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Trip to Lesotho by Susanna Holden

Susanna Holden in Lesotho“When we touched down at Maseru airport I felt a mix of excitement and nervous emotions despite the jet lag. Dee Faye the wife of the Irish Ambassador greeted us at the airport. The drive from the airport was memorable and I was in deep shock at the level of poverty. There were rows of shacks built from corrugated iron and large stones on the roofs to prevent it from blowing off.

We began an orientation course the next day which was organised by the Irish Ambassador and we were introduced to the culture and language of the Basotho people.

After the first week in Maseru and with sufficient basic language we began working with Save the Children Orphanage. We began working in the pre-school and it was challenging at times. There were twenty one children in the pre-school and ages varied between two to ten years. Aoife and I bought education materials out of the fund raising money for the children. We also held a Halloween party for the children where we made decorations with the children. Some of the children were not aware of Halloween however it gave us a good excuse to get creative. Aoife and I also donated six hundred euro each towards child helpline and a day trip for the children in the orphanage. After six weeks in the pre-school we began working on the Orphan and Vulnerable Children’s Project OVCP in Mokhotlong.

Mokhotlong is approximately a six hour drive from Maseru and it is here where the mountains reach the sky. The poverty is extreme due to the poor farming land and infrastructure. We worked with young children who are forced into working as herd boys due to the poverty and HIV/AIDS. The herd boys are attending an evening literacy class established by the OVCP and Aoife and I bought education materials for the schools. We also bought food supplies and visited double orphans in the mountain villages.

I also supported a project that Dee Faye was involved with and with the help from Aoife and I and other Irish volunteers a new pre-school was opened.

The fund raising money went so far and helped so many people that I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that support this cause especially my family and friends. Although I was the one to travel to Lesotho it really is a joint effort when fund raising and I feel that everyone that contributed either financially or by helping out should feel proud that they have made a big difference to the life of someone less fortunate.”