There is no easy way in Sesotho or English to explain to my local friends and family just how much I will miss them when I depart. Last week I attended a community gathering and tried to say in words exactly how important the community is to me.
To translate for you, I said:
Hello mothers and fathers. My name is Thato Molisa. I am a Peace Corps Volunteer in this village. I live here with 'M'e 'Masekila Molisa.
For the last two years I have worked with Marakabei Community Care Coalition to help orphans and vulnerable children in five villages.
We started a project making and selling achaar. Right now we are also starting an egg-laying chicken project. I help at clinic. I have worked with many children and youth. I taught life skills at the local primary school. I taught Grassroot Soccer, a program that uses games to help prevent HIV. I also worked with an HIV support group for teens.
After two years, the time has come for me to leave. I will leave on the 29th of November. I will be living in the Maseru district to work with Sentebale before I return to America in August of next year.
People of my village, thank you. Truly, you have helped me so much. I love to live and work here. You profoundly welcomed me. You made me part of your community. You protected me always.
I do not want to go. I will miss you always. But, I hope that you will welcome the two new volunteers that are coming: 'M'e Mosa and Ntate Mpho the same way you welcomed me in 2014. Remember, when I arrived, I only knew a little Sesotho. I would always say "bua hape" (say it again), "butle hle" (slowly please), and "he ke utloisisi" (I don't understand). I ask that you help them the way you helped me. They are excited to live and work with you. I know that you will love one another. Your children will speak English well and will gain positive life skills.
I will visit you when I return. Truly, I love you and I will miss you. My original place is Ha Rasekila. Thank you.
For a fun language comparison, check out the significantly shorter speech I made when I first arrived in the community two and half years earlier.