Emily’s African Adventure

Our youth worker, Emily, is currently on two weeks of annual leave from her role within our youth service. What is the big deal, you might ask? Sure, doesn’t everyone take some time off? Well, see, the thing is, Emily has decided to travel to the tiny African country of Lesotho to volunteer her exceptional youth work skills with the children of the One Day Foundation.

From the moment Emily informed the young people within our service that she was taking a 10,000 km trip to Lesotho; obviously, she flew as it would take 115 days to walk; there have been constant requests to keep everyone updated on her adventure. So we have decided that best way to keep everyone updated, is to create a blog.

So welcome to the “Emily’s African Adventure Blog.

Entry 1

Lesotho people (Basotho) love to dance and have fun. This is Emily’s first morning in Halebesa, a mountain village in the North of Lesotho, and the group visited the local primary school.

Entry 2

While the skills, qualifications, and professions of volunteers can bring so much to the lives of the children, staff, and village community of Halebesa, it is important to expect the unexpected while in Lesotho. For Emily, an exceptionally talented youth worker, musician, and drama teacher, the unexpected involved a paintbrush and bucket of paint. Yes, in between working with young people, playing bingo with the locals or doing cooking duties, Emily was thrown headfirst into some painting. Well, in fairness, by the time she had finished, it actually appeared like Emily had an encounter with the paint bucket, as there was as much paint on her as on the walls and ceiling.

Argument with the Paint Bucket

While the painting looked eventful, what follows is incredible. For some of us working in the St John Bosco Youth Centre long enough to remember Emily the teenager and her involvement in our youth work music programme, it is a powerful experience to watch the video below. The transition from a music programme participant in the Bosco, to a youth worker facilitating a music programme on a mountain in rural Lesotho is magical.

Sure, see for yourself.

Entry 3

Over the last couple of days, Emily and the team have been all go, with little rest. The One Day project is such an amazing place, but if you want to rest and sunbathe, you best stick to Spain. The Lesotho experience is full-on from first thing in the morning until last thing at night, and it involves navigating regular power cuts and the occasional lightning storms, which are incredible to watch.

One of Emily’s standout moments this week was Chris Dillon’s 60th birthday celebration. Chris and his wife Sheila are a Drimnagh couple who left for Lesotho six years ago to establish the One Day Foundation.

As always, music and dance are threads that weave into most activities involving Basotho people. The children, in particular, will dance from sunrise to sunset if given the opportunity, and when teams are in HaLebesa from Ireland, there is plenty of time to dance, sing and have fun.

Enjoy the video.

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