It is my custom when I arrive to meet individually with each staff. This is their time to use however they wish. They too are a product of the challenges our beneficiaries face.
When I first came to Lesotho in the early 2000’s, the life expectancy was 35. Now it is 46.
Each person has suffered so much loss. Some use their time with me to talk about their personal lives, get advice or a listening ear. Others talk about their professional goals and seek ways to grow. Some want advice on their children and relationships. Some confide issues that plague them emotionally. Giving everyone the opportunity to talk takes days but is a precious time for me personally and for each of them.
One of the new staff said:
“I still cannot believe – we all cannot believe the care and love we get at Help Lesotho. It is unbelievable to put us first, to put the beneficiaries first, that this is all for them. It has changed my life and putting this into practice changes everyone. They say – who are these people who are so kind and who honour us? ”
“I am so grateful to have this job. Now I can put bread on my family’s table. Before this there were many times when there was none. I have two younger brothers and one younger sister for whom I must pay schools fees and see them launched into life.”
“Help Lesotho makes my life to flourish!”
I think I am going to keep that line!!
Our new staff are struggling to handle the highly emotional content of our training sessions. Several wept at how touched they are by the pain our beneficiaries are experiencing and the joy of truly helping them.
One of our computer instructors spoke about an older man in our program. He is not clean or groomed, which is very unusual here, and has several disabilities – of sight, a tremor and he struggles to understand. Perhaps he has not gone to school. When a point is explained clearly and presented in a large font, he gets it and remembers it. He is trying so hard. He wants to learn computers so that he can write a story book. He was so grateful and excited to be selected for the program that he came three hours early the first day. He still comes two hours early every day to sit outside and contemplate this magnificent learning experience he is fortunate enough to have. He simply cannot wait.
Of course I had to meet him.
(Katiso with Thato Jr.)
His name is Katiso. He is 41 years old with cerebral palsy. He loves to write stories and volunteer at his church.
When one sees how hard it is for him to articulate his words so that others can understand, it becomes so much more clear why learning to type will give him a whole new world of communication and self-expression.
Two of our grannies died this quarter. There is so much sadness.
I leave for the airport within the hour to fetch our special guests who are coming to explore our work and this magnificently beautiful country with me. We have two guests from Toronto – Susan Richardson and Carmen Piche; one from Huntsville – Carol Gibson; and five from Ottawa – Hugh Dorward, Cathy Steele, Marianne Feaver, David Esdaile, and Jennifer Parr, who was our Board Chair for ten years and an enormous help to me for the past decade. I think this is Jennifer’s 5th or 6th time in Lesotho! She has a Basotho daughter, Thato, whom she sponsored as a child and who is now in university and a mother of a young daughter.
We have many exciting adventures planned and I so look forward to sharing my love of Lesotho with them. More on that later….
Thank you for the feedback on my letters, it is lovely to touch base with you and to know your thoughts.
My very best to you all,
As Help Lesotho’s Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Peg Herbert spends at least two months a year living and working in Lesotho. As a Canadian exemplifying what good international development looks like, Peg shares her experiences through ‘Letters from Lesotho’ so we can all get a glimpse of what makes Lesotho such a special place.
If you would like to connect with Peg about her letters: