"We're in the middle of a village practically no one has ever hear of, in the middle of a country no one's ever heard of," my teammate Anna reminds me, as we watch the sun fall behind the Lesotho mountains. That was during our two week homestay experience; full of but not limited to: new food, (lots of a pap- a sort of maize mashed potatoes), packed taxi rides, one failed donkey ride, a bit of language confusion, laughter of course, water and firewood transportation via head carrying, a long walk with a large pack, chicken chasing, the occasional spider sighting, many bucket baths, and a lot of down time with my bible.
The four weeks after included: a happy team reunion, still lots of pap, dog petting, church greetings, a hike up and down snake mountain, compost making, compost turning, sorgum chopping, weed walking, creating a volleyball court, playing volleyball, contraction of and recovery from scabies (not me personally), cold pizza and golf cookie parties, night-time card games, songs of praise, mosquito spray, movie watching, black jack removal, varnishing window panes, trench digging, playing in the river, rock collections, bible story skits, cotton ball racing, and picking pepperdews. It all adds up to one phenomenal, spiritually stretching experience.
Never have I been surrounded by such striking beauty and never have I missed home so much. There were times when I thought, "Okay, I've had my little African adventure, I'm done." Though sometimes I feel as though I'm ready to be done here, I know God's not done with me here yet- and I can't wait to see what He has planned.
Despite the homesick feelings, I'm still going to miss Lesotho very much. One thing I've learned is that you cannot tread lightly when forming relationships. You just can't. You either commit fully and have your heart broken at goodbye, or lack a complete relationship and leave dissatisfied.
One moment in my relationships in Lesotho happened after planting oats in a field of black jacks. (Black jacks are a nasty weed with velcro like qualities in their needle like seeds. Getting them on your clothing is a pain.) After planting, I was in full porcupine mode, having been covered, particularly on my socks, by black jacks. I sat down for a rest in between Kendra's host sister, Ntsatsi, and my host sister, Mastona. Ntsatsi had started to pick out my quills. She then removed my left shoe, which Mastona echoed with my right. Then Mastona took off my sock. Ntsatsi did the same. Once they had finished picking black jacks, Ntsatsi brushed off my foot and placed my sock back on. It all reminded me of John 13 when Jesus washes his disciples' feet. How encouraging it was to see Jesus through me new friends.