Greeting from Lesotho, the Kingdom in the Sky!

Yup, that’s right, the alternative name for Lesotho really is “the kingdom in the sky” and that’s no misnomer, ladies and gents. This country all rests more than 4,500 feet above sealevel. It is a beautiful beautiful country. I’m a sucker for mountains – having grown up in the white mountains of western Maine/ New Hampshire, and Lesotho does not disappoint.

My trip to Lesotho – all 36 something hours of it was fairly non-eventful. Even my overnight stay (earmuffs, mother) at the Johannesberg aiport went smoothly. (Disclaimer for any guest posts on this blog – smoothly is a relative term. For example, some may have hesitated to call sleeping in the Johannesburg airport with passport and $500 cash down their pants going smoothly, but I would call this a great success!) From Johannesburg I had a quick flight to Maseru, Lesotho where I was picked up, proposed to (uh huh, in the span of 20 minutes the driver from my program had confessed passionately his love for me, the inevitability of our life together, and begged for a kiss), and was on my to Leribe where I am currently.

Leribe kids!
View of Leribe from the road behind my convent

I guess this post is the Let’s Get Oriented post. I’ll try to keep it short because I know I have a short attention span and I can’t really expect anyone to be interested in hearing what I have to say for TOO long. BUT, I think I’ll have to lay the background info for future blogs. Sound like a plan? Great! Thanks!

Okay. The facts. I am living in Leribe which is a city in northern Lesotho – a country completely surrounded by South Africa. People are called Basotho and the language is called Sesotho. I live in a convent with another American medical student from BU named Jen.(Contrary to popular belief, I did not light on fire after stepping through the convent gates. Yes, I know, Mother, why in the world would that be popular belief?) We live in a guest house and the sisters live in a house next door. I am volunteering/ studying/ working at one of the larger hospitals in Lesotho, Motebang General Hospital where I am filling a similar role here as I do back home when I am on the wards in Boston. Again, this is a loose definition. And, the truth is, I am still trying to figure out exactly what that role is. I am here through a program called LeBoHA (Lesotho-Boston Health Alliance). I work under two American family medicine doctors: Dr. Phil and Dr. Laura. I will also be working under some Basotho physicians. Alright. Phew. That’s the basics.

To be continued!

You Say Goodbye…

My dearest running buddy Anna Royer just left for a 7-week medical rotation at a clinic in Lesotho. She has promised to write (and even guest-blog!) as often as she can make it to an internet connection, but after three straight months of spending every weekend together I’m feeling somewhat bereft. Now, there are precious few things I love more than a montage, but Anna is most definitely one of them. So, in tribute to a fantastic friend, runner and future doctor, please enjoy the following MONTAGE OF MEMORIES: ANNA EDITION:

Caught in a Bad Runmance

This year’s Valentine’s Day-themed email is brought to you by Lady Gaga and our coach Sarad’s penchant for pop music metaphors.

Chances are, you have probably heard Lady Gaga (or a drunk undergrad) belting out her latest masterwork SOMEWHERE in the past few months. If you aren’t in the habit of listening to Kiss 108, however, don’t worry – we’re not going to be going into lyrical depth here. According to Sarad’s Talmudic breakdown, running is a Bad Romance because even though the training sometimes sucks, it’ll just make the payoff even better. After giving it a lot of thought this past week (Lady Gaga lyrics trump financial statements in the grand scheme of things I’d rather analyze), I have to say that I disagree with his interpretation. I think there’s a big difference between love and romance, and my feelings for running are definitely more in line with the former.

I mean, okay, so it’s Valentine’s Day. I think most people would agree, this is a day about romance. And nearly everyone hates it. The stress of making dinner reservations (hope you locked that down months ago or I will be seeing you over Big Buck Hunter at The Sports Depot this evening), being perfectly plucked and coiffed, and showing up with a gift that hits the sweet spot between personal and cliche is just OVERWHELMING. And did you start dating someone in January? Good luck navigating THAT minefield. Romance is about show, and in my opinion the payoff is kind of minimal.

Cupid's arrow is a 12 gauge

There is not a whiff of romance about my relationship with running (unless you consider the scent of old sneakers

Dr. Love

romantic). I don’t get gussied up for long runs. The nicest gift I ever bring to practice is a clean pair of socks. And I’d certainly be up a creek if I had to try to eat my Gu demurely. According to our resident run (and romance) expert Genuine Italian Fulvio, however, none of that matters when you’re talking about true love. If love were measured in high fives, which is in fact how I measure it, it would be quite clear where my feelings about Team in Training fit in. I adore my teammates, even the cold and windy and hilly runs leave me feeling better than when I started, and most of all, I love being surrounded every Saturday by the kind of 100%, no holds barred love that motivates people to run a marathon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

So, if you would consider showing the ol’ fundraising website some love this Valentine’s Day, I would deeply appreciate it! http://pages.teamintraining.org/ma/boston10/cdeschenesdesmond Have a wonderful day filled with maximal love and Big Buck Hunter, and minimal stress over which floral arrangement adequately expresses your feelings, everyone.

Rrrah rah rrah ah ahhh

Cait

My running Valentine