Page last updated at 17:01 GMT, Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Lesotho Aids diary: Teacher

The BBC, in conjunction with Medecins Sans Frontieres, is following the lives of seven people from the community of St Rodrigue, in Lesotho, who will share their hopes and fears as they each struggle to live with and work through the country's HIV/Aids crisis.

Mapaseka Mphaololi | Teacher | Mantsatlala village


School ended on 4 December, the last day of the school year and the last day for me as a teacher.

I can't go back.

At the age of 65, we must retire. I asked for (and received) two more years.

Now I have to stay here at home and work in the fields.

The teacher who left because of HIV is getting better, and I hear that she will be coming back to teach later this year

Even if they have a shortage of teachers, they don't want us to go to school any more.

They have so many young teachers, so they can't keep us teaching any more.

But none of them want to come here to St Rodrigue as it is such a rural and remote area.

In my school, we have five unqualified teachers, of about 12 teachers in total.

Some are living with HIV and can no longer teach.


Mapaseka Mphaololi with her class

When a teacher is sick and unable to teach, they hire a substitute who is not qualified. She is given sick leave, six months of paid leave with full salary.

After six months are up, she is paid half her salary.

The teacher who left because of HIV is getting better, and I hear that she will be coming back to teach later this year.

The people in the community knows that she has HIV because she has been seen here at the clinic getting her medicines.

We could also see the signs. The mouth becomes pink.

The skin changes and becomes dark and she was unable to walk or do anything. She was seriously ill.


Even though I would love to stay and teach, I have to accept the situation. I will have to stay at home. I will have to stop teaching now, but I will not get my pension until June.

I will work in my field and in my garden.

Teacher Mapaseka Mphaololi (Photo: Olivia Blanchard, MSF)
I may be poor on the outside, but I feel an achievement on the inside

That's all.

I have been thinking about opening a creche but my age doesn't allow it. The government won't allow me doing it because of my age.

I don't know what I can do about it.

I have never had much money because I had too many children, and they need schooling.

My grandchild is about to go to school.

He is staying with me as my daughter and her husband are at university and will graduate in 2010.

This is a child she had before she got married.

Maybe my daughter will help me pay school fees for him, and buy the books for him.

My husband is a pensioned teacher.

So we are both pensioners staying at home. He is not well.

Anyhow, he is trying to do the work; work in the fields, in the garden sometimes.

My grandchildren make me happy, especially when they do well at school.

Seven of my eight children have a higher education. One of my daughters is a lecturer at university. Another one is also a teacher.

I may be poor on the outside, but I feel an achievement on the inside.

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