Lerato means Love

Going into our last day in Ramabanta, the village we all grew to love and become so close with, I felt so many emotions and thoughts flowing through mind and heart. I knew today we would open the playground to all of our friends later, most importantly cook the meals for the kids that we packed throughout the year in Ohio.

Overall this day was one of the most emotional days I had in Lesotho. Lerato, the woman who owns the trading post also created this food pantry for the children where a good amount of meals have been sent to. She is like a mother to all these children and being there side by side cooking the meals with her, is an event I will cherish for a lifetime. It’s different from just packing meals in the States and actually coming to Lesotho and seeing all of the friends we made have a fulfilling meal. I was overwhelmed with happiness in how I was able to be a small part of the whole process, from raising money for LNI to packing the meals to now, actually cooking them and putting a face with where these meals are going. Now that I have been in Lesotho, I look forward to going to the packing events because now I know that all the friends I made are going to become healthy and able to play on the playground that we built for them.

     While scooping out the warm meals and handing them to the children I had to take a step back and take in what was happening and the impact we all were making at that moment. Not only were we helping these children, we were creating hope and joy to the families of these children. Most importantly, leaving the village with the kids full of many memories and hope for the future. In Basotho, “Lerato” means love and that is exactly what Lerato is doing for all the children. She is loving them, supporting them emotionally, and providing them with well needed nutrition.

While in Ramabanta, a Basotho women also named me “Lerato” and I will keep loving this amazing country and continue to keep advocating for my friends in Ramabanta and all of Lesotho.

-Elsa Bertsch