Two years

It’s not very hot, I thought scanning the environment. In the horizon large chunks of rock stuck out from the earth with patches of green scattered in between. I carefully walked down the airplane’s exit steps and walked to the airport, wondering who waited for us on the other side. Children still in their school uniform waved at us from behind a chain-link fence. This is it, I thought as I entered the terminal’s glass doors and began my life in Lesotho.

That was two years ago.

For the last 730 days, all I’ve known is Lesotho. The barking dogs and bleating lambs as my wakeup call. The bucket baths and drawing water out of a well as my daily routine. The Basotho family and Americans from mismatched backgrounds as my social circle. As my friend Katie put it at our mid-service conference in January, I am not sure when all this changed from foreign experiences to my life.

I was scared that first night in Lesotho. I unpacked my suitcase and then climbed into bed, wondering if I could actually live and serve here for two years. And yet I did.

It was far from a graceful two years. There were the moments I fell to the ground in tears, unsure of how I would get back up. The people who didn’t deserve my backlash when it appeared that everything and everyone were against me. I wish I hadn’t tried to force things so much, but instead ride out unfamiliar situations and learn from them. I could’ve been nicer, less consumed with myself.

Then there were the happy moments. Laughing with Maseeng as she explains “carrying a child for nine months is no child’s play.” Breaking out into a dance party with my students. Deep, meaningful conversations about love, life and work with other volunteers at 5 a.m.

No two years of my life have mattered or changed me more than this time in Lesotho. I can’t fully describe how they impacted me because I will continue to discover their meaning until the day I die.

All I know is that I am so deeply thankful for this time in Lesotho and all – the good and the bad – which it has given me. There is nothing I can say to all the people who’ve supported me throughout this time other than thank you. So, thank you.

Today may be a milestone, but it is not over yet. There’s still time to be immersed.

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