Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Lerobane Love

Sunday, August 28th

This morning we went to an Anglican church service on site with the nuns. We were asked to speak, so I thanked everyone for having us there and that we were so grateful for the opportunity and experience. There was a little boy, probably about three years old who stared and played games for the entire service. He was fascinated by us and couldn't take his eyes off of us...I also found him quite entertaining. The pastor spoke of the inequalities in the world and how priority seating works at a wedding. He said one day, he hopes we have one big table where there is no head and we are all equal. It was a very peaceful, quiet service, with a beautiful message.

I then went wandering downtown and stopped at a church called "Church of Jesus Christ" because from the road I could hear them screaming and singing. It was something out of a movie. Everyone was in traditional Lesotho hats and blankets, hands in the air, singing and praising. The paster was shouting "If the devil finds his way into our hearts or our house we say" and the congregation shouted back "GET OUT OF MY HOUSE". They repeated this several times, with loud cheering and singing. I find it fascinating how only a few blocks away, there could be such difference in the practice of faith. It is amazing to see how different people connect to different teachings and guidance. Each person connects to faith in their own way, it was truly remarkable to see two such different teachings in one morning.

Andy picked us up at 1:30pm and we headed to Lerobane Foster Home. We drove through dirt paths and off road to park in the middle of the field by a stream to hike up to the home.

This foster home, Lerobane, has a piggery project, raising several small pigs to sell once full size. This is one of the income generating activities that Bracelet of Hope supports at the Foster Home. Lerobane Foster Home has nine children and two foster parents, 'Me Mamosebetsi and Ntate Bohlokoa. This home includes the family with the small boy, Khotso, who has the same birthday as me, and a brave young woman named Mamokhele.

When we arrived, everyone was still at church so we checked out the piggery and chatted on the hill. Then after some time, we heard noise and voices on the hill. The tiny faces whose photos have decorated my walls, my office and home and who I felt like I knew before I had met, came around the corner to greet me! They were so excited (as was I)! We all hugged and went inside the home. We gave them gifts and they played quietly after introducing themselves. We then took out the soccer ball- the ultimate ice breaker! We played catch, monkey in the middle and soccer. We danced, sang and laughed. You never image the lives these children have had before coming to the home.

From Left Back: Mafusi, Mahaohonolo 12, Tjama 12, Mamokhele 15, Refiloe 26
From Left Front: Khotso 7, Justice 2, Ntaoleng 2, Relebohile 6


While visiting the Foster Home, I realized that every single one of these children had a story that rips your heart out, and they have come so far from where they were. I could write a blog post on each child but I have decided to focus on two girls at Lerobane, Mamokhele and Ntaoleng. 

This is Mamokhele. She is 15 years old. She is the eldest sister to her four siblings- Relebohile, Khotso, Sello, Malofetsane and nephew- Justice. At the age of twelve, Mamokhele lost both of her parents, leaving her eldest sister in charge, who had a young baby. Shortly after her parents passed, her sister also passed away, leaving her, at the age of 12, the head of the household, with five young children to care for. She left school and began selling straw hats and items to make money. However after some time of struggling, the Ministry heard of their situation and looked for someone to support them. A family member was able to take in two of the boys, and the 
Lerobane Foster home took in the others. 

Since coming to the home, Mamokhele has been given back her childhood. She has returned to school, she has Foster Parents to care for her, cook dinner and support her and her younger siblings. After a wonderful Christmas break, Mamokhele requested to visit the village to see her two brothers who had stayed with a family member. When she arrived, she found that the boys were working hard as herd boys, and not attending school. She went back to the Foster Home and requested a second visit. This time, she did not leave them behind. Mamokhele brought her brothers back with her on her return. The two boys are now in a Foster Home close by to her, attending school and being cared for by a lovely Foster Mother. She knew in her heart that she could not quit, she could not leave behind family, and so the brave little girl fought to keep her family together, and ensure that all of her siblings had access to education, nutrition and love. Even though Mamokhele is being cared for, she still takes on a very motherly role in the home, helping cook, clean and care for the younger children. She showed me how to start a fire to cook rice and she talked about her younger siblings and how grateful she is to be at Lerobane. Her strength and bravery is unlike any young girl I have ever known, and I was so honoured to have some time with her- just us girls. 

This is Ntaoleng. She is two years old.

 Ntaoleng was found in the garbage. 

We have no knowledge of her parents, or family and when she arrived at Lerobane, she did not have much hair, she was extremely malnourished, withdrawn and did not react to others. Her story is sadly not out of the ordinary in Lesotho. With over 200,000 orphans in the country, there is no one to care for them. Thankfully for us, and Ntaoleng, she was brought to us where our 'Me Mamosebetsi and Ntate Bohlokoa could feed her, care for her and give her the love and support she deserves. She can now continue to grow as the silly, loving little girl who's smile lights up the room. When thinking of this beautiful child, and discussing her with my friend and travel partner Brad, he remarked that she was the epitome of the saying "one man's garbage is another man's gold". Ntaoleng truly is a tiny piece of gold, and a young girl who now has the opportunity to grow up to be a strong, brave woman. I am so grateful to have met this little girl.

After spending the day at Lerobane and meeting nine remarkable children, we had to say goodbye. It was hard to hug them goodbye and walk down the hill away from them. This is only the first of six foster homes, nine of our 38 children. You get so connected to these smiling faces so quickly. Being able to spend a day with them to play, hug, laugh, read stories and learn about their lives is something I will treasure every day. 

These kids give me fuel to continue to raise awareness, talk about HIV/AIDS, ask for support.
1 in 4 people in Lesotho are HIV+. This has left over 200,000 orphans in a country of only 2 million. Yes, 1 in 10 PEOPLE in this country are orphaned children, just like Ntaoleng and Mamokhele. We can continue to provide support for these children by taking them off the streets, out of orphanages and into homes like Lerobane where they are provided all of the nutrition, medication and support they need and deserve. These orphans are given their childhood back, they are in school, learning, and growing, just as a child should. My heart bleeds for these children. They are the fuel to my passion to continue to work hard to make a difference, no matter how small it may be. We are only providing for a fraction of the orphans in the country. We need support and help to continue to expand and take on more children. The need is so great.

If you want to learn more about Bracelet of Hope and our Foster Homes, you can read more on our website at or email me any time at If you are a teacher, professor, pastor business person and you'd like to have me speak to your school, class, congregation or at work, let me know, I'd love to share!

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