Monday, February 28, 2011

Happy Anniversary Peace Corps

Tomorrow, March 1st will be the 50th anniversary of Peace Corps. It all began with John F. Kennedy inspiring volunteers to serve overseas to promote peace. Throughout the past 50 years, Peace Corps has had significant changes that you can read about on the PC website, The history of this federal agency is very interesting and the reasons behind its establishment are more than you would think.

In Eugene there are two events going on. There is a rally at Broadway Square at noon and a party at 7pm. From the newspaper, PC website, and postcards, it seems like there will mostly be Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs). I'm sure there won't be too many invitees, but if there are, I'm super excited to talk to them. I'm also hoping to meet some RPCVs and hear about their stories. Richard will be coming with me, and lucky for him, he gets to hear even more about PC then I tell him already! Hopefully, we will see the RPCV that we saw present at the U of O over a year ago. I don't know her name, but her stories triggered me to start my PC application. Well, it was actually the fact that she went into her service in a relationship and was still with her partner at the meeting. I would like to talk to her or other volunteers that have had a long-term relationship while serving. I hope tomorrow will give me some good insight and I can't wait to be a part of the celebration.

Here is to 50 years of the Peace Corps! I thank the US for giving me the chance to serve in Lesotho.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More on Lesotho

The more I read about Lesotho, the more I get anxious to go. Although, I'm extremely excited about my adventure and I'm making sure to enjoy every day I have in the US before I depart May 31st. I'm lucky to have three months to spend time with the people I love and prepare for Lesotho!

I really don't know what my Peace Corps job will be like in Lesotho. I'm coming in as a business volunteer under the Community Health and Educational Development (CHED) program. Jobs can range from teaching computer and business skills, to helping people start businesses. Volunteers are also encouraged to promote HIV/AIDs awareness, which is something I'm highly interested in doing.

Addressing the issues of economic development and HIV/AIDs is ultra important in Lesotho because there is a high unemployment rate and around 30% HIV/AIDs infection rate. Almost half of Lesotho's economy is dependent on farming and animal husbandry. Their economy also consists of diamond mining, exporting water, and manufacturing. I've even read that there's a Levi's manufacturing facility in Lesotho. 

It's pretty tough to find information on Lesotho because it is so small and most guide books are on South Africa....but I'm still non-stop looking up as much as I can.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Some Research on Lesotho

Here's some information I've gathered from Lonely Planet, Peace Corps website, and various other sites.

Lesotho (pronouced Li-soo-too) is a small country within South Africa and is nicknamed 'kingdom in the sky'. Apparently, it's extremely mountainous which makes me happy because I'll be able to do some hiking. Pony trekking is quite popular there, too. I don't know if I'll be riding one of those poor little ponies. I'm sure they're much bigger than I'm imagining, but I'm a tall girl and I don't want to tip one over.  I'm sure I'll be cool with doing a lot of walking....I really hope I can get a mountain bike, but from what I've read on other blogs, you may appear well-off with a mtn bike. Peace Corps rarely allows volunteers to drive, so I won't be touching a steering wheel for over two years. I'll be quite the scary driver when I get back, but if I come back to Oregon I'll fit right in! If anybody has ever driven in Oregon you know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, more Lesotho facts.

  • Lesotho's population is approximately 2,067,00 and the capitol, Maseru has a population of around 175,000. I will most likely be living in a rural village or in a "camptown". 
  • The coldest part of the year is between May and September and temperatures can even drop below zero degrees. Lucky me, I get two winters! And everybody who knows me is laughing because I have some major circulation problems and am going to freeze my @$$ off! 
  • Which brings me to another fact about Lesotho, wearing blankets. Apparently, Basotho (people of Lesotho) wear wool blankets to display style and status. I'll surely be rockin an awesome wool blanket! 
  • It sounds like Basotho don't regularly eat meat because it is expensive and saved for special occasions. They mostly eat a cornmeal porridge with some vegetables.  Yumm!

I'll do some more studying and then report back. There are many serious facts about Lesotho, which I will most definitely touch on with future posts.