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Trip to Lesotho by Aoife Mc Sweeney

Aoife McSweeney in Lesotho“My trip to Lesotho was an inspirational, amazing and awesome experience. Arriving in Lesotho with Susanna on the 3rd of September I really felt like I had entered another world. Over the next 3 and half months I was given the unique experience of living with people who live in poverty but are the happiest, fulfilled people I have ever met.

Lesotho is a small country where 18,000 people died from AIDS in 2007, and more than 20% of the population are HIV positive. Crippling poverty combined with AIDS in Lesotho has caused average life expectancy to drop to 44 years for women and 39 for men.

On numerous occasions Susanna and I visited different orphanages In Lesotho. I was horrified to see the awful conditions children were living in. One particular orphanage called Maseru East there are 32 orphans living in two small huts, the average size of a bathroom. These children were depending on food supplies from volunteers and did not know when the next food supply would arrive. Most of these children were under nourished and did not receive an education. Never the less they always sang songs with joy every time we visited them.

Throughout this period we visited the Sheppard Boys in Mokhtlong about three hours drive up into the mountains. This was once again a real eye opener and I felt like I was once again in a complete different world. I met Sheppard Boys who live in “cattle posts” man made huts, with no door or window. These are children living in the huts which are scattered throughout the mountains. The children care for cattle and sheep for their lively hood. At the end of the working year they might receive 2-3 sheep as payment.

It is just phenomenal the care and support that is provided from family, friends and neighbours who are living in poverty themselves but give money, food, slaughter a cow for a funeral if the family can not afford to do so, care for a child if he/ she’s parent/s have died to people who are in need.

While travelling throughout Lesotho I was amazed to see the beautiful landscape and dams there. Lesotho is a beautiful country with so much potential to offer.

As one could imagine there are hundreds of different images and stories I could recall about our journey to Lesotho.

Overall I’m privileged to have spent my 12 weeks of work placement in Lesotho and I encourage anyone to go there and experience the uniqueness of it.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank my family, friends and I.T.T from their tremendous support and especially for the help I received for different fundraising events. I would also like to thank a friend who generously donated 1000 euro. The fundraising money raised, went to so many good causes for example, school fees for children, towards the development of a safe house for orphans in the mountain, bought 200 chickens, feed for pigs for a year, school materials for the Sheppard boys, towards the building of a H.I.V clinic, furniture and materials for a Pre -school. The people who received the fundraising money were extremely thankful and overwhelmed from the care of the Irish.”