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The contents of this website are our personal views and do not reflect the position of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps.


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Peace requires the simple but powerful recognition that what we have in common as human beings is more important and crucial than what divides us. ~ Sargent Shriver

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Going Away Party

On June 29 our co-workers held a community going away party for Wes and me. It turned out to be so much more than we ever expected. They made sure to invite every group of people we have interacted with in Ha Sekake including the SMARTD staff, our youth team, the police officers, the staff at the schools, and all of Wes’ computer students. Several of the attendees gave speeches about what having us here has meant to them. It was a very moving and emotional experience for everyone. We were given an opportunity to give our own speech at the end. It is truly hard to put into words what these two years, this country, and these people have meant to us. We told them that two years ago we left our family in America, but that they have become our family in Lesotho. It makes it difficult because we are having to leave our family again, just this time we don’t know when or if we will ever be back. We thanked everyone for their overwhelming support and encouragement of us during our time here, and for their hard work and dedication that made the projects we have had together such great successes.  Each and every person that we have built relationships with in Lesotho has shaped us in some way, and I wish I could fully express how grateful I have been for their friendship, patience, and love. It was really nice to be given a public forum to thank everyone for everything they have given us, even if our words seemed so insufficient to fully express how we feel. At the end of the speeches we were presented with two Basotho blankets as a token of the community’s thanks for the work we have done here.

 

Of course, after the formal ceremony, the real party began! It wouldn’t be a true Basotho party without a ton of food, alcohol and dancing. 

It was great having four other Peace Corps volunteers (Janelle, Shanelle, Carol and Shane) come to the party with us. It was really nice of SMARTD to include them in the festivities. 

It was also nice to get some final pictures with friends from the community. 

Overall it was a great way to celebrate the last two years. I am so thankful to SMARTD for going so out of their way to provide such a nice, thoughtful and really fun party for us. It will definitely be one of my favorite memories from our time here. 

I will leave you with one of my favorite things from the party…

DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS!!

If you want to see the rest of the pictures from the going away party, they can be found here.

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Olympic Lesotho Runner

ABOUT THE RUNNER

Tseopo Ramonene possesses the usual marathon runner’s physique, a modest height with a slight frame and no body fat to be seen. It’s no wonder he has to wear multiple layers of t-shirts and jackets to keep warm, winter in Lesotho can be bitterly cold. When you first meet Tsepo you soon get the sense that he will not be asking many questions. He is a very quiet and humble young man and after learning more about his situation and where he is coming from, you can see the reason for his timid persona.

When you asked Tsepo what he does, he simply replies, “I run”. Running is Tsepo’s life. Both his parents are unemployed. His dad receives a very small pension from working in the mines, but not enough to support the family. Tsepo is the sole breadwinner he feeds his family with the small winnings he earns from his races. His parents are proud of his achievements so far and they know when he goes to a race he will return with something.

The current marathon world record is 2h:03min. Tsepo’s personal best is 2h 16min, within Olympic qualification standard. This shows great talent and potential considering his age. At the age of 20 he has plenty years ahead of him to develop his talent. With the right support, coaching and nutrition Tsepo could be a world champion. Before a race he eats white bread with tea. His gradmother sometimes gives him R50 from her monthly pension which he uses to buy energy drink sachetts.

Tsepo’s wish is to finish his schooling. He has only completed primary school. As his parents couldn’t afford to send him to high school which is about R1500 a year in Lesotho.

His dreams are to have a proper home and one day build a house for his family.

Tsepo will be competing in the London Olympic marathon. 

from: http://carlfromlesotho.tumblr.com/

(via: vimeo.com)

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CHED 10 Volunteers at our Close of Service Conference

CHED 10 Volunteers at our Close of Service Conference

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CHED 10 Trainees on our first day in Lesotho

CHED 10 Trainees on our first day in Lesotho

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Students of Patlong Primary School, Patlong High School and Pope John High School performing Ke Ne Ke Robetse Matsekela

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peacecorps:

The most difficult challenge is leaving - Peace Corps Print Public Service Announcement 
(via: peacecorps.gov)


peacecorps:

The most difficult challenge is leaving - Peace Corps Print Public Service Announcement 

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Celebrating Benja’s Birthday

Celebrating Benja’s Birthday

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Wrapping Things Up

We are down to a little more than two weeks before we head to Maseru to close our Peace Corps Service. I still can’t believe that the time has gone by so fast. Today SMARTD is holding a going away party for us. They have invited everyone in the community that we have worked with in some way. Be looking in the next week or so for the pictures from the party. It should be a lot of fun!

The last few weeks have been spent making sure that we have tied up all of our loose ends. We have tried to ensure that everyone has received the training, paperwork, computer files, contacts, etc. that they need to fully take over when we leave. It has been a very bittersweet time for us. I am really proud of the group of people that we have had the privilege to work alongside, and I know that they are fully capable of continuing the youth and computer programs after we return to the states. Never-the-less, it will be very hard to leave. I know that a piece of us will stay behind in Lesotho when we return to the states. This has been an experience that has shaped and changed us in more ways than I ever thought possible. 

Below are a few pictures from our very successful after school program. The students come for two hours each day from Monday-Thursday and play sports, play with toys and puzzles, do art projects and use the library. The rest of the pictures, including additional ones from our trip to Cape Town, can be found here.

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A busy day in the library.

A busy day in the library.

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