Saturday, November 21, 2015

Site Visit

My host father is in the foreground.  Sekonyela H.S. is in the background.

After an incredibly painful three day conference, I finally got to travel to my site.  I live with the village chief in the mountains of Popa, Mokhotlong.  My house is at 7500' elevation so I will enjoy the cool summers and cold winters, while still having a similar latitude to that of San Antonio, TX.

The school has just under 500 students, grades 8-12.  The staff is very young and progressive in their teaching methods.  The school is fairly high tech for Lesotho standards.  We have a science lab with gas, water, two microscopes, a fair amount of chemicals, and six computers, which are not working currently.  The school just got a projector for multimedia applications and movie nights after school and on weekends.  There is an all girls boarding house on the grounds, where 80 or so girls stay during the school year.  Some kids have up to a two hour hike in order to get to school by the 7:45 assembly.

Close up of school as viewed from my house.

The village of Popa consists of 36 "houses" and around 16 families.  Most of the people in the community are subsistence farmers and herders.  There are many herd boys in the area, who do not attend school or drop out early on to help their families earn a living.  There is a need for a youth group so kids can interact with each other instead of just goats and sheep.

Young Mosotho herd boy I came across on a hike.  He was taking care of a herd of goats with his little whip.

In spite of my rural location, there is a dam in the region, which supplies electricity to the city of Mokhotlong.  The lines pass close to my house so I may have electricity soon (note "soon" is even more of an ambiguous term in Africa if you can believe that).

There are roughly ten volunteers in the entire district (just for reference there are 40 or so Leribe and Maseru).  We are all very spread out and access is limited.  My nearest site mate Rob, cool dude, lives to the right of the 9000' peak on the left of the picture above.  It is a three hour hike or four hour taxi ride for me to get to his place.

Overall I am extremely happy.  I got the exact job and country I requested with the Peace Corps and I got the exact site and school I wanted.  I feel very blessed.

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