I’ve been laughing a lot lately. Here’s why:
- One afternoon, while walking home from school, I found about 40 men doing construction work on my road. Turns out they were moving a small portion of the (perfectly good) road 25 feet to the left. The project is done now, and I still don’t understand why it was needed.
- My ‘M’e spotted me eating dinner out of a pot while standing at my door to watch the sun set. She took this opportunity to teach me a piece of Basotho culture – apparently women have to sit while they eat, or their menstrual blood will contaminate the food. Um, gross, but I was wearing pants, so this seemed unlikely.
- After marriage, women’s names in Lesotho include the name of their child. For example, ‘M’e Malerato is essentially “Mrs. Mother of Lerato.” My colleagues have started calling me ‘M’e Mamotsoalle, or “Mrs. Mother of Motsoalle.” Motsoalle, of course, is my dog.
- My co-teacher caught me hiding a piece of toilet paper in my shirt so I wouldn’t have to flaunt it on the walk to the toilet. I told her about American teenagers stuffing their bras, and she said that she had enhanced her hips with sanitary pads when she was in secondary school. After looking my very non-curvy body up and down, she suggested, “you could also put sanitary pads in your hips! If they fall out while you’re teaching, you can just say it’s American culture and nobody will judge you.”
- My weird, irreverent humor has been coming out more as I feel more comfortable here… To mixed reactions. One morning, a teacher entered the school office and cheerily greeted the other teachers by saying, “Good morning in the name of God!” Without thinking, I responded, “Good morning in the name of the devil!” Every single teacher whipped their head around, scandalized, and whisper-shouted in unison, “NO!”
- My host mother likes to back up her authority by name-dropping. For example, I told her I was going on a run on a chilly day, and she didn’t want me to, so she invoked the name of my supervisor at Peace Corps: “Ntate Lephoto told me you will catch the common cold if you run today.” She chose an even higher authority when I told her that my dog in the US lives inside the house with my family: “The Bible says that dogs must live outside.”
- This bumper sticker speaks for itself: