I forgot the basics of living here in the village, to always wear sunblock and a hat and carry water with me. I am very sunburnt and likely dehydrated, but so happy to be back with my community. Since no one knew I was coming there were a lot of cheering, shouting and dancing, truly the Basotho are a loving people.
I also forgot how cold it is. I didn’t bring long underwear or warm enough pajamas. With the sun out during the day it is almost always balmy, but once the sun sets it gets cold. I slept with two comforters on top of two blankets which seemed to do the trick.
I apparently have gained some weight. I thought I had actually lost weight since leaving Lesotho but I was told by every single person I visited that I am now fat (usually prefaced by saying that I was especially beautiful). I guess the Zumba isn’t working.
My favorite memory from this short trip back was yesterday afternoon. I finally went to visit my old house, I had been putting it off since I knew it would be bitter-sweet with my host family gone. Ausi Thato, a young neighbor girl walked with me up to my house and we just sat there, on the porch in the exact spot where I had spent countless hours. I was very grateful for her quiet company, the house felt empty and very lonely. The yard was overgrown and the garden fences were broken, but it still stood there, my home for over two years. And all around me I could see all my neighbors and friends carrying on with their lives.
Overall I was taken aback by the friendliness and the sincere happiness everyone showed in my return. Things have changed, my host family is spread out and the children are growing up. I can never go back to staying in my hut with my host family, that time has passed. Things continue to move on, but I believe I will always have some old friends to welcome me, ausi Limpho, whenever I manage to make it back.
Last time I left Lesotho my friend rented a car and drove me all the way from my house to the Johannesburg airport. I don’t think I would have been able to drive, I was crying so hard. It’s very emotional, leaving and not knowing when or if I’ll return. This time I have to drive myself, so I hope I hold it together better. Also I know that I will come back, Lesotho is part of me and I will find a way to make it back.