At the onset of 2015, I remember sitting outside with my feet in the dirt enjoying a mug of care package coffee while writing fifteen resolutions. I carefully recorded them on the inside cover of my journal…
…The same journal that I filled completely by the end of March.
…The same journal that I sent home with my sister in August.
So, here I am a year later, reflecting back on my success with the three resolutions I remember. Two of the three connect to communication: to write and mail 50 letters during the year and to publish 50 blog posts. I stopped by the post office the other day with the final three letters in my 50 letter goal! And, this is blog post number 53 for 2015, so I would say those two goals were resounding successes.
The other resolution I can recall, I deliberately decided against fulfilling in mid-June after wrestling with it for six months. Within two weeks of writing I would remain on the African continent for the entirety of 2015, my wonderful friend Sara told me she was engaged…and getting married in October. For six months, I was determined not to go to Sara’s wedding, however, I struggled more with this possibility than any other decision I have made in the last few years. Finally, I decided Sara was more important that any resolution or the amount of money it would take to get home.
While I have no idea how I did on the remaining resolutions, I managed to keep a container of highlights as the year went on. I regularly added to it as things happened that made me happy. Here is a sampling of the stack of paper scraps currently filling my jar:
- Abuti Polau’s excitement in telling me he saw me on TV with the Queen after Camp GLOW
- Hanging out with fellow PCVs Eric, Emily, and Nick in the evenings during a Sesotho language workshop
- Movie nights with my brothers (we love the tiny screen of my tiny tablet!)
- Ntate Mphatsoe (my supervisor’s adult son) worrying I am unhappy because I have been losing weight
- Ntate Fifty guiding me through my first Basotho funeral
- Learning to make motoho (sorghum porridge) with ‘M’e ‘Masekila
- The Butha Buthe PCV Food and Drink
The BB Crew in March
- Ntate Lefu (a villager who also drives a taxi) insisting on giving me a lift because of rain
- Baking with Abuti Polau
- Visiting Lisa in Mokhotlong
- Phone time with my sisters
- Playing with Ausi Princess and Ausi Lerato in the back of a car for hours while waiting for their parents
- Playing cribbage with PCV Amanda
- Baylor’s HIV-positive Teen Club
- Visits from the area police (they’re hilarious!)
- Natasha's betrothal party
- Having a GLOW meeting with PCVs Megan and Sarah only to have four campers from last year coming running up to greet us.
- Kathy and Africa
- The amusement of village girls when I carry water on my head
- Walking to the shop with Ausi Nthabiseng then playing and running back while villagers laugh at my acting like a five year old
- Being greeted by name by many people when in the camp town
- Abuti Thajane and his guitar
- Potato blossoms (seriously, they’re gorgeous)
- Playing ball at dusk with my brothers after Abuti Polau knocked to show me a frog trying to visit me
- My Dad voice messaging me on my birthday…at 12:30am his time!
- Everything during my trip home
- My friend’s Fourth of Jubrai gathering (brai is barbecue in southern Africa)
- Being a resource volunteer at PST
- Sitting outside drinking coffee and talking with Abuti Thabo
- Surprising a Jackal Buzzard in the donga
- Laughing with Dr. Olga during a simple medical appointment
- Talking in only Sesotho for a 45-minute walk with ‘M’e ‘Mat’sotello
- ‘M’e ‘Mat’sotello remembering our conversation from two weeks earlier and asking me about how Camp GLOW went
- Birthday cake from my host grandmother
- Joking around with a local shopkeeper about the rain (so last year…since we never have it now!)
- Young children screaming “Ausi Thato” every time I approach
- The women and litolobonya at a village party
- Thunder reverberating off the mountains for over an hour before the rain arrived
- Abuti Thabo calling me when I was away for a weekend “because he missed me”
- The Standard 7 students singing to thank me for teaching them
- A half day visit in all Sesotho with my supervisor and her friends
- An old man telling my brother I needed to be escorted home, not realizing I was with my whole family and we could see me house
- Bringing Flat Stanley to school with me
- The Standard 7 students telling me that my life skills classes helped them on their national exams
- Abuti Thabo calling me his “wonderful sister” every day
- Getting on a taxi and having the driver, conductor, and half the passengers greet me by name
- Arriving at a GEL Committee meeting and being attacked with hugs
- Nick’s surprise birthday party with Emily and Mackenzie
- Abuti Thabo waking me up as he left for school (before dawn) to tell me he would miss me while I was at PST
- Making Vaseline with Bo-‘m’e
- Playing with Ausi Tsietso during MCCC meetings
As I reflect back on 2015, I do not regret the missed successes of those forgotten resolutions. But I cherish the PCVs and Basotho who made even the simplest walk through the village or into town special. This year has been all about relationships, whether maintaining them through mail and blogs or building them through conversations in a language I continue to study, I am honored to have so many incredible relationships in my life.
Happy New Year!