from someone’s iPod, and everyone starts singing. It’s a long journey.
We stop at Shoprite to buy snacks, however, some of us were (mis)informed, that we were supposed to shop for the week; this would be our only chance. As usual, I take my grocery shopping seriously, as there’s hardly anything to buy except eggs, onions, cooking oil, laundry detergent, candy and beef bouillon cubes at my tiny “Macufe” village store. This Shoprite is amazing! It’s almost like a U.S. grocery store with mushrooms and green beans—yes I haven’t had mushrooms since October 4th— and as I searched for butter, I only found butter spread, but at least that’s better than nothing.
Once we reach the National Park, which does have an entrance fee of 30 rand, (approximately $2.00,) we are in a giant picnic area with BBQs and a lawn; something else I haven’t seen in a while.
My training village landscape is more like a desert with sand blowing through the cracks under my door and windows.
I see Thomas, the only other “older” Peace Corps volunteer, I haven’t yet met, in our crowd. It’s always comforting to meet someone over 50, when you’re with young volunteers all the time. I decide to follow Thomas and a couple of other volunteers towards a beautiful water hole, where we can swim.
I stick my foot in the water and am so tempted to jump in, but decide that I’m in the mood for a glass of wine, and a bit of pampering at the 5 star Maliba lodge on top of the mountain. This is the lodge that I booked for myself for a mini-vacation. I was eager to see it. We hike up a steep hill, and by the time I reach the top, I’m all sweaty, and ready for my ice-cold glass of wine.
I finally get to sit on a comfortable couch, instead of my white plastic chair at home, or the narrow bench at school. I’m in heaven, and I can finally relax, and think about how I’m going to take care of myself, and stay at this lodge as a special treat.
I look forward to relaxing with wifi, TV, a comfortable bed, electricity, and let’s not forget a nice shower and toilet. I won’t need my pee bucket, nor a bucket to bathe in. I might even get a massage. I deserve to pamper myself, and that’s what I’m going to do.