Ever wonder what it’s like to be a Peace Corps Volunteer? For us Americans, it’s a bold endeavor that only a small percentage of our population takes on. Twenty-seven intense months of living in a rural community, contributing to the well-being & efficacy of local systems. I considered doing the Peace Corps back in the day, but didn’t have the guts to follow through.
Fortunately, I have some remarkable friends that served in some cool ass places, one being the enclave of Lesotho. Meg, an old college friend, served her Peace Corps assignment in a small village outside of Maseru, Lesotho, which we were able to visit during our time in Southern Africa. She gave us a true “Rondavel” experience – living a simple life in a cute, round African hut. We learned a little Xhosa – a clicking language of which Meg can actually speak an entire sentence...#impressed.
Lesotho is very poor and impoverished, but has a strong farming system that teaches kids at a young age how to make the best use of their land. Many boys leave school, a controversial occurrence, to become cattle & sheepherders. The girls are expected to continue with their education, leading many to end up in government positions, leaving most of the men behind.
Lesotho differs greatly from its surrounding nation, South Africa, even though it is so close in proximity. When spending the day hanging out with locals in a taxi rank is an acceptable and common activity, you know you’re in Lesotho. We had a blast playing cards, drinking local beer, and laughing with the guys as they told stories and waited to give people rides – a normal weekend pastime for PCVs.
We made several friends on our journeys in and out of Lesotho; some people whose stories we will never forget. All were welcoming, happy, and appreciative that we were so eager to learn about them and their country. I don't know as much as there is to know about Lesotho, but living a week in rural Africa is certainly worth experiencing at least once in your life.