It was our first day in Lesotho and I was already gasping for breath as I climbed the first steep hill of the day. My lungs were not yet adjusted to the quick change in altitude, gaining thousands of meters in just a matter of days. So when we came across a young girl sitting on the guardrail halfway up the hill, we were more than happy to stop and talk for a moment when she asked. Minutes later, we continued walking, but with her by our side, and she ended up walking till lunch with us. It being our first day in the country, it was very helpful to have someone with us who spoke English well and could translate as we spoke to others throughout her village. Although English is the business language in Lesotho, and taught in school, everyone speaks Sesotho at home.
Our friend, her name pronounced, “Tack-Anne” is about 15 and comes from a family of about 15 who all live in the same house. Her mother and father have died, along with a few aunts, so now they all live together. They did not have enough money to send her to school at the time, and she can’t find a job. School I think she said is about R350 a quarter; that’s the equivalent of about $40 USD. I think we broke her heart a little at the end of the day when we had to tell her she could not walk all the way to Egypt with us. So vowing not to break the hearts of any more children, we drove her home after lunch, and continued on.