May 25, 2003 - Personal Web Site: Jenn Ruth, Peace Corps Volunteer Lesotho - Jennifer Ruth is a Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho, Africa

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Lesotho: Peace Corps Lesotho : The Peace Corps in Lesotho: May 25, 2003 - Personal Web Site: Jenn Ruth, Peace Corps Volunteer Lesotho - Jennifer Ruth is a Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho, Africa

By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 9:34 am: Edit Post

Jenn Ruth, Peace Corps Volunteer Lesotho - Jennifer Ruth is a Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho, Africa

Jenn Ruth, Peace Corps Volunteer Lesotho - Jennifer Ruth is a Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho, Afr...


Entry: 17

Date: 23 April, 2003

Location: Ficksburg, RSA

Re: Peace Corps Simulation

Many of ytou have asked to a "Day in the Life" of my experience here, so I have concocted a New York City simulation for any of you unwilling to sign on the dotted line but interested in the experience nonetheless...

- Fail to pay your electricity bill and don't harass you landlord to repair your plumbing so you are forced to go without

- Tape record Animal Kingdom, especially the soung the donkies mating, and play it time after time

- Hang a sign around your neck that says "MADE OF MONEY" and stroll through the slums

- Eat rice, field corn (FIELD, not sweet) and beans (the dried ones that you have to soak all day long)

- Wait for a subway at rush hour. Choose only the cars that literally throw people out because they are too full, then squeeze your way on

- Visit a soup kitchen. Hide in the corner to make your own meal...a pizza for which you have saved up to buy mozerella. Now try not to share.

- Go to a gym with a nazi-instructor who tells you you look "5 months pregnant" (I recommend replying with "you look five years overdue"'s happened)

- Check your mailbox every fifteen minutes

- Find the most adorable 3 years old on the planet and teach her to say "What's up, dudette?"

- Take a sponge bath in your kitchen

- Don't go outside after dark...your neighborhood has convinced you that you will be raped and murdered

- Survey local postmasters who will only give you packages that say |Jesus=Love" on the front (see Dan for instructions)

- Realize that you are making the world a better place by simply being who you are

- Look in your billfold, find $1, and figure out how that is going to last you for a week

- Substitute the internet with an almanac

- Ration macaroni and cheese for when you REALLY NEED IT

- Realize people are doing the best they can with the tools they have

- Try to understand that your most direct route to saving the world is giving someone with HIV a free condom or telling a malnutritioned, beaten up child that her life has hope

- Send a decline RSVP to your best friend's wedding invite

- Lie in bed and relive your favorite memories time after time, night after night

- Tell the boy that you're crazy about that you will see him in 10 months

- Lock yourself in the closet and revel at the silence

- Go to Barnes & Noble. Buy the fattest book you can find. Read it.

- Sleep until you can't sleep anymore

- Go to bed at night being proud of yourself for doing all you could do that day, no matter how little it seems

- Have your sister call you on your cell phone. When she gets to the good part, walk down the subway stairs

- Go to the planetium at the Natural History Museum. Drown out Tom Hanks' voice and pretend you are on your front step.

- Think to yourself how far you have come in the few years you have lived

- Have your great-cousins husband's 7th grade class write letters detailing what a great thing you are doing for the world and try to live up to it.

Now make fun of me for knitting so much! Hope you are all well. Love and miss you gobs.


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Entry: 18

Date: 20 May, 2003

Location: Maseru, Lesotho

Re: Crisis in Paradise

I am 3/4 the way through my southern Lesotho tour, pawning off cookbooks and having a ball. In fact, I had drafted this update to share with you some lovely experiences of this adventure. Unfortunately, the past 48 hours of my life have been dramatic (to say the least) and I feel that I should share this experience before I am able to return to sound mind to share the beauty. I will try to use humor...if I have learned only one ting here, it is that humor is your best hope for making it through.

On Saturday, I ventured out to the mountains to visit my friends Jen and Kara in Semonkong. Semonkong is a beautiful village turcked in a valley near the biggest waterfall in southern Africa (save Vic Falls). Our other friend, Ann, was also visiting at the time. Ann had sefuba (a common cold) and was generally feeling down, so we enjoyed a pretty mellow weekend of chatting and napping and being lazy. Sunday night, Kara, Jen and I drank ourselves silly while Ann nursed herself with eccinechia and goldenseal. Suddenly, she expressed that she thought she was going to be ill and needed a basin in which to vomit. We scurry around and bring one to her, only to find she has turned white as paper and her lips are purple brown and she has lost all consciousness. I have never seen anyone look so dead in my entire life. Jen stayed behind to support her while Kara and I take off in our socks, in the middle of the night, to find help. Kara lives on a mission, so we were able to raise the priest who regretted to tell us that the only vehicle was broken down. There are no phones in Semonkong. The closest is in Roma, 2 hours away during the day when transport is available. Not in the middle of the night. Suddenly and completely uncharacteristically, headlights appear...there is a car coming! Without considering who is probably in this car, I run to it pleading for help. It was then that I found three drunk men who seemed deaf to our pleas and instead saw us as a quick date. After realizing the danger, Kara and I take off to debate the backup plan, only to find the men following us. They assure us they will help us, but continued to be creepy. And that was when my world fell apart. Never have I felt so completely helpless. My friend was about to die and I felt sure that these men were going to rape and kill us and there was absolutely nothing that I could do. They followed us back to the house, being creepy the entire way, and Kara and I felt sure that we were going to walk in and Ann was going to be dead. Fortunately, she was still breathing. Jen, Kara and I were hysterical. The men instructed us to heat water and stay calm, all the while flirting with us and appearing not very concerned about Ann. It turns out they work for some development agency and had been trained in this (thought it sure as hell was not apparent) and they made us do paperwork (imagine that in the situation!). Finally, after an hour of pleading, they agreed to take us to the lodge where Kara and Jen are friends with the owners who could help. We get to the lodge and Kara and Jen go to find Simon (the owner) while I stay with Ann and the men. One of them asked if he could get her phone number and give her a call sometime while she was comatose! Another tried to argue with me about American aid in Lesotho during all of this. Finally Simon appeared and we got Ann to a room where we could get her warm and she started to come to. Simon got rid of the men. Ann slowly started to fell better and was able to communicate that other than the short time that she was completely out, she had been fully aware and simply unable to move at all during the escapade. We worked on getting her rehydrated and keeing her warm. We had to wait until morning to get outside help. Fortunately, the lodge had just purchased a radio system wherein you contact Capetown and they can call the number you give them and speak directly. I called Peace Corps and they came out immediately. Kara, Jen and I have never been so relieved to see a white land cruiser approach. We literally sobbed with relief and trauma and fear. Peace Corps transported us immediately to the T House in Maseru, taking Ann on into Bloemfontain where she is in the hospital and a neurologist is with her. It appears as though she is going to be okay. Kara, Jen and I are still completely freaked out. Volunteers are calling us the PC ER team. I feel as though I am doing a completely inadequate job of explainging the situation, but I am still in somewhat of a trance myself. There was not a worse place this could have happened, nor worse timing. I felt utterly alone and helpless. I thought I was going to be killed while my comatose friend sat suffering. There was nothing we could do.

So I guess, in case there had been any doubt, I am officially a Peace Corps Volunteer now....having survived one of all PCV's greatest fears. I am heading down to Joan's this afternoon -- wanting to get away from an environment where I am constantly having to retell the story and going to a source of support and comfort. My return to site date has been a bit delayed (PC is having me go speak to a counselor because of the trauma) so I will be home next Wednesday and will try to update my page with nicer stories then. Until then, stay safe and ALWAYS HAVE ACCESS TO A PHONE!



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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Lesotho; PCVs in the Field - Lesotho



By Paul Yandre on Monday, July 14, 2003 - 9:38 am: Edit Post

I have a friend who was posted to Lesotho about a month and a half ago and I and his friends do not have a mailing address for him. He telephoned the other day and advised that ordinary post was a better way to communicate with him than email, but he did not give me his mailing address. Does anyone know what the mailing address is for Peace Corps Volunteers in Lesotho? If you do, please email it to me. Thanks.

By Meredith Cooley ( on Monday, January 19, 2004 - 9:37 pm: Edit Post

I just got my invitation to serve in Lesotho starting June 7th 2004. The "Mountain Kingdom" is not what I had expected when I marked AFRICA as my preferred region -- lesson one in expectations!! I'm somewhat in shock....any advice? I'd love to hear from current/recently returned volunteers!

By Meredith Cooley ( on Monday, January 19, 2004 - 9:37 pm: Edit Post

I just got my invitation to serve in Lesotho starting June 7th 2004. The "Mountain Kingdom" is not what I had expected when I marked AFRICA as my preferred region -- lesson one in expectations!! I'm somewhat in shock....any advice? I'd love to hear from current/recently returned volunteers!

By Salim ( - on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 5:15 pm: Edit Post

Cultural Experience

For those of us (perhaps only me) who becomes friends of PCV whilst they complete their 2 year ‘cultural’ and ‘career enhancing’ experience, the RPCV website is nothing but a confirmation that the PC experience is a self centered celebration of American individualism. I have been ‘friends’ and have helped many volunteers survive the experience in Lesotho with no expectations – other then friendship. Whilst I would continue to help and be friends, the expectation of a friendship beyond the years was wishful thinking. Knowing that I was only part of the cultural experience does not feel good … ..


By willmccafferty ( - on Thursday, October 14, 2004 - 11:23 pm: Edit Post

I have no idea if you can help me, but, I am having trouble finding information. So, here it goes. My wife and I desire to adopt a baby/child from Beautiful Gate Orphanage in Lesotho, Africa. We have been in contact with Beautiful Gate, but they say that there are no laws in place that will allow us to do so. Do you have any suggestions on where we go from here? We live in California. Thank you for any help you can give us. God Bless, Will McCafferty

By Dominique Waples-Trefil ( - on Thursday, March 17, 2005 - 8:51 am: Edit Post

Hello Merideth,

Dominique here. I have been trying to access you website with no sucess. How are you? Ican't wait to hear how things are going. I taked to Scott yesterday and he said he had spoken to you recently. Lucky guy!
My email address is if you are ever near a computer. Write if you get a chance.

By Keyvonne ( - on Sunday, September 11, 2005 - 8:22 pm: Edit Post

Hello Merideth,
I recently received my invitation to serve in Lesotho 2005. I've been reading up on Lesotho and about RPCV. I came across what you wrote about your feelings after receiving your invitation. I feel similarily, "The Mountain Kingdom" is not what I expected when I marked Africa as my preferred region. And I too am in shock and somewhat disappointed. So, do you have any advice for me? This is open to other PCVs or RPCVs.


By Scarlet Hoody ( - on Tuesday, November 01, 2005 - 4:08 am: Edit Post

Well, Keyvonne, I'm not sure if you've left yet, or if you're still there, but I have to say that it was the best thing that I've ever done in my life - joining the Peace Corps to go to Lesotho! Of course I met my Mosotho husband there and all, but even with all the bad times, all I had to do is look at the most gorgeous mountains I have ever seen in my life (well, I didn't have much to go on coming from the Mid-West, i.e. Ohio & MI.) and know that God had a purpose for my life in being there the entire two years that I was in Qacha's Nek, I must say. Please DO NOT HAVE ANY EXPECTIONS of the country you will be going to!!! It is Africa, but it is definitely not the 'typical' Africa of typical Americans' dreams, which is not to say that that is bad, but why put all of Africa in a box and stereotype it? Would you like people to do that with Americans? Well, you'll see that they DO when you get over there - they think most all Americans have to be white and extremely wealthy; does that describe you? Just checking! Well, email me or my husband if you like at: GOOD LUCK, my PC/L friend! Love, Scarlet :)

By fahmeeda muhammad ( - on Sunday, December 25, 2005 - 8:59 pm: Edit Post

I am rpcv with an adopted family in Lesotho. I have been trying to reach them by phone to no avail, they are in Maseru. I want to vist soon. what are the current conditions? Thanks Fahmeeda

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