Two groups of Wittenberg students, faculty and staff members recently made the long journey to the impoverished African kingdom of Lesotho. The service trip, first initiated six years ago by Wittenberg Associate Professor of History Scott Rosenberg, took travelers to Lesotho to assist local communities through personal interaction and the expansion of community resources.
To prepare for the trip, students participated in different activities to raise money and collect donations. Wittenberg's Rotaract Club organized a donation drive to collect sunglasses, which were passed out to the residents of Lesotho. Past groups have helped the people of Lesotho through a variety of projects, including construction of a community center, erecting playground equipment for a preschool, and painting a classroom at the Little Angels preschool for orphans. Although the participants were different, the determination and care was no different this year.
During their stay, students participated in a wide variety of activities, such as helping out at the community center, constructing another playground, interacting with local children and residents, getting an insider's view at a local textile factory, and enjoying the traditional foods, customs and gorgeous scenery. They were also able to interact with children in an HIV clinic and see first-hand the results of the devastating disease that afflicts 24-30 percent of the population in Lesotho.
The first group arrived in Thorns, Lesotho, on May 25 and headed back to the United States on June 12. The second group began its journey on June 18 and returned on Wednesday, July 15. What follows is an online reflection, including photos, descriptions and links to their blog and an interview with Wittenberg's Director of Government, Foundation and Corporate Relations Lin Erickson.
The first group that traveled to Lesotho teamed up with Habitat for Humanity and started the construction of two three-roomed houses in the village of Nazareth. The second group continued the work started by the first group by installing window sills, plastering and building a partition. (Click on photos to enlarge)
In the village of Ramabanta, Group 1 built a playground at a school and made improvements at the community center. They fixed the roof and replaced windows, while group two painted the inside of the center, puttied window glass, and knocked down a cement wall to put in a door at the clinic. (Click on photos to enlarge)
Little Angels Pre-School Day Care
At the Little Angels Orphanage in Roma, the first group constructed a chicken coop and painted murals. The second group also visited the orphanage, where they constructed a greenhouse, planted fruit trees, installed an irrigation system and painted walls. (Click on photos to enlarge)
Lesotho Child Counseling Unit
Students from the first group traveled to the Lesotho Child Counseling Unit near Maseru, where they met children who were abused physically or sexually. Here they painted the rooms and the bathroom and dining areas, while also constructing a playground. The second group also worked at the refuge center where they painted, hung curtains and constructed cubbies. (Click on photos to enlarge)
The second group constructed a playground at a pre-school in Roma. (Click on photos to enlarge)
Baylor Pediatric AIDS Clinic
Both groups were able to see first-hand the results of the devastating disease that afflicts 24-30 percent of the population in Lesotho when they visited the Baylor Pediatric AIDS Clinic in Maseru. Here, they entertained the children with soccer balls, sidewalk chalk, coloring books and temporary tattoos. (Click on photos to enlarge)
"When I think back to the trip, the thing that always sticks out to me is the kids, and their overwhelming display of joy. When it comes to material possessions, they had close to none yet the joy was so prevalent. It made me really consider what makes me happy, and why."
Students, faculty and staff members maintained a blog while in Lesotho. Click here to read more.
Finally, Wittenberg Director of Government, Foundation and Corporate Relations Lin Erickson was interviewed about the Lesotho experience on WHBC 1480-AM in Canton, Ohio. Click here to listen.
Information compiled by: Jen Dick '10
Photos submitted by: Julie Ziegler, Andrew Steele, Colleen Mullin, Kendall Obreza and Sarah Braden