Unity is Power
by Julie Lancaster View Bio
25 years ago this month, I arrived in Africa. Starting my tour as a Peace Corps volunteer, I was bright eyed and ready. Flying to Johannesburg, South Africa, after a 13 hour layover in Amsterdam, the 30 of us crammed into a bus to ride the remaining few hours into Lesotho. I desperately wanted to see this new world as we drove through it, but it was nighttime and the only life visible outside were cooking fires dotting the hills. Finally pulling into our destination, our team of teachers welcomed us. Delirious with exhaustion, we stumbled out of the bus to be greeted by our team of hosts. They encircled us in the dim light, and they were singing. They were singing in unison, in harmony, filling the air with their gift. We didn’t know the words, but we felt the intent. Joy and welcome. We were awed.
Sometimes organizations ask us to help craft the “on-boarding” experience for their new employees, and I remember this moment. The goal is to create a feeling of you belong here, and you matter.
Later, I learned the meaning of the words they sung. “Kopano ke Matla.” Unity is the Power. Every day of the next two months of training, our hosts lived and breathed that message. We became one, with a uniting vision of service, where we supported each other to learn Sesotho, the language, to utilize unique techniques to grow healthy crops, and embrace the culture. I will never forget that night and the lasting unity that was created with my now lifelong friends.
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