The past several months have been a continuous adventure. I’ve taken some exciting trips: Sehlabathebe National Park, the first national park of Lesotho, Thanksgiving and my birthday spent on the beaches of South Africa, the incredible mountains around Semongkong with new friends, and tons of small adventures intertwined.
Outside of the landscapes, waterfalls, and hikes that I love so much, I have also embarked on adventures into who I am (quick change of direction there, eh?). Some of my self-discoveries have been difficult to acknowledge and hard to face, but slowly I am getting used to them and enjoying learning to know myself better. Many of them I won’t publicly share, but I have grown and matured in ways I never thought I would. And maybe in ways I don’t even realize yet. Don’t worry, I’m still the same light-hearted and energetic guy that I’ve always been, but living alone in a one-roomed hut for over a year and a half can really get you thinking about things—relationships, religion, life goals, motivations, values, morals, and the hows and whys of life.
To say the least, I’m probably quite a different person now than I was when I arrived in Lesotho back in June 2014. That’s usually not a surprise to people when I say that: “Well of course you are; you’ve been abroad for almost two years now. We’ve all changed since you left,” Pirkle told me a while back. I know he’s right, but for the first time living alone, feeling isolated at times, and having only myself to find and interrogate true motives of my own thoughts, I have become more critical of my stances on issues, and consequently more sanguine about the development of my adapting beliefs. For me, I’ve always just tried to be who I am and there’s never been any convoluted thoughts present in my mind to explain why. Live in the moment, do what you enjoy and things typically fall into place. That’s how I’ve lived up to now and I guess it’s worked out decently. Just yesterday, actually, a seemingly impromptu Bible study broke out at a friend’s house where I visiting. In front of the group, my friend asked me tell everyone my favorite Bible verse. I tried to think back to youth group when I used to have a repertoire of favorite verses. After a while of searching through the cobwebs of my brain, still nothing surfaced and I threw my hands up. In my experience, most talks with people from the Seventh-Day Adventist Church tend to start with a subtle criticism of my life, and then finish with events forewarning the end of the world—so you get the gist of how it went. It was only after the lesson that an old favorite verse popped into my mind, but I knew I couldn’t say it without the untimely hint of sarcasm in my voice: “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” BOOM, even the Bible says you should live in the moment. I know I only have a short while longer of living this way to the max, but up to this point I have very few regrets and love how life has treated me so far.
Anyways, as for my remaining time left in Lesotho I am hoping to have a prosperous final six months doing as much as I can for my community. The drought in southern Africa has been an absolute disaster for Lesotho (read briefly here and here). The farming projects we had going looked so promising. We spent about three months out in the fields planting, watering by hand from our man-made reservoirs that collected underground water and doing all the necessary hard work until there was not even a trickle from underground. Our fields were the only ones that had been plowed and planted anywhere nearby. Other farmers loved sitting and watching in amazement as three people did all of this hard work by hand (about four acres of maize). Normally, Basotho wait until after the first three rains of rainy season before they plant. After planting, Mother Nature takes care of it all up until harvest time. We got only a small harvest, but it makes me happy to see people roasting and walking around eating maize since there is no maize to be found in the entire country! My hopes of doing more farming and agriculture-related work has come to a halt and I’ve sought out other opportunities. Right now, it looks as if I will be teaching science and health at the primary school near me. I’ve tutored college students in the past, but being a teacher for grades 5-7 seems like a real challenge. I’m looking forward to it. Continuing committee work, possibly other camps and weekend events, and a few smaller farming quests will still be on the schedule as I start planning the next steps after Peace Corps.
Till next time,