Redefining Remote – Chelsea and Kyle Pease, Lesotho 14-16

 

Photos from Chelsea and Kyle’s Story

Chelsea and Kyle Pease’s Peace Corps Story

Where and when did you serve? What did you do?

We served together as a married couple in Lesotho, Africa from 2014-2016, both as education volunteers. We lived in Motete, a village in the mountains about six hours from the nearest camptown. We spent our time working with our schools, experiencing traditional culture, traveling around the mountains on foot to villages without road access (we were the first foreigners people had seen), and also various projects with our community including HIV/AIDS/health education, grants and project management for PV system, several classrooms, science lab, girls hostel, kitchen, toilets, upgrade to high school, social equality efforts for local culture, mapping of cultural landmarks, endangered species awareness and protection, land protection efforts, herd boy night school. HIV/AIDS Education, remote school outreach, and swimming lessons.

What is one of your favorite Peace Corps memories?

Kyle: Arriving to a village after a long day out in the mountains, getting permission from the chief to stay with his village while traveling in the mountains, and exchanging stories and pictures with the villagers in a smoky hut late into the night.

Chelsea: I have endless wonderful memories. We loved are time so much in Lesotho we went back to visit less than a year after we left. One memory that I will always cherish is from one of our last days in our village before our service ended. We had developed a close relationship with a family in a nearby village and we spent a lot of our time at their house. During our final days spent in our village we had a special surprise for them. We had bought marshmallows in town, something no one had ever seen before. Nearly twenty people packed into a tiny hut around a fire and giggled with delight as everyone tried a roasted marshmallow. Sticky fingers and happy grins were abundant.

What is one of your least favorite Peace Corps memories?

K: chronic Giardia x 1.5 yrs.

C: As many Peace Corps volunteers can relate, being hot and sweaty on public transport with all of the windows closed, for several hours. Going to town from our village was an all day affair, we were always pressed up against people from all angles with goods from town piled to the ceiling on our laps for six or more hours.

What do you miss about Peace Corps?

K: real community, simple down to earth culture, relaxed and caring people

C: Relaxed community feel. No rush with anyone, you can stop by anyone’s house and they will cook food for you and you’re encouraged to hang out there all day. It’s also amazing that you can travel anywhere in the highlands of Lesotho and don’t have to worry about “private property” like we have in the states. You are never trespassing.

What is something you learned in the Peace Corps?

K: understanding time.

C: The importance of taking the time to chat with people.

Do you have a favorite quote or local saying?

K: Ho Monate!

C: Everyone’s heard “hakuna mathata” which actually is pretty close to Sesotho “ha kena mathata” meaning I have no problem. I also love “motho ke motho ka batho” translating directly as “a person is a person of people”. The meaning being: “I am because we are”, which is called “ubuntu” in zulu. A philosophy that I try to live by.

 

Together for Motete

Together for Motete is a non profit organization started by two former Peace Corps Volunteers, Chelsea and Kyle Pease. They served as volunteer educators in Lesotho, Africa from 2014-2016.  In October 2017 they returned to Lesotho, less than a year later, to deliver donations for 13 scholarships and spend time with their loved ones. High school is not free in Lesotho and all of the sponsored students are attending school today because of our donors. We know each of the students sponsored personally and have a close relationship with the school.
For more information visit: www.togetherformotete.org

 

Afterword

1. Just want to make sure this part doesn’t get misinterpreted: When we were discussing the herdboys and marital abduction (chobeliso), we aimed to provide a context for why such an antiquated practice is still occurring in modern day. I realize it may have sounded like we were defending those who participate in the practice, which we do not intend to do. While having boys in school and improving their social skills is crucial, we’ve also spent a significant amount of effort discussing healthy relationships and promoting girls empowerment. Our students and fellow teachers have all participated in lengthy open discussions regarding measures to be taken to prevent problems from occurring, and what to do if they do occur to themselves or someone else. As cell phones become more available, we’ve made sure all students have the police phone number written down in their notebooks in several places. We’ve discussed directly with the police ways in which abuse can be reported and the special programs (CGPU) they have for these situations. We could probably spend an entire podcast just on that topic.

2. I should have reference this info before: During the interview, I forgot the name of the ambassador who was killed in Libya and I don’t want to disrespect his family. His name is John Christopher Stevens, he served  in Peace Corps, Morocco ’83-’85 in Morocco as an English teacher. It is evident that his experience shaped the rest of his life and the courageous ways in which he chose to serve humanity. After he was killed in the 2012 Benghazi attack, his family created the Stevens Initiative, which a portion of is a peace corps memorial fund to promote the use of technology in the class room and cross cultural exchange.
3. Another topic that could be an entire episode within itself: The Maluti Loop
We came back to Lesotho a year after our service ended. I spent a month hiking with a Motete local, Moshephe Majoro, who was tragically hit and killed by a car recently. Our primary aim was creating a social exchange with shepherds while spreading targeted life skills media to them. We visited remote corners of the country,  generally following the high ridge lines of the mountain ranges, in an attempt to create a circumnavigating trek of Lesotho.
4. Last, but certainly not least: The first graduating class of Motete High School happened just last week! A big congratulations to those students!!!

 

 

 

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