Carnival at Baylor Clinic
On Wednesday we had the opportunity to spend some time with the kids at Baylor HIV/AIDS Clinic. For me, (Destiny) this experience was a really great way to think about my future as a Medical Professional. At first, we were able to tour the hospital, and we read some letters from some of the kids that were meant to be letters before birth. These were really hard to read because you realize that so many of these kids are wishing for parents and good health. I think when I am not studying or shadowing in the medical field, I tend to forget the more negative side of my future. However, when we began playing with the kids, giving them the little tattoos, and making them smile, I realized why I want to be a doctor. I want to have a part in making sure those kids get to play, laugh, and smile. The carnival was a really great experience that pushed me even more in the direction of my future.
For me, (Grace F) the experience was a little different. My focus while I was there was to really make the kids smile in whatever way they wanted; whether that be the rub on tattoos, making bracelets, or even giving them the crayons to keep at the end of the day. I thought it was going to be harder to see the kids at the clinic than it really was because I really was just playing and having fun with kids and making them smile and for those few hours they could forget just like I could about where we were. These children are so strong that having those few hours to be regular kids was all I needed to feel happy and have a successful day. There was a story from the tour of Baylor that has really stuck with me and that was of Sam, who was the translator for doctors and patients. The struggles he had to go through not being a medical professional, but working in that environment were incredible. I never thought that such a position would be necessary, but many of the doctors there are not Basotho and do not know Sesotho enough to explain the facts of the situations medically that are faced there. Sam did laugh and say that one day he would go to medical school because he did not want to keep carrying around a medical dictionary.
Destiny and Grace F.
On Thursday we hiked up Thaba Bosiu, exploring what’s well known as “the birthplace of Lesotho.” Thaba Bosiu is a sacred place for the Basotho people, it is the spot where Moshoeshoe upheld the kingdom of Lesotho. There are four ways up the mountain, and we went up one of the original ways, ignoring the manmade stairs next to us. It was utterly surreal being on that mountain and quite literally walking on history. Flashback to first semester of my freshman year I was sitting front row in Dr. Rosenberg’s history of South Africa class where he taught us the story of Moshoeshoe and Thaba Bosiu. Never would I have ever guessed that about one and half years later I’d be standing on the mountain I learned about, walking in the footsteps of these people, and seeing firsthand where Moshoeshoe lived and thrived. It was one of those goosebumps moments you only experience every once in a while, a moment that really takes your breath away.
In class, it was so hard for me to picture what we were learning and imagine these people and this mountain. I had images in my head but they were mental pictures of the drawings I’d seen. Now my head is filled with the real life images of the graves of all the kings of Lesotho, the fallen tree that was struck by lightening but still began to grow afterwards, and everything else in between. I think we all gained IMMENSE respect for the Basotho people and their culture as well as the mountain itself. Lastly, I think it’s safe to say our hearts will be left here in Lesotho, with these people, this mountain, and everything else within the breathtaking country of Lesotho.
Meeting the King
This morning after breakfast, a group of children and the director from Leratong community center, which was built by numerous Wittenberg Lesotho trips, came to show their thanks in the form of dance. They divided the groups into several sections by age and gender with unique dances from each group. The children from the community center have been receiving LNI meals for two years. These meals have a profound impact on the community. A local woman from Roma, who was 42lbs, was given LNI meals from Leratong at the request of the chief and she is now over 100lbs. She is living proof of the affect that LNI meals have on fighting malnutrition.
Later in the day, the King of Lesotho invited us to his private residence for a lunch fit for a king. After a brief introduction of the royal property, we sat down for a rather large meal. We had so much to pick from. They served us many culinary staples of Lesotho. They topped off the meal with a fantastic desert of cake and custard. After the meal, Her Majesty gave everyone a gift to thank us for our hard work we have accomplished in Lesotho. We closed off our meeting at His Majesty’s house with a photoshoot (with both individual and group shots). We ended the day with a food coma and a tour of the royal archives.
-Kinsey and Hannah