A poem for Lesotho

I wrote this poem a while back and each time I read it to myself memories flood my mind; both good and bad. It’s the combination of all these memories that make the past two years of my life so special. Without the bad, the good wouldn’t have been so. And without the good, reflections on it all wouldn’t be so nostalgic. Kea leboha bakeng sa lintho tsohle, Lesotho. Ke tla u chakela hape nakong e tlang, kea u tΕ‘episa.


Oh Lesotho
By: Jody Lewis

Oh Lesotho, fatse la bontate rona
That girl visiting for a week said you have no culture

But I know
Culture is not something you so obviously observe in town

But something you taste, like the dust that lines your mouth in the months before the rains start
Like the sweet, warm porridge you drink for breakfast in the mornings
And those small peaches that squirt delicious juices to the back of your throat

And culture is something you smell
Like the scent of fresh makoenya billowing from tin shacks on the roadside
The crisp air you take into your lungs when you make it to a mountain’s peak
And then that of trash burning once you’ve descended

It’s something you hear
Like a taxi blasting famo music from its speakers
The crows of a senseless rooster around midnight
And every Lumela as you walk by

It’s something you see
Like the wearing of thick, colorful blankets no matter the season of year
The erected tents housing an entire village for a funeral
And a shepherd with his molamo as he guides animals to find scarce water

And, finally, it’s something that you feel
Like the stifling heat, bumpy road and immediate adjacency of neighbors on a taxi ride
The warmth of a hand shaking yours as it cheerfully greets you
And the ache of your heart when it’s time to leave.

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Lesotho has been the most beautiful of dreams and the worst of nightmares!

I won’t play up my time here and say it’s all been great and that you should be jealous; I’ve actually had some of the worst days of my life in Lesotho. I’ve also had many of the greatest memories of my life here as well. I can honestly look back at the past two+ years of my life here and say that I’m grateful for it all. I know I’ve grown in many ways and have gained so much here: travel opportunities, experience in many different fields, new friends and a big family. I can’t wait to come back again in the future!

The next time you hear from me, I’ll have visited Australia, England, Ireland, Iceland and Canada!

Till next time,

-Jody