Puppy Adoption

In Lesotho people simply do not keep dogs as pets. Dogs are beaten and stoned in my village. Owners do not feed their dogs, rather dogs are left to fend for themselves.

Trying to adopt a dog here isn’t simple. I’ve divided it into several stages.
Stage one:
Explaining that in America we love animals, especially cats and dogs but some people even keep snakes and spiders as pets. I talked to my counterpart about how much I love dogs and how I want one. I asked my family’s permission to have a dog and they said yes. #BOOM
Phase two:
I’m currently in this stage. Finding the right puppy. A store owner I’m friendly with recently had a litter. I’ve stopped to admire the dogs a few times and today he said I could have one for free. I’m trying not to get too attached in case my puppy doesn’t survive long enough to take home.
Phase three:
getting my family and community used to the idea of me feeding my dog. Also getting them used to me letting the dog inside (which will be harder).
This will probably never happen. People will always think I’m very weird for having a dog. Even stranger for not beating it. And possibly offended that I feed it. And downright disgusted that I let it inside.
Some volunteers have had animals killed by community members. Partly out of jealousy and partly because they just don’t think it’s right.

I’ll keep you all updated as the story of my new best friend unfolds.

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Walk to Ha Nyane

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A couple road signs explaining why it takes so long to go a short distance in Lesotho.

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See how the road winds.

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Frozen natural spring.

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A cell tower and power lines. A small hut in the middle with access to neither, living in poverty. One of the ironies of a developing nation.

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Mr. Piggy all pimped out with his car.

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Gorgeous plowed farm land.

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Controlled burning of old crops.

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Mountainscape and traditional hut.

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The back of some electrician’s truck.

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My shadow.

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Phase II assignments from Peace Corps, the Cab, and making dinner.

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All that was left of my papa, moroho le nama when I remembered to take a photo. Delicious!!

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Boys Don’t Cry

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My little brother was hanging out with his older sister and me as we worked on homework. He took a pen and kept try to write in our notebooks. I eventually gave him his own piece of paper, not wanting to deter his interest in school work.
He began writing out A B C D, repeatedly in his adorable 4-year-old hand writing. Then he scribbled all over and lost interest in the paper. I decided to entertain him by making a paper airplane. He protested but I insisted. I threw the airplane across the room and looked to him expecting excitement. Instead he rushed to the paper and carefully undid the folds. As he smoothed out the paper I saw a single tear rolling down his cheek. I instantly felt terrible. I realized how important his scribbles were to him. I apologized and my sister was shocked. She told him to stop crying and said I should ignore him. Boys aren’t supposed to cry and adults never have to apologize to children.

But I did apologize. And I think I made it right by giving him a new piece of paper. This was a very foreign thing to do. Often in Lesotho adults and authority figures don’t admit they’re wrong or correct mistakes. If police pull you over for no reason they might hold you for hours then let you go with no apology. Teachers make mistakes marking papers. Parents may give out unjust punishment. Children and subordinates are supposed to accept whatever their authorities do or say without question even when it’s unjust.

My sister brought home her English quiz. She had made two small errors in spelling and grammar but her mark was 68%. She can’t complain. She can only accept and be thankful she passed.

Obviously injustices like this don’t happen to everyone. And certainly this adult behavior is not limited to Lesotho. I have experienced similar issues in America. I think authority can still be held while admitting wrong and correcting mistakes. I hope to exemplify this in my life here in Lesotho. But I’m not just here to teach, I’m here to learn. And my little brother taught me a very important lesson.
It was so cool to see a young child cherish a chance to draw and write. Paper isn’t common. Neither are pens.
This adorable brother of mine, Katleho, taught me a good lesson about resources in Lesotho and the value of being able to write.

Posted in cross-culture, Healthy Youth (HeYo), literacy, PCV Update, Take Action | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#babysteps

I just got excited because I recognized my host mom’s voice. Then I started thinking about how much moving into a new culture makes you a baby again.
I get really excited when I know how to spell little words or when I recognize what people are talking about. It’s really rough losing your independence. I don’t know how much things should cost, leaving me vulnerable to being taken advantage of. (Which has happened.) It’s rough not knowing the neighborhood, not knowing who to trust yet. I feel childish.

The best way to survive is to laugh at the situation and laugh at yourself. A good sense of humor will get you a long way.

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An Open Letter to Sam and Frodo

Dear Frodo and Sam,
What’s up with you guys? Sam used to work for you, but he still calls you master… but he was never a slave. And even if that is how you hobbits address your bosses, Sam, you’re no longer employed. And even if the habit lingers shouldn’t it die off after all the stuff you go through together? Your relationship is extremely unprofessional. You’re best friends. And even though Sam keeps calling you master, it’s clear Frodo that you are not in charge. You and Sam have a loving and equal partnership. Very loving. I mean look at Merry and Pippin. They’re best friends too but we don’t really see them cuddling. Are you two a thing? Is this a sub dom relationship? I just think a lot of us readers are puzzled by the nature of your relationship. I for one would really like to know what makes you more than friends.
Thanks,
Jenea

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Get out there!

Tsemea!
Getting out of the house can be a big struggle for volunteers. I didn’t understand this before I arrived in Lesotho. But now I get it. People are so welcoming and friendly! But it can be overwhelming especially at the early stages of learning the language. I’m just not sure what to say to people. I know how to introduce myself, explain what Peace Corps is and what my work is here, where I live, what I’m cooking, and how to ask for directions, food, water or shelter.

It’s really not much. I’m currently studying how to talk about the weather so I can make small talk.

Ultimately I end up feeling on display. Like a zoo animal. They call this the fish bowl effect. My family wants to show me off. Villagers want me to sing and dance. It’s fun when you first arrive and you’re eager to share your culture. But trust me, after 10 weeks of training… all you want to do is go home to rest. You feel like vacation is over and you want some normalcy back in your life.

Your permanent site should be home. It’s home for the next two years. And all you want is to feel like a normal person. But you’re not. You’re a foreigner. People stare and laugh everywhere you go. The urge to escape into books for hours to hide is very strong. I give in a lot.

Every volunteer has to decide for themselves the right choices to make about how best to go about integration. I guess my point is that I judged before I knew what it was like. And now I get it and I want to get the word out: let each Peace Corps volunteer make their own choices. Good luck to us all!

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#classroom #swag

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Cute classroom in Lesotho where I had a meeting with some CCMs!

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Very impressive resources!

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N is for nku!

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This poster says: I love my grandmother very much!

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We got a little snow today :)

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Cows heading home last night.

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Me, bohobe (bread), and my burglar bars. #nomakeup #nofilter

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