Our outreach team for July was an absolute pleasure! All five of the ladies who made up the group have been to Beautiful Gate at least once before. Two in particular, Emma and Sarah, served with us as long-term childcare volunteers. It was such a joy to interact with them again and to witness the staff and children welcome them “home” with open arms and hearts.
Instead of summarizing all of the ways this incredible group of women utilized their time while in Lesotho, we are excited to give Sarah and Emma an opportunity to express in their own words what it was like coming back to serve at BGL after some time away from their volunteering experiences. We hope you enjoy getting a glimpse into their hearts!
The 18 months between leaving Beautiful Gate in 2018 and going back again for our short term visit felt like forever. Every time I saw a post on Facebook or someone asked me about Beautiful Gate, I would instantly want to go back. With starting university and moving away from home, it felt like so much time had passed by but as soon as I saw the kids again it felt like that time instantly disappeared.
Although they looked a little older, and some had lost their baby fat (much to my disappointment), they were still the same kids with the same unique and amazing personalities. The naughty ones had become slightly naughtier and the shy kids slightly bolder but they still had the same hearts and ability to make you fall in love with every single one. Day one and I was ready to quit university and stay forever!
The days went by too quickly just like I knew they would and I tried to hold onto all the moments I could with these beautiful children but the time to say goodbye snuck up on me and all too soon we were packing our bags and heading back to the airport. It’s never easy saying goodbye, especially when you can’t promise the children that you’ll see them again but one thing is for certain, part of my heart will always remain at Beautiful Gate.
Being back in Lesotho was so refreshing. I loved every moment of being back with my mothers, the kids and my close friends (who are more like family).
While I was away there have been a lot of change in the kids at Beautiful Gate. There have been countless adoptions and reunifications which can both be bittersweet. Overall, it really changes the dynamic of some of the houses and of playgroup. It was really special to see how some of the younger kids that were there last year had matured over the year and have taken on the roles of “big brothers and sisters”.
The house that I was in last year, Khotso 2, had 6 of the same kids out of the 14 while I was a long term volunteer in it. Because Khotso 2 had changed so drastically, I was able to volunteer in the same house again. I loved being able to work with my housemothers again and to spend quality time with them and reconnect with the kids that were still there. It was funny because even though a whole year had gone by, it felt almost like I had never left.
It was also so much fun to catch up with some dear friends of mine. We were a Mother / Daughter Team so it was my mom and I and then we met my roommate Sarah with her mom, Gill, and sister, Zoë, at Beautiful Gate. Our time overlapped for almost a week and it was really good spending time with them each night. As well as the volunteers that we were able to have over a few times.
We didn’t plan too many excursions while we were there. I wanted to stay nearby and spend as much time as I could with the people that had impacted my time as a volunteer there. My time with everyone was so precious and made this trip so meaningful.
Thank you, Sarah, Emma, Gill, Zoë, and Dani. We so appreciate your love, support, and service. It was wonderful reconnecting with each of you during your time here, and we look forward to the next trip! And thanks again to Sarah and Emma for giving us all a little insight into what it’s like to live and love in Lesotho.