Friday, July 8, 2011

Peace Corps 50th Anniversary

This post represents a significant leap forward in time. Rather than fall behind in my blog even more than I already have, I decided to start posting our current adventures as they happen. I will fill in the missing past posts from September 2010 to June 2011 as I can, but at least from this point onward I can hope that I have stopped falling behind...

This year, 2011, marks the 50th Anniversary of Peace Corps. Throughout the year, events are planned here in Lesotho, where the Peace Corps has had volunteers since 1967. (Events are, of course, planned elsewhere across the world, too.) One such was put together in Butha Buthe by a small group of volunteers over the Independence Day weekend. The project was to paint a mural on the side of a building located at one of the major intersections in town.

Here are a few of those volunteers as they began the mural:

A few local residents joined in the fun, notably the young man on the right here:

Yes, that was my beautiful wife you saw in the background! And here she is joining in the work:

I even helped out a bit. My contributions were two. One, I went across the street and bought some tape to hold the sign in place. Here you can see me applying the tape. The sign reads, in part: "Re sebetsa moho." This translates to "We work together." Two, I baked the spiced chocolate chip cocoa muffins you can see the volunteers eating.

Here is the store where I found the tape (it does say "Where everyone is welcome"):

Of course, the mural did not constitute the entirety of the project. There were HIV/AIDS awareness activities, including a game where the prize was condoms:

And, of course, it was not all just fun and games. There were serious conversations about condom use:

And demonstrations, too (yes that is a condom in the volunteer's left hand):

Imagine standing on a street corner in another country and trying to engage total strangers in frank discussions of safe sex. Not easy. Yet the volunteers do this all the time!

Work continued on the mural all morning, though this is as complete as we saw it, since we needed to leave before it was done:

Nonetheless, it was great to be able to spend the time with this great group as they did some difficult and important work while also having fun playing (educational) games and painting (to celebrate Peace Corps):

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