“Eleven years ago I made my first visit to Lesotho. I was also struck by the many children I met whose lives had been shattered by the loss of a parent and in some cases, both,” he said. “Although our situations couldn't have been more different, I felt an overwhelming connection to many of the children I met. Nonetheless we shared a similar feeling of loss, having a loved one, in my case a parent, snatched away so suddenly. I, like them, knew there would always be a gaping hole that could never be filled.”
The 31-year-old named the center’s dining room, "Princess of Wales Hall," in honor of his late mother, who was one of the first pioneers seeking to destigmatize prejudice for those living with HIV/AIDS.
Harry, who is on the first leg of his trip to Lesotho and South Africa, began by opening the center, which will provide education and emotional support and care for the vulnerable children of Lesotho living with HIV/AIDS.
The $3 million center will serve as a flagship for the organization’s work in the region. The charity Sentebale, which means “forget me not” in Sesotho, the language spoken in Lesotho, was founded by Prince Harry and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho to honor both their mothers.
Harry also honored Olga Powell, the childhood nanny beloved by him and Prince William, naming the facility’s welcome area after her.
Harry also reunited with a little boy named Mutsu Potsane, who first stole his heart on a trip to Lesotho in 2004 when the orphan clung to the prince’s side. Harry gave Mutsu a pair of royal blue wellies at the time, which the toddler cherished and wore to bed. Over the last 11 years, the two have stayed in touch, periodically writing letters, and Harry taking time out to visit him on each trip to Lesotho.
This visit is no exception. The now 15-year-old wrote Harry a letter, released by Kensington Palace in advance of their reunion, saying he had been thinking about "his loving friend” and remembered the special “blue gum boots” from their last time together.
"I think of the time were (sic) together, it was the good and nice day. Every day when I am sleeping I always dream about you and the thing we have made such as planting of the trees which is the peach trees," the letter reads.