Archive for Juliana Fulton

Living by the seasons – 8 months for oranges

Juliana Fulton - American Lesotho Peace corpsIt’s orange season again.  I’ve waited for it for 8 months, and man was that first orange good.  It comes right after peach season.  After stuffing myself everyday with peaches that grow in every yard here, and I was ready for an orange.  We’re also getting into cabbage season.  I never would have thought I’d ever get excited about cabbage, but cooked with a little oil and spice—yum.

One of the things I love (and can also sometimes get frustrated with) living in rural Lesotho is that I eat according by the season.  It’s just what is available, what things grow here (and in neighboring South Africa, such as oranges) and when it is ready to be picked.  There is something really satisfying about knowing exactly where my food comes from, and often the exact person who grew it.  It makes me the food taste better, and it probably does have more flavor since it doesn’t have to be shipped far.

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Juliana’s Best Moments of the Past Year in Lesotho

Juliana Fulton - American Lesotho Peace corpsI have not written in a while because I’ve been on a wonderful vacation with my parents around Southern Africa.  So this is a post I’ve been meaning to do for a while, my favourite  moments from the past year, some of the reasons why I have fallen in love with my village and the people.

One of the orphans that lives alone with her 2 younger brothers and very small sister, once came up to my house with some peaches from her fruit tree to give me, very happy to share with me one of the very few things she has.

An especially quiet, lovely afternoon washing clothes in the river with my neighbour women as my dog splashes around in the water. Read more

50 Chickens! Likhoho li teng!

Juliana Fulton - American Lesotho Peace corpsAfter months of delay we finally got our layer chickens. The gardens of the community centre have also really started to grow. The chickens are going to provide eggs for the orphans and needy of the village, along with vegetables from the gardens.

We wanted to have free-range chickens and demonstrate how you can raise chickens without building an expensive concrete building. We built chicken tractors instead, enclosed chicken runs that are portable. After the chickens have eaten all the grubs and weed seeds on one spot we move the tractor/run to another spot and the previous one is fertilized and ready to be planted.

Although the tractors/runs are pretty simple, it’s taken many, many hours to build six, we still have one to go. We got layer chickens from South Africa. The chickens are a couple of months old and have lived in cages their whole lives. They had never seen sun or had the freedom of running around, and apparently don’t know what to do with it. One mme (woman/mother) from the support group that we work with joked that the chickens were like us Americans here, since after four days they are all still clustered in the shaded ends of the runs, apparently afraid of the sun, rain, and not being in a tight pack.

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Ha Mali Community Center Opening

Last week we had the new community center opening, and it was a big success!  After a very busy couple weeks of preparation and postponements, we finally were able to open the center and introduce its current and potential activities to the community.  We had about 200 people of all different ages come to the opening.  We didn’t run out of popcorn or fruit, and the drink mix was a surprisingly big hit and seemed to make up for the fact that there wasn’t any meat, which apparently is standard big event fare.

Kick4Life coaches leading children in a exercise

Kick4Life coaches leading children in a exercise

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Kea Kula – Donkey Transport!

Juliana Fulton - American Lesotho Peace corpsI recently got some pretty severe blisters on both feet. And while not a serious injury, the blisters were bad enough that I couldn’t really walk, and was reduced to hobbling around painfully. Through my “injuries” I got to see a side of my village that was really beautiful. Word that I was “sick” (the Sesotho word kula applies for skin injuries as well as normal sicknesses) got around the village remarkably fast, everyone I passed asked how I was doing and if my feet were better or cured. It was heartwarming to have so many people concerned about my well-being. The village support group is a group of women in the village that assists orphans, elderly and sick people in the village, and who I have worked a lot with. Two member of the support group came by my house to check on me and see if there was anything they could do to help. My host mother brought me water so I wouldn’t have to carry buckets from the river. She also helped bandage my feet, while it may seem a bit strange and wasn’t really unnecessary, it was truly nice to feel so cared for. It made me feel like a real part of the community, being included in their system of caring for each other. Read more

My Daily Walk through the villages of Lesotho

Juliana Fulton - American Lesotho Peace corpsI have an hour till class. I put down my book, I grab my worn, patched bag, I head out.

Down the slope, passing dry grass and old corn stalks, my shoes turning a brown to match the dirt. I pass a baby goat, chewing sideways, showing its small pink tongue. The wind blows at my skirt and I pass small children calling me. Where am I going, where is the candy, my name over, and over.

At the bottom, I stomp off some dust as I start down the paved road. My shoes crunching the uneven tarred gravel, dodging broken glass and manure scattered on the road. Read more

Our Ha Mali Community Center

Juliana Fulton   We are only a month away from opening the Ha Mali Community Center!  The idea for its creation came from hearing all the different problems facing the families in my village when I went door-to-door for my household survey.  My work at the schools didn’t seem to touch many of the problems the people in my village complained of: not having easy access to a clinic, not having jobs or training for them, the number of orphans living with elderly grandparent and sanitation issues.  What seemed to be needed was a center for outreach and skills training within the village.  World Vision recently built a pre-school, the only communally owned building in my village, and one that fit the outreach/ community center scheme perfectly.  Maliba Lodge’s Community Development Trust was equally enthusiastic about the idea and agreed to help with the funding and applied for another Peace Corps volunteer to help make it a reality.

Lesotho Peace corp volunteers at the Ha Mali Community center Lesotho

Lesotho Peace corp volunteers (Posto, Juliana and Maggie)

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Journal Excerpt from Sept. 1

Juliana Fulton - American Lesotho Peace corps[An excerpt from my journal for these past couple weeks]

Well I’ve been super busy, with 2-4 things to do every day for these past couple weeks. Today I had a meeting about the community centre in the morning (and building a seed bed) and two life skills classes at different schools this afternoon.

The community centre is really coming along. We’ve dug beds for 10 plots, 19 out of the 30 orphans showed up last Saturday and worked so hard, digging the stiff, weedy soil. It just looks like mounds of dirt, but I’m proud of the kids. I wonder what motivates them. It’s nice to think they’re invested in this project, growing food. We’re planning on planting the seeds this Saturday. The cabbage seeds are already in the seed bed. Regular watering is going to be a challenge. And we’ll see it the schedule to fix up the building this week actually holds. Next week we’re getting the gardening tools. It will be nice not having to borrow and carry them around (my shoulders are soar from carrying all those spades yesterday). Read more

What 24% HIV+ Really Means

Juliana Fulton - American Lesotho Peace corps

When I first signed up for my Peace Corps assignment, all that I was told was that I’d be in Lesotho, working with communities on HIV/AIDS. I was very excited about living in Lesotho, but less so about working on the AIDS pandemic. It just seemed like such a monumental and depressing task. We were told that the official prevalence rate was 24% of people in Lesotho were infected with HIV. It sounds like a lot, but it is totally different to be in the middle of it, to see all the sickness and death. It’s everywhere and it effects everyone. It has decimated such a friendly, loving people. After being here for a year and seeing its terrible pervasive effects, I wouldn’t want to focus on anything else. Even though the average family has 3-4 children, there is still negative population growth, it’s that bad.

In my village there aren’t really any good figures on how many people are infected. There is a lot of stigma and prejudice about being HIV positive, so most people won’t talk about it (which is a big part of the problem). But in my village of 204 families, there are 85 children who have lost one parent, and 33 children who have lost both parents and are still in primary/elementary school.Besides teaching about HIV in the schools, I am helping to start a community center in my village with funding from the Maliba Comunity Development Trust. Read more

Visiting a Sangoma – Beads, Bottles and Bones

Juliana Fulton - American Lesotho Peace corpsLast week I visited a sangoma, a traditional doctor, in the neighbouring village.  Traditional doctors get a lot of respect and have a lot of power in Basotho culture.  Not just political power, but actual magical power.

They can see the future and talk to ancient ancestors, even the recent dead.  They can cure people of bad luck and curses, as well as place curses on people.  It is generally thought that only the “evil” traditional doctors, called witches, will curse people.  Some curses can even kill the victims, lightning strike is a very popular method I’ve been told.  Luckily, there are no evil witches by my village, but there are several sangomas that do a good business in curing curses, illnesses (often caused by curses) and getting rid of bad spirits. Read more

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