Video Translation: Greetings, my name is Sister Thato Molisa, or in English, Sister Beth Spencer. I am a Peace Corps Volunteer. I live in Lesotho to work with MCCC, a support group that works to help orphans and vulnerable children in five village in the district of Botha Bothe. We live here (Lesotho is in southern Africa), but I am originally from New Hampshire. I arrived in Lesotho in June 2014. After ten weeks of Peace Corps training I moved to my village. I am happy to live in Lesotho. Thank you.
When I was facing my impending college graduation, one of my top interests was to join the Peace Corps. Philanthropy has always been a part of my life, but it was more than that. I wanted to face the challenges that come from leaving everything familiar to test yourself in a new place. I wanted to see the world. I wanted to expand my horizons.
What I did not want, however, was a commitment. And Peace Corps makes it very clear in the application and interview process that it is, in fact, a big commitment. So I withdrew my application during the medical review and found adventures closer to home with shorter contract lengths. I taught outdoor education and directed summer camp. I volunteered with a hospital construction team in the Dominican Republic. I sailed on tallships with teenagers challenging them and myself. I did relief work following Hurricane Katrina. I taught at an alternative boarding school that included stewardship as a major part of its curricula.
Throughout the decade following my graduation, the niggling idea that I was missing something by not embracing the challenge that living and volunteering abroad with Peace Corps offered. Thus, I found myself once again completing the rigorous application process (which has since been simplified) and eventually squealing with excitement at receiving my invitation to serve in the country of Lesotho as a Healthy Youth Volunteer.
After finding out where Lesotho is, I spent the next few months preparing for my departure while continuing to teach World Cultures and Senior Humanities at the Oliverian School. Moving to Africa for 27 months seemed to need more preparation then boarding a ship for 4 months. In addition to the obvious things, like putting my belongings into storage, packing, and arranging power of attorney, I wanted to ensure I saw family and friends. The hardest part of saying goodbye was the knowledge that some might not survive my service, including elderly grandparents and a father half a decade into a battle with cancer. Unlike ten years earlier, however, I never questioned whether this was the right decision.
|My host mother, two brothers, and me at a wedding.|
|With this guy as my brother, how could I possible leave|
Lesotho at the end of my initial service?
Peace Corps Service is said to be 27 months, including the three months of Pre-Service Training. Most of my peers headed home in July 2016, however, I extended my service and am currently serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer Leader. This has me working in my community about 40% of the time and working with the Peace Corps office 60% of the time. I will continue to work in Lesotho until August 2017.
Despite trading the ocean for a land locked country full of mountains, I am absolutely in love with my life in Lesotho. Although many people join Peace Corps fresh out of college, as I once considered, I am grateful I waited and gained greater insight and skills before moving abroad.
Kea Leboha (thank you in Sesotho)!
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