As a former Gender Studies and Pre-Med major, and a long time proponent of women's health and empowerment, it is safe to say that I am personally invested in this topic. In addition to my personal interests though, the international community has also come to hone in on women as the newfound key to success in development. Studies have shown that in developing countries, directing initiatives toward women proves to have a significant return on investment for both families and communities. This is not to say that men aren't important too, they are very much central to the picture, however, through recent focuses on women, education and health initiatives have found new success which begs for continued exploration.
My first few experiences on outreach have been difficult to describe. I have witnessed extreme poverty amidst a backdrop of breathtaking scenery, beautiful and artfully crafted Sesotho huts, shocking medical cases that I felt helpless walking away from, and an appreciation of life at its simplest form. I was nervous when I first began my study, worried that something might go wrong, or that mothers might not want to talk to the white ‘ausi’ from the States. But things have gone surprisingly well, and I feel as though I continue to learn more and more everyday, about Basotho life and culture, the mothers whom I’m studying, and even a bit about myself. I hope that in some way, I can make a difference with my research here. At the very least, I hope that my research findings will have positive implications for future health education initiatives both within this population in Lesotho, and for the greater community of women in rural Southern Africa.