by MaryAnn Camp, Ha Rantubu, Lesotho
A Peace Corps Volunteer in Lesotho has to deal with the tremendous cost in lives due to AIDS. Near my village there is an orphanage with 300 children—most of them there because their parents have died of AIDS. There is a funeral every weekend (sometimes two). In my small village, people who are 24, 26, 28, and 31 years old are dying, and no one will admit it is AIDS. The denial goes on. Last week I stood at the graveside of one of the women in my sewing class. Mary was 34. Her 2-year-old and 6-year-old were at the graveside. I shall never forget the father helping his two sons with the shovelfuls of dirt. It is the custom for family members to put the first dirt into the grave. I didn't have to be a Mosotho to feel pain—it permeates everyone. AIDS is the silent killer leaving many children behind. What can we do? You—and me?
by Becki Krieg, Qacha's Nek, Lesotho
I joined the Peace Corps for many reasons. One of those reasons was to help people to get resources they didn't have, such as qualified teachers. However, after two years in Lesotho, I realize that the people of Lesotho have given me so much more than I have given them.
The people of Lesotho, called Basotho, are a very kind and sharing people. Many of them have so little, but they are willing to give it up for me, a stranger to their villages. Here is just on example:
Once I was traveling with some friends. We had to stop for the night in an unfamiliar village. The people of the village had very little. They use kerosene for cooking and heating. Yet there had been no almost kerosene in the village for a long time. When we arrived they gave up their last liter of kerosene so that we could cook. The chief of the village also cancelled a trip so she could stay and be sure we were comfortable and safe.
It felt as if all I had given the Basotho in my two years had been repaid in that one simple act at a time when I needed it most. In the United States we live in a fast-paced world. We are so busy that we tend to forget those around us. You don't have to give up your last liter of kerosene. But we can all learn a lesson from those kind and sharing Basotho. Help those around you. You never know when you will need help in return.
by Amy Bratsch, Ha Thamere-Qutin-Mt.Moorosi, Lesotho
Now I limit my entire water usage to one bucket of water every other day or even every four days. It has given me a new view on how precious water really is. I hope this experience will have an effect on how I use water in the future, especially when I return to the United States and live in a house with all the modern conveniences.