Some ideas about working in Africa

So i’m going to Africa, and you might be wondering what I will be doing while I am there and what organization I will be serving with. The official position that I applied for in Lesotho (pronounced Leh-soo-too) is called a “primary school youth worker.”  I am serving with Mennonite Central Committee, specifically the SALT (Serving and Learning Together) program.  If you want to check MCC or SALT, you can go to http://mcc.org/ or http://salt.mcc.org/

From reading the description and talking to the representatives of the Lesotho mission, it sounds like I will be an assistant to all of the staff at the school that is adjacent to the mission in the Maphutseng Valley of Lesotho. The mission is actually located almost an hour from the nearest city, Mohale’s Hoek and not far from the nearest river. While I will not have a regular source of electricity, I will have internet access and electricity when they run generators that are on the grounds. I am uncertain of exactly how often I will have access to the internet, but it sounds like at least once a week, which means I will try and post here as much as I can, reflecting on my experience.

The hopes are that I would be staying with a host family that lives about a mile from the mission.  Some of the details surrounding this part of the trip are unclear right now, but they hope to secure a home-stay for me.  I will be walking to and from the school and mission daily.  The people that I might stay with will not have electricity and will know basic English, which is great because while I will be able to do some basic communication with them, their lack of English will be more of an incentive for me to learn their language.  It’s not fair anyway that they should have to learn my language to communicate with me (for that infers that I am more valuable, which is not true at all), especially when I am the guest visiting.  I should be the one who is expected to learn their language so that I can communicate with them, which is exactly how it is.

While I am there, there will be a fellow SALTer serving in Lesotho, so we will be able to process our experiences together, which will be really nice.  I’ve never left the country or ridden on a plane before, so some of these experiences may go really well or be really overwhelming, which makes me excited.  Sometimes, as followers of Jesus, we often take into account the unknown and recant on any commitments that we have made because we fear what may lay ahead when God is really calling us to trust him, for he is trustworthy.  Most of the experiences ahead of me are new; they are chances for me to take the often intellectual faith of American Christianity and turn it into a material faith, in which I am truly trusting God in what lies ahead of me and what may happen.

Finally, the other part of my position is serving with a local agricultural organization that is teaching the farmers in the area how to use conservation agriculture to their advantage.  Lesotho is often referred to as the mountain kingdom, so much of the farmland is in danger of erosion, but if proper conservation techniques are used, the farmers can continue using the land for many years to come.  Also, both this organization called Growing Nations Trust and the Primary School where I am serving are a part of the Lesotho Evangelical Church, so both of the organizations are opportunities for discipling children through bible studies, day camps, and other things.  Basically, a great opportunity to learn more about children and become better prepared for teaching in the future.

Here’s a small summary of my position, as provided by Mennonite Central Committee: ”

The SALTer will work directly with Growing Nations Trust, an arm of the Lesotho
Evangelical Church to plan, develop and implement a children’s  ministry through kid’s clubs and bible studies in the Maphutseng Primary School. The Youth Worker will support and encourage teachers in their mentoring and discipling of students. Between school terms the worker will assist the Growing Nations Trust youth day camps and the agriculture interns.

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~ by randallkoehler on March 17, 2011.

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