Today, we had our first taste of goodbyes on this trip as we spent our last full day in Ramabanta. The whole group had the chance to work on constructing the community center and finishing details on the soup kitchen paintings. We all placed our handprints on the wall around the entrance and painted the phrase kaofela rea tsoana - we are all the same. The phrase is a reminder of our work with LNI and our connection to the Basotho people whose handprints also decorate the entrance. Saying goodbye to these very people was the most difficult part of the day for many of us.
These past two weeks, I have gotten close to a little boy named Leboha whose smile has never failed to brighten my day. Every time he has seen me approach the community center, he has run up to me as fast as his legs can move him and given me a big high five. He doesn’t understand much English, but the time we spent dancing and playing on the playground was more than enough to forge a connection. Every day, he would hold my hand as I walked back to the guest house, then give me a big hug and two high fives as we parted for the day.
Today, our routine was no different. I hugged him tight and gave him multiple high fives as I said my final goodbye. Other children gave people handwritten letters or visibly cried as their friends walked beyond the gate. My friend Leboha did neither of these, but this doesn’t make the closeness we’ve had over the past weeks any less special. I wonder if he or any of my other friends will think about these weeks in the back of their minds as I will for years to come. I wonder if they will ask about me the next time Wittenberg students visit Lesotho. Even if they don’t, I know, along with everyone else on this trip, that our interactions these past weeks have been so valuable. The friendships, laughter, and knowledge we have gained and provided in Ramabanta have are things that will last, even if our names and faces don’t. Goodbye has been bittersweet, but knowing the work we have done and will continue to do here in Lesotho will last the Basotho for years to come makes the wonderful memories more than enough.
Great job team!! Sounds like you definitely made a difference in their community!!!! Have a great time on the rest of you trip!!!!