Archive for America Peace Corps

The Rewards and Frustrations of Working in Rural Schools in Lesotho

I’ve been teaching and working at the local schools in rural Lesotho for six weeks now, walking up to seven miles a day while rotating between the schools.  Teaching has been going very well, but at first it was overwhelming.  The first class I taught had over 120 students in it, the principal wanted grades 4 through 7 to attend the first class.

I had not prepared for that many students and had to improvise my lesson.  I talked to the principal after class and we agreed that I would just teach life skills to 6th and 7th grades, still close to 50 students, but much more manageable.  The kids are very receptive and ask a lot of questions.

The younger students have trouble with English, but luckily at the two primary schools at least one teacher attends my class and is able to translate (while at the same time learning how to teach life skills themselves).  At the secondary school the teachers are much less involved, but the students are more advanced and have been really great.

Life skills cover topics such as HIV/AIDS, self-empowerment, gender, reproductive health, etc.  I often sound like a cliché after school special, overly simplifying everything so that the students can understand.  One of my classes was on self-esteem, for the next week kids in my village would come up to me and say “I love myself!”  I’m not sure if they understood, but it was nice to hear. Read more

Sounds of Village Life

Juliana Fulton - America Peace Corps volunteerMy village has a kind of rhythm and sound that has begun to sound and feel like home.  It is made up of cowbells, distant women singing, children shouting and crying, dogs barking, sheep bleating, metal pots clanking and sometimes an unusual birdsong.

It might be because my village is on a steep hillside facing a mountain, but all the noises echo off the mountains and blur into a type of music.  It’s always changing and make the village feel alive.  At dusk when everything is settling down it seems beautiful and peaceful.  About half an hour after dark all the noises stop except for some insects. Read more

Village Life – from the point of view of an American Peace Corps Volunteer

Juliana Fulton - American Peace CorpsI’m a 23 year-old university grad student from suburban America, who has come to live in a rural village in Lesotho, southern Africa for the next two years.  I’m often asked why I became a Peace Corps volunteer, giving up the comforts of home, flush toilets and electricity, and good salaried jobs, to come live in developing Africa.  I still find it hard to explain, I’m here to help people who haven’t had the advantages that I’ve had.  I’m here for the adventure, to experience the real world outside of my sheltered American college town.  I’m also here because I want to work in international development and believe that living in a community in a developing country was the best way to really understand them.  Most Peace Corps volunteers go to their sites with lofty goals, hoping to make a big difference, to build a community centre or help stop the spread of a disease.  My aspirations are much simpler, to make small improvements in the lives of the people around me.  I’ve been in Lesotho for three months, and they’ve already changed mine. Read more

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