He’d be a poorer man if he never saw an eagle fly

December 31st, 2012

These are lyrics to the John Denver song Rocky Mountain High, and I feel like they are the perfect words to wrap up the 2012 year.  Another year is over, a new one is beginning, and we all have experienced so much.  We have made new memories, made new friends, cherished the old friends, tried something new, taken a risk, traveled down a different path, or made our own path.  We all have spent another year as us, learning as we went along.  I know that since being in Lesotho, I speak for a lot of us when I say that we learned a lot.  During our meeting the other night, a lot of people were talking about their frustration at how we are here for three weeks making a difference, but then what?  What happens when we go home?  How can it be okay that we go home to so much and we still leave the Basotho with so little?  What can we take with us when we go home?

I know that something I’ve really come to realize in the last year is that we are here on earth for each other.  Life is about giving to others.  It is about giving yourself and your time.  One of my best friends once told me that the most precious thing that you can give someone is your time.  We are here in Lesotho, working on projects, building houses, painting classrooms, building playgrounds, dancing with kids, singing, playing soccer, and making them smile and laugh.  In doing all of these things, we are giving our time; that is worth a whole lot, and that is what we can take with us when we go home.  We can take the idea that it’s not about us, but it’s about what we can do for others to make their lives more joyful. We can continue to give, to care, to smile, to love.

There is a John Denver quote that I will always carry with me:  “I believe that we are here for each other, not against each other; everything comes from an understanding that you are a gift in my life–whoever you are, whatever our differences.”  This is what I want to take with me into the new year.  I want to take the focus off of myself and my stresses and put it onto others and what I can do to spread joy to their lives.  What is life without making people feel special?  What is life without relationships?  What is life without the people around you?  None of us are poor who embrace the people in our lives.  As we go into the new year, we should all remember that our lives are rich with friends and family and the amazing people that surround us.  As I sit here in Lesotho, I know I feel so incredibly blessed to be surrounded with the amazing people on this trip.  May we all enter the new year together, hand in hand, spreading joy to each and every heart around us.

Happy New Year from Lesotho :)

-Britt

P.S.  A few certain folk are really hoping that their parents record the ball drop since we won’t get to see that…just a heads up haha

Shout out!

December 31st, 2012

A big happy new years wish to my friends and family!!! i love you guys!

-Moriah. J

Happy New Year!

December 31st, 2012

As the year and our trip quickly come to an end it’s really nice to be creating new beginnings by making playgrounds for children.

 

Hope all is well back at home!

SUP FAM.

December 30th, 2012

HELLO WORLD.  It’s Erin(squared) and Jess B hurr to give some shoutouts to our families –

 

Harte Fam –

Hello Mom and Dad and Brian and puppies.  Sorry that I haven’t blogged yet at all, but this is probably the closest I will get.  I’m still alive and kicking, and working hard.  I climbed a huge rock today utilizing mainly my forehead and managed to scale a mountain without too many accidents.  See you all soon.  Love to you all.

Bat Fam –

Hey everybody!!! Hope you are all doing well and ready for the new year!! I am having a fantastic time and am excited about sharing all my stories with you! See you all soon and lots of love!! PS….Grandpa, just so you know, we have used the pocket knife and the survival kit many many times on the trip and everyone knows it came from Grandpa Floyd. Love you.

Row Fam –

Hello Mama Bets, Mac Daddy, and the bro. Hope all is well at home in the Chi-city. I know you are all missing me dearly…especially you Brian. Mom I hope you had a lovely birthday…just so the world knows,  you’re not a day over 30. I’m having a blast and can’t wait to see you all very soon! Love you! Peace and love, your favorite daughter and sister.

Sala Hankle Everyone!

CACHITA :)

Fun in the Sun

December 30th, 2012

Sunday, a day of rest. This morning we drove to Morija to hike a mountain to see some dinosaur footprints.  The footprints are from the Lesothosaurus, which happens to be a real dinosaur.  It was about an hour hike; the view was great and we all really enjoyed it.  We got back around 1pm and had lunch.  There were hot dog buns, but we weren’t quite sure what we were supposed to do with them…so some people got creative.

After lunch, some people went to nap or shower, but a bunch of us went to the pool.  Best. Pool. Party. Ever. At the pool, some people were reading, some were journaling, some were tanning, and some were in the water.  We started a game called Tips, which we played with oranges and apples since we didn’t have a ball.  It’s really nice to see how much we’ve grown as a group and how we’re interacting with people that we hadn’t interacted with before. It’s cool how this trip attracts a diverse group of people from Witt that might have never crossed paths otherwise. We all really feed off of each others’ energy and we’ve talked about wanting to continue to hang out and stay close when we’re back on campus.

Life is good.

-Emily and Britt

December 30th, 2012

Had I never been so naive enough to think that I could change the world, I never would have had the courage to apply to participate in this Lesotho service trip.  I never would have met a beautiful 6 year old named Kemeoue and I never would have known the smile I would be missing out on by not meeting her. I never would have made these relationships with my peers. I never would have helped build these homes and a green house and benches. I never would have helped turn a bare room into a preschool.  I may know differently now, but being naive enough to think that I could change the world at one point has led me to one of the greatest experiences of me life.

Hard Work Pays Off

December 29th, 2012

Today we went back to the two sites from yesterday, with some group changes so several people were able to work at both sites. One group went back to the greenhouse that just started yesterday, which got completed today! The plastic siding that was provided for us to nail on coincidentally were the colors of the Lesotho flag; green, white, and blue. We worked all morning to get the siding and roof up and we all enjoyed seeing the colors reflecting on the ground and children playing in and around the colorful new structure. It felt great to be able to complete this project in such a short amount of time since they have been asking for this greenhouse for 3 years. It will provide vegetables in the off season, be utilized as educating children in agriculture classes, and the proceeds will go towards supporting the community.

At the Kick 4 Life site the group completed the construction of the benches, painted them, finished digging a couple holes, made cement, and cemented the benches into the ground.

At both sites every project intended to be completed got finished and the group as a whole is really feeling a sense of accomplishment. Being able to visibly see the impact we are making on the community keeps us motivated and excited for the next project. Since we have been here for two weeks we have obviously been made aware of the poverty and daily struggles the Basotho face, but knowing that our hard work is at least helping some facets of their lives is giving us just as much as we have given, if not more.

We ended the day with a shopping trip to the Basotho hat shop, selling traditional Lesotho souvenirs like hats, tapestries, jewelry, pottery, weavings, etc. So parents, friends, and family prepare yourselves… we aren’t coming home empty handed!

Thank you to all of our loved ones who are supporting us and following our trip through this blog.

Ben, Michelle, Mary Ann, and Erin R.

Lumela! Meeting New People in New Places

December 28th, 2012

Greetings from Lesotho! Brought to you by Ashley Milliner and Alexus Chambers live from Roma! We experienced a high of 90 degrees, little wind, and no clouds… It was a fantastic day! Apparently, the weather at home is not so great haha. For today’s project we worked on a green house in a local village. We discovered that carrying cinder blocks up a hill is not as easy as it looks. However we found a new appreciation for hard work. The green house is coming along quite nicely (“it’s standing” says Alexus). We moved a lot of dirt from a hard rocky ground, cemented with our hands, and cut wood with saws. Not to worry all fingers and ligaments are still intact lol.

The highlight of our day was the humbled conversation we had with local Basotho and a Pastor named Peter. A 17 year old girl was astounded when she found out there are people from America with the same color skin as hers. Pastor Peter embraced us with open arms, “my beautiful sisters.” He was so happy to see the diversity amongst our group. This ties together the idea of what our trip represents by promoting diversity amongst everyone. Kaofela rea tsoana! (We are all the same).

Alexus would like to give a shout out to her family back home in Cincinnati, and Ashley would like to shout out to her family in Cleveland. We hope everyone back at home has a Happy New Year, since we will celebrate it first. Peace!

 

We’re still alive…14 days and counting!

December 28th, 2012

This is Mitch and Britt blogging to you straight from Lesotho, Africa!  In our first full day back at our home  base in Roma, our group split into two spirited cohorts (Britt’s word).  Britt’s smaller cohort went back to the Kick4Life site to dig more holes (never done that before…) and build benches for the facility.  We may have stumbled upon a rather large rock or two, but rest assured, Brittany and her pick-ax saved the day! Those rocks got nothing on Britt! Mitch’s slightly larger cohort traversed to a school in Maseru to begin building a greenhouse and chicken coup.  After some logistical issues in the morning, our group rallied in the afternoon and was able to lay a good foundation for  both projects.  They aren’t quite completed yet, but we’ll be returning over the next few days to finish the job.

Britt would like to give a shout-out to her mom, here’s the blog that you asked for :) slash I love you lots and hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Mitch had some wise words to say, but he forgot them. But he really loves his family. Finally blogged mom and dad. Hope you had a Merry Christmas, and Happy Birthday Dad (in 4 days).

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

Mitch and Britt

Mount Keketso

December 27th, 2012

Ramabanta was absolutely incredible.  Christmas was exactly what we needed since we were all away from our families.  The Rosenberg’s and “Santa” did a wonderful job making us feel like we were with our families.  My favorite experience up there was definitely climbing what we called Mount Keketso.  Luke, Travis, Chelsea, Vatalia, Aunt Leigh and myself climbed one of the mountain peaks off in the distance last Sunday. We decided to climb without a guide which actually turned out for the better.  There was a dirt “road” (more like a path) between the main road and the village at the bottom of the mountain so it was as fairly easy start.  Once we reached the village we met our “guide.”  There was a group of kids that talked to us as soon as we got to the village and we asked a couple of them the best way to head up the mountain.  Little did we know that a 12 year old boy would guide us all the way up the peak.  He turned out to be a blessing.  He took us up the “easiest” path and kept us away from the cattle herders and let us know where snakes were more prevalent.  The path up the mountain was not easy.  At some points I felt that I was climbing rather than hiking up the mountain.  Because of the elevation, we also had to make frequent stops for water and to get some air.  Once we made it to the top, three hours later, the views were breath taking.  We ate our lunch at the side of the mountain over looking three different waterfalls in the background.  This was where were able to really talk to our “guide” and get to know him more.  He told us that his name was Keketso and told us a little more about his life in the village.  Since we didn’t know the name of the peak we told Keketso we were naming the mountain after him because he was such a huge blessing to us.  The way down was MUCH easier than going up.

Climbing the mountain was the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Reaching the top I felt so relieved and so accomplished.  Once we came back we looked at the map and realized the peak we climbed was over 9,000ft up.  No wonder we had to stop so often! Knowing that only made it more rewarding!

Now I can’t wait to come home and take on other peaks in the US!

 

Shout out to all my family, Mom, Dad and Adam I love you and miss you all!!

Rachel