Lumela (Hello) from Lesotho! I am exhausted after our second 12-hour day in the classroom. I might have mentioned before that we have 8 weeks of really long days to learn as much as we can before we are placed at our permanent sites. Today, we visited a preschool, primary school, and high school, which were about 40 minutes from where we are staying. The students were very excited to see us and immediately sang us songs at all three of the schools. The high school had several, one-story buildings with two classrooms in each. I think I counted 6 classrooms, plus a main office. The principal was very nice and seemed to have a genuine interest in her students, as did the other principals we met today. The classrooms were very empty, with a few long desks and benches for the roughly 35 students in each class. The primary school had far more students, because it is offered free of tuition. There were about 55 students in one of the 4th grade classes. The rooms were a little more decorated, but were still very empty. The preschool was the last school that we visited. There school was made up of two very small rondavil’s (homes made of clay and thatched roofing). When we got there, all 30, or so, of the young children were outside, so it was hard to imagine how they fit in the very small, round buildings.
We visited these schools to help us understand what a typical classroom looks like in Lesotho. We will also be living in these communities for two days and will practice teaching in the classrooms. I think we are doing this next week, which is really exciting! I will be working in the primary school and helping to teach levels 4 and 7, which are made up of children of all ages.
Once we got back to where we are staying, we ate a huge lunch with fish, beef stir fry (kind of), potatoes, salad, and squash. Right after lunch, one of the Peace Corps doctors came and explained all of the things in our medical kits. Our kits include everything from Pepto-Bismol to suntan lotion. She wanted us to explore our kits, which no one wanted to do, but made it fun by making it a game. She gave an orange to the first person to find the item she called out. I really didn’t win often, but I got an orange in the end.
After that, we had a tea break and then our 1.5 hour Sesotho lesson. They split us into groups of three for the next few weeks and I really feel like I’m learning a lot. My group’s teacher is N’tante Paul. So far, I’ve learned how to ask where, when, what, and how questions. I can also greet people and have a very simple conversation with them. It looks something like this…
U mang? (What’s your name?)
Ke abuti… (I am…)
U phela joang? (How are you?)
Ke phela hantle. (I am well)
Just a little sample!
The last thing we did tonight was to attend a Gender and Diversity workshop that was presented by two current volunteers. They had 4 charts made and asked us to discuss stereotypes and typical gender roles for men and women in the US and Lesotho. It was really interesting to hear how women are treated in Lesotho. Some Basotho were there to discuss gender roles for men and women in Lesotho. It was really difficult to hear them discuss the expectations for men and women from their point of view. It was interesting to see how similar the list was for men in the US and the men in Lesotho, and the women, too.
Now, it’s almost 10PM and we’re all exhausted. Hope everything is well at home! I LOVE seeing all of the comments you post! I hope this makes sense! It's really windy, which I love, but is making the internet really slow. If I can find a better connection, I will definitely put pictures up! They just aren't loading! I heard a hotel down the street has good internet, I might try to take a trip on Sunday!