Saturday, August 16, 2008

NEW HOME - Aug. 3rd, 2008

AUG. 3rd -
My new home is contained in St.Rose Health Center in the town of Peka – about 90 minutes north of Maseru. The town and surrounding area doesn't have any of the famous Mountain Kingdom scenery but the Health Center has many wonderful qualities. It is a large compound with many buildings to include a primary school, a computer school, a health clinic, a facility to care for aged nuns, a maternity ward, a boarding facility for girls/boys, housing for nuns and housing for staff. It also has gardens, maize fields, pigs, cows, sheep and chickens. From one side of the compound, I look across the fields and hills and can count numerous villages that I will be visiting in my outreach work. It looks like I could be doing a lot of walking.

My little 3 room residence puts me into the lap of Lesotho luxury – electricity, hot running water, toilet, and a small frig. Compared to volunteers who have to climb a hill to their pit latrine, or walk ¼ mile to pump their water, I have it made! Besides the little kitchen/sitting area I have 2 rooms with beds and desks and wardrobes. I use one closet for food storage and hope to make the room into a pleasant study room. I am looking forward to my home beautification project.

My supervisor, Sister Teresa, is a nurse and an amazing woman with seemingly boundless energy.. She came to this mission when she was 16 yo to escape apartheid. She often speaks about her experience with apartheid and the Boers. She says that to this day, she is still jittery at night for fear of the police knocking on her door and pulling her out of bed. She also has stories of helping political refugees cross the borders to escape prison. At 63yo, she still does night shifts and just delivered 2 babies the other night. My counterpart is a delightful 27 yo. nurse. She and I will be sharing a lot of time as we do the village outreach together. I am not allowed to provide “direct services” so my role is to train others how to teach about AIDS and how to deal with the emotional issues that arise. So much of the work has yet to unfold, but Peace Corps is very clear that sustainability is the focus and foundation of anything we bring to our sites.

Today we jumped through our last training-hoop – the language exam. We all passed – even though some of us have the most primitive of vocabulary. Our most used verbs are, I eat, study, teach, like, stay, and have. The nouns I know are about food, family, and home. A tutor will definitely improve things! On August 6th we have our graduation. What a relief to get out of this trainee role and into the life for which we have been preparing!