After a wonderful 5 months teaching in Lesotho, I have had the opportunity to share my experiences of living the Basotho life with children and teachers at my placement school St James in Caerphilly.
It has been a full two weeks teaching in every class, assemblies and a grand finale of a parent showcase. Every class has had the opportunity to explore artifacts from Lesotho and gain new knowledge from a different culture. Children have learnt the similarities and differences between Wales and Lesotho. St James’ children appreciate the resourcefulness of Basotho people.
Children at St James now understand how simple life is for us in Wales through advanced technology, and that some people around the world do not have access to this. We take for granted basic needs like water and electric. St James’ pupils have learnt that children in Lesotho often fetch water for their families needs from the nearest village tap. They have learnt walking to school long distances from an early age is normal practice for a Basotho child. Children take on responsibilities within their families; everybody is working as a team to complete tasks like washing, cleaning, cooking, fetching water, caring for siblings. All of these basic practices, that we as a nation take for granted, makes our children in Wales appreciate the opportunities we have been given in life.
Everybody at St James has been extremely busy and enthusiastic learning about Lesotho. Year 6 made wonderful dolls and cars from old tights, bottle tops and wire. 'They are so clever, how they make their own toys'.
Year 5 learnt sesotho language and role played the life of Basotho people, they produced a fantastic drama about school and home, which was showcased to parents and visiting Basotho teachers.
One year 4 class made wonderful sgraffito art after learning about the different clans and the history of lesotho. The other year 4 class enjoyed listening to the story 'Follow the Swallow' by Julia Donaldson, they learnt how the swallow migrates from Wales to Lesotho every year, and all the wonderful things it might see as it passes down through Africa. 'The swallow migrates long distance for a warmer climate.'
Year 3 collected all their old plastic bags, and learnt to be resourceful like basotho children. They worked together to make footballs and skipping ropes from all the unused plastic. 'They make their own toys really well; I am going to continue doing this at home.'
The Foundation Phase children all enjoyed dressing up in traditional Basotho costume, playing with the Basotho toys, carrying their child like Basotho females, and they were excellent at sweeping.
Nursery are having lots of fun in the home corner and craft area.
A variety of art and craft activities were enjoyed by all from making 3D villages learning all about how they live and care for crops and animals, making rondavels, and basotho hats. 'I can't believe how far children have to walk to fetch water.’
Children spent their time comparing the similarities and differences between their own life and a Basotho child.
The parent showcase was a huge success for St James, bringing the community together to appreciate different cultures and to celebrate the hard work and enthusiasm of the children. Everyone was pleased to be able to talk to our Basotho visitors Nthabiseng, Tseko and Keneuoe.
Sharing my life changing experiences from Lesotho with everybody in Wales has been invaluable to all. The link between Lesotho and Wales is growing from strength to strength in both countries, but especially now at St James.