America Peace Corps

Journal Excerpt from Sept. 1

September 28, 2011

Juliana Fulton - American Lesotho Peace corps[An excerpt from my journal for these past couple weeks]

Well I’ve been super busy, with 2-4 things to do every day for these past couple weeks. Today I had a meeting about the community centre in the morning (and building a seed bed) and two life skills classes at different schools this afternoon.

The community centre is really coming along. We’ve dug beds for 10 plots, 19 out of the 30 orphans showed up last Saturday and worked so hard, digging the stiff, weedy soil. It just looks like mounds of dirt, but I’m proud of the kids. I wonder what motivates them. It’s nice to think they’re invested in this project, growing food. We’re planning on planting the seeds this Saturday. The cabbage seeds are already in the seed bed. Regular watering is going to be a challenge. And we’ll see it the schedule to fix up the building this week actually holds. Next week we’re getting the gardening tools. It will be nice not having to borrow and carry them around (my shoulders are soar from carrying all those spades yesterday).

Maliba Community seed plantingIt’s warming up, I can sleep in normal pajamas and a single sleeping bag again. The peach trees are blossoming. It’s nice, still cool and the muddy rains haven’t started yet, I’m not looking forward to that.

A ‘mme [woman] that is somehow related to my family is staying here for a month with her tiny newborn baby. [It’s a Basotho custom for a woman to go home to her mother’s house for a month to give birth and recover.] It’s a nice custom. And he is so cute and tiny, and hardly ever cries.

I’ve been so busy, my garden has been on hold, but hopefully I’ll finish the last of the stick fence this weekend and plant the seeds next weekend (it’s reconnect and all-vol next week!). I’ll be staying at Lauren’s on Sunday night, and we’re going to watch a movie, make mimosas and shepard’s pie, yum!

Life is really good. I feel settled, at home. It’ll be so weird leaving. These chapters of my life seem so disconnected, they don’t blend together like normal life changes. Coming here (and leaving) is such a drastic, abrupt change. My life here is so completely, utterly different. Different in every way I can think of, from how I brush my teeth and get a drink of water to how I get from place to place and what I consider a work. I really wish I didn’t have to choose one or the other, here or there.

Makoenya [my dog] is lying beside me, stretching from her nap on the rug, it’s already too hot out in the sun. And at least she’s away from that pig. They fight all the time, usually over food, and then sleep cuddled up together on my doormat outside (giving Makoenya his fleas, I pulled six off her today), It’s so strange to raise a pig as part of your household for six months and then eat it. We have so much distance from our food in the US, although they certainly don’t cuddle with it before they eat it. Other volunteers refer to my village area as the Lesotho version of the American Appalachia. We eat pet cats (and mice) out here, skin them and then wear cat-fur hats. For some reason I’m proud of it, that we’re considered real earthy people. Though I don’t think I myself am integrated enough to eat the pet cat (but I’m looking forward to that pig). But I like to think of myself as part of a community that really knows what it means to get by, to survive.

The contents of this article are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. Government or the American Peace Corps.

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