Ha Sefako, Butha Buthe, Lesotho
I graduated from Penn State and currently live in Lesotho, Southern Africa as I serve in the Peace Corps!

My Lesotho Videos

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lumela!

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…

Lumela!  (Hello)

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!  

7 comments:

Caitlin said...

Mike - love the posts! Sounds like some long days though! Can't wait to hear where you are posted!! Much love, Caitlin

skstgrande said...

Michael,
I love to read your posts! Wanted to let you know Sammy is saving for his 2010 trip to the world cup. He wants to know if you'll still go with him and so far he has $50 saved! Woo hoo; almost there!
Love you,
Aunt Kelly

Kristalyn Preziosi said...

Mike! Loving the posts! Sounds like you are learning so much! What a great experience so far! I'm staring at my computer trying to speak the language, lol! Can't wait to see pictures! Love you!

<3Kristalyn

Mike's Dad said...

daD
,ouy evoL
.efas eb – nuf evaH .egaugnal rehtona ekil skool fo tros hcihw, sdrawkcab epyt nac I tub ,ohtoseL fo drow a wonk t’nod I .spacer yliad ruoy evol I .golb looc, ekiM yeH

Translated
Hey Mike, cool blog. I love your daily recaps. I don’t know a word of Lesotho, but I can type backwards, which sort of looks like another language. Have fun – be safe.

Love you,

Dad

Allison said...

Lumela!! Michael I miss you but it sounds like you are having a great time and learning a lot. I love to read your posts so keep updating them as often as you can! i cant wait to hear about your teaching in the schools!! miss you<3

Tara Lang said...

Not only like Kristalyn was I trying to speak the language, but also your dad's!! haha I'm glad I gave up and scrolled down to notice he translated it also! I love hearing about the schools and what you are doing in them. I can't even imagine what it's like to see what you are seeing. But I know you'll make a difference! Looking forward to the pictures when you find a good connection! xoxo

Laura said...

MICHAELLL!! I'm glad to hear you have a big grocery store. Seems comforting. BUT, I was reading about La-Sue-Too and I thought you would enjoy this even more...Levi and Russel Athletics both have manufacturing plants there. I know neither are your style but hey, if you need to go shopping!lol. Anyways, I hung our movie pictures on my desk at work as some inspiration to make extra money for a trip to Africa next year (which will happen). Love ya tons, be safe, and have lots of fun teaching all the little kids!!