I woke up this morning to a quiet breakfast and a warm cup of coffee in the sun. The simple pleasures in life mean a lot here, and I felt at ease.
I let my mind wander and suddenly remembered that today is the Fourth of July.
While there certainly won’t be any fireworks in Mokhotlong, there is something else, something far more relevant and important about this day for me here: the profound sense of appreciation for the United States I’ve gained.
I’ve appreciated my country before, but never so much as now.
I guess it takes a stint in a country like Lesotho to fully comprehend the luxury of living in the United States. I know there are people struggling with nothing in the U.S. also. And of course there are things about my home country that I would change.
But to such a vast extent, I realize more than ever that I am so lucky to have been raised in a country where the roads are maintained, where grocery stores brimming with food are everywhere, where hospitals are fully stocked with supplies, where the government is stable and where corruption is regularly confronted by a vast system of checks, balances and the fourth estate.
I appreciate more than ever the ease of transportation in the states, the ease of communication, the ease of entertainment, the ease of information.
I appreciate that, because of my loving family, I never had to worry about my next meal or where I would sleep or if I would be warm enough. I appreciate the great education I received, which has given me all the freedom in the world.
I appreciate the fact that, because of the stability I’ve been afforded in life, I was able to develop the network of friends who I now miss more than ever and appreciate more than ever.
This Fourth of July, I feel like I’m really celebrating in the right way, perhaps for the first time, just by appreciating the independence and freedom that life in the United States provides.
What I’ve seen firsthand here is that, when there is no food and no water and no medicine and no support and no transportation, freedom is a hard thing to come by.
Happy Fourth of July.
The TTLF Fellow is a representative of the North American organisation Touching Tiny Lives Foundation. Based for one year in Mokhotlong, Lesotho, the TTLF Fellow serves in an administrative support capacity for the Basotho charity Touching Tiny Lives (TTL).