July 2011 / Makapanstad, North West Province / South Africa
Before beginning their service, Peace Corps Volunteers undergo intensive language and culture training to prepare for the novel social dynamics of their host community. Classes of four to five students meet with native speakers of the target language. These Language and Culture Facilitators are remarkable teachers, guiding their students with patience as they navigate a new culture.
Meeting on the back stoeps and in the kitchens of their host families, LCFs deliver lessons in noun classes and concords and lead discussions about community celebrations, traditional beliefs and gender roles. Most Volunteers are sworn-in with the ability to exchange greetings and grouse amiably about the heat.
My LCF, Pule Seotimeng, gave us the constant encouragement, “Leka go feila, ska feila go leka” (“Try to fail, do not fail to try”), reminding us that were part of “the winning team.” We’re still in touch.