Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Yes We Did!

Phew! Another month has come and gone out here. It’s been a great one though. No travel this time, but between the excitement in US politics, a hectic work schedule, and the usual weekend plans, I’ve been perfectly happy just enjoying Lesotho for a while.

Some highlights…

First and foremost, this month I couldn’t have been prouder to be American. As I watched election results coming in well into the night, I felt more moved and inspired by my country than I have in a long time. When Obama was officially announced, we popped open a nice bottle of champagne and toasted to real change. I felt goose-bumps as I watched coverage of the huge crowds gathered throughout the U.S. (and the world!) to celebrate Obama, a man I have heard speak in DC and who I really, really believe in. I couldn’t help getting slightly emotional hearing his acceptance speech, as he vowed to represent all of us and bring the country to a better place, one step at a time. It was great to experience that moment in history from somewhere outside the U.S. with a different perspective. Lesotho didn’t break for a national holiday, but people here were definitely excited and supportive—and so am I!

With such good news lifting me up, I gladly faced my next challenge at work: hosting 17 Dutch volunteers for one week to help us build a foster home for orphans. It was my first build, let alone first volunteer group, so I knew I’d have to learn by doing. The group was wonderful though and they had a great attitude about everything. They ranged in age from late 20s to early 60s and all were new-timers to Lesotho (some hadn’t even left Europe before). For a week, I was everything from Lesotho tour guide, to camp counselor, to school nurse. I took them to see sites around Lesotho, I spewed off country facts when asked, and best of all, I got my hands dirty building alongside them. I mixed cement, lifted blocks, and tried to keep everyone hydrated and happy. At the end of the week, I was exhausted but the group was happy with their experience and they also managed to almost complete the house, so now— eight needy children will have a place to call home very soon. Can’t beat that!

Otherwise, it’s the usual summer scene in Maseru. Some movie nights in, a few nights out, a group hike here, a day at the pool there… This week, I’ll spend Thanksgiving at the house of the US Peace Corps nurse who is graciously hosting a group of us. And best of all— after almost nine months out here, I’ll be home for a visit in just two weeks! I can’t wait to see my family, catch up with friends, wander through NYC, have a cup of real coffee, go out for Mexican food, see a new release at the movies...ok, you catch my drift! On the flip-side, I am not so excited about switching from the Rand to the Dollar and swapping summer for my 3rd winter this year! Ouch. Regardless, I'm still excited for the visit and can't wait to get a taste of home again. See you soon!!