Sunday, June 8, 2008

SAFE LANDING - June 8, 2008

Wow! We are here in Lesotho!! After the 19 hour South African Air flight, we spent the night in Johannesburg...just long enough to have dinner, bathe, sleep and catch the morning flight to Maseru. Flying into Maseru in our small prop plane was magic. It was a crystal clear day with bright blue skies. We could see the snow-capped mountains of Lesotho from many miles away. The mountins rise-up like a table - very abruptly. The country is 2/3 mountainous with a western edge of lowlands (4ooo ft) and foothills. Maseru is in the lowlands so we are enjoying mild weather -like crisp fall days in Sacramento.
We are living at the Peace Corps training center for the first couple of weeks. We have a schedule of classes every day taught by the local Peace Corps staff and schedules for our numerous vaccinations. Security is very high and that is the first class they gave us. So we know to travel in packs, hide our money, don't go to certain areas, and give it over if confronted by a thief. This is the city-life. Once we are in our villages, I understand that safety is not an issue.
Accommodations at the training site are really basic. We decided that they did this, so that we will be happy to leave for our training villages in 10 days. We will be divided into three groups and sent out with two trainers to live the village life. They are going to teach us many many things - most of which I am completely clueless. Examples include making our own gardens, preserving and canning, making bread, hauling water, bathing with a bucket....and of course the language. I can literally feel the missing circuitry in the memory bank. I am having trouble even remembering one or two words in Sesotho at this point. I am going to get myself some flash cards and study hard. There are younger volunteers here who are fluent in Japanese, Swahili, Spanish..thank goodness we aren't being graded on a curve! After our 8 weeks in the training villages, we will be given our assignment for the next 2 years. They try very hard to match our needs and desires with an appropriate sight. I am looking forward to exploring the possibilities of how I might use my mental health background.
The Lesothans at the sight are kind, patient, open, friendly, and full of life. I can't say much more at this point, since our exposure to the public has been minimal.
No worries, I am in good hands and with good company.