XXVII. Penpals Conclusion & Soaking It All In

Lumelang kao feela lapala, bakhotsi, le batho ba lefatse
(Hello all of my family, friends, and people of the world),

This will be my final post written and published in Lesotho. My COS (Close of Service) date has been set for July 14th and wrapping up projects has been a main priority. Last month I wrote about launching a monthly  educational movie screening project which was an outstanding success. I focused my efforts in June to wrap up ongoing projects at Thaba-Tseka High School. This included disseminating the pen-pal responses as well as shoring up any loose ends with the computer lab and curriculum. Admist the technical work being done, I didn’t lose sight of my friends and colleagues which made this Peace Corps experience truly remarkable.


Penpals Conclusion

Form Es
Some very excited students with their letters

Pen-Pals are an age-old traditional for schools to partake in. I never had the opportunity to participate in an exchange myself, but being the facilitator for children on the other side of the world has made up for that quite handedly. At first I wasn’t sure what to expect, or even how to coordinate such an effort. Thanks to the help of amazing teachers from Maine West High School, it was a resounding success as I’ve wrote about in previous entries. June 8th marked the final trade in what have been astounding correspondences. All told, over 600 students experienced a back-and-forth separated by 12,000 miles.

Here’s a video which really highlights the excitement of my Form Es:

And a few photos:
– – http://imgur.com/a/it7Re

Penpals Round 2 – Thaba-Tseka High School

Soaking It All In

Lekker Braai
A Lekker Braai

The reality of the dwindling days in Thaba-Tseka hasn’t been lost on me. I’ve really tried to cherish every moment with the friends who have become my brothers and sisters over the past two years. They are well aware of my impending departure so the desire to enjoy every moment together is mutual. Because of this, many braais (BBQs) have been organized. Each weekend has not been wasted, and I only expect this to be amplified in July as I prepare my final farewell parties.



Next month will see my Close of Service and a trip to Italy before returning to Chicago on the 25th. As sad as it is to leave my home of the past 2 years, I’m equally as excited to see all my family and friends who have been so supportive throughout this experience. Until then, sala hantle!


  1. Hi Travis. What an amazing journey you’ve been on the last 2 years. I hope when you return to the states, we can still stay in contact. I’ve seen a small part of another world through your eyes and it’s been a wonderful experience. So glad you were able to share your experiences with me. Have a safe trip home my friend. Keep in touch!

  2. Hi Travis! Wow 2 years have gone so quickly. You are an amazing young man. What a life long experience this has been. It will be wonderful for you to be home with family and friends hope you swing by Maine West when you are ready.

  3. Hi Travis. Hard to believe that your time as a PCV is winding down. I know that the thought of leaving your friends must be difficult but keep thinking of the experience as a bright spot in your life. You were a difference-maker there and I suspect you will be a difference-maker back here. Safe Travels.

  4. Hey T-Man
    I just came back from a 2 week stint in Italy with the highlight of course, watching Nick Mo catch two games and pitch a couple innings in another. He is eager to show you San Marino and is also eager to have you home safe and sound. Upon your return to Vernon Hills, know that you have a frosty one waiting for you at my house and an appointment with my son-in-law at Portillos when you feel adjusted and ready. Travel safe and enjoy Italy….how can ya not!?

  5. Wow 2 years…amazing life experiences you have gathered Travis. Youre lucky at such age to have seen and realize our world’differences and likenesses. It has been a good opportunity for me read about life in a different place than Illinois, thanks to you. Save return and warm regards, Patricia

  6. Hi Trav,
    I can’t believe that I have read your final missive. I am certainly going to miss them. Perhaps you can continue for a while, detailing your trip home, your arrival and adjustment. Of course, you must include the family reunion.
    Thank you for writing such wonderful entries so that we all feel in some small way that we have experienced the past two years with you.
    Travel safely. See you in August. Uncle Joe is really looking forward to playing some golf with you.
    Love, Aunt Lorraine

  7. Travis,
    Hard to believe your Peace Corp time is coming to a close! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. You are a wonderful writer. Safe trip home. Mary Ellen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *