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US volunteers start tour of duty

by Sunday Express
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US Ambassador Matthew Harrington

Limpho Sello

UNITED States Ambassador to Lesotho, Matthew Harington has praised American Peace Corps Volunteers for displaying professionalism and sensitivity to the local culture in the execution of their mission to uplift the welfare of ordinary Basotho.

Ambassador Harrington said this at a recent swearing-in ceremony in Maseru for 57 Peace Corps Volunteers who completed an 11 weeks pre-training exercise.

Ambassador Harrington said he had interacted with a cross-section of Basotho from senior government officials, non-governmental organisation directors, community activists to the general public who were all in one accord in praising the Peace Corps Volunteers for their positive contributions to the country.

“But that should not be a surprise because that is what Peace Corps Volunteers do,” Ambassador Harington said of the positive perceptions of the volunteers, adding, “They touch lives”.

“Through their enthusiasm, their professional expertise, aptitude for foreign languages and their cultural sensitivity, they make a real difference in the communities to which they are assigned.

“They teach English, mathematics and essential life skills; they teach young women to set their objectives beyond what they have learnt to expect and they show the people how to lead healthier lives in protecting themselves against HIV and AIDS,” Ambassador Harrington said.

He said the volunteers had sacrificed so much by leaving the comfort of their families, homes and culture to go to different countries and in so doing, they were an “embodiment of the American ideals” of helping others.

Speaking directly to the volunteers, Ambassador Harrington said: “You have trained hard, been exposed to things you probably had never imagined and experienced some emotional ups and downs, as you learned to live without many of the comforts you were used to and to function effectively in a culture so different from your own.

“We all left close friends behind but built deep and lasting friendships in our host countries.   We all witnessed the Herculean daily struggles of most global citizens just to make ends meet and we learned not to take for granted the material abundance in the United States.”

For his part, Education and Training Minister, Motlalentoa Letsosa said his ministry was deeply indebted to the US government for the sacrifices made by the volunteers.

“It is an act of generosity and selflessness that can only signify a spirit of dedication to the upliftment of the less fortunate,” Mr Letsosa said, adding, the volunteers have been deployed to various primary schools where they will teach English, Mathematics and Science.

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